“Welcome one another, therefore, just as
Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
Nearly 40 years ago, the Sisters of St. Benedict were involved in a satellite ministry to help children with disabilities in Memphis, Tennessee. I became acquainted with these women, and in a gesture of hospitality they invited me to visit their monastery in Ferdinand, Indiana. I immediately felt the welcoming spirit of this place, and I was called to join in the sisters’ important work. In 1981, I packed my bags and joined the sisters in perpetual profession.
Fifteen centuries ago, St. Benedict set forth a mandate for us to live lives of prayer, community, hospitality, and service. Many of the ways Benedictines live these values have remained unchanged throughout the years since the Rule of St. Benedict was first written.
Hospitality, however, is a concept somewhat more prone to evolution. Imagine inviting a guest to your home on a 98-degree day, and not turning on the air conditioning. Picture friends gathered to share dinner on a rainy evening, only to find the roof leaking onto the meal. And you wouldn’t possibly tell your friend who relies on the use of a wheelchair that her birthday party is up that flight of steps, where she cannot join in the celebration.
Over the past six years, with the help of donors like you, the Sisters of St. Benedict have sought to make many improvements to see us through our next 100+ years of service. Much of this transformation involved enhancing your experience of Benedictine hospitality, finding new ways to welcome and connect with people as they live in today’s world.
We have sought to maintain the vital simplicity of our lives while implementing modern amenities to better serve our guests. We added accessibility and improved infrastructure. We modernized facilities in our Benedictine Hospitality Center, and enhanced the safety and lifespan of our historic buildings.
The sisters have also worked to attract new friends to our campus. We partnered with local brew masters who created St. Benedict’s Brew Works in our former art studio, leased land to Trilogy Health Services for their construction of a new care center, and developed fifteen two-bedroom affordable housing units for seniors in our Benet Hall.
None of our sisters joined the monastery to focus on old buildings. We devoted ourselves to what is needed by those we serve. We teach, minister to the poor and homeless, serve in parish and diocesan positions, provide healthcare, help single-parent families and their children through Benedictine Scholar House, offer counseling for immigrants who need assistance, and so much more.
Like you, those we serve are looking to deepen their spiritual life. They are seeking time away, spiritual direction, a chance to be in nature, and a place of peace. Now, thanks to you, we have a place where we are able to truly welcome all.
No matter where you are located, I am pleased to be able to host you at our monastery so you may see what we have accomplished together over the past six years. We have created a short, informal video tour and update, and invite you to view all that you have helped us create. To watch the video click the button below. If you’d like to visit us in person, we would love to host you! Please contact Sister Jane Ann Breen at 812-367-1411 ext. 2657 or via email to schedule a time.
Today, Monastery Immaculate Conception is poised to truly welcome generations to come, standing vibrantly on the hill as the monastery of the future. The truly incredible generosity of people like you has made it possible to undertake this successful transformation of our campus, which will be finalized later this year around the time we welcome a new prioress to lead us in this new tomorrow.
P.S. On a personal note, it has been my honor to walk with you and your families for the past six years. Your generosity and your support have enabled us to grow in our faith and in our ability to serve. Thank you for walking with us. Together we have accomplished much for those we serve. Please pray for our discernment and election of our new Prioress in early June. I know she will depend on your prayers and support as I have. I am so grateful to each of you. God bless you and your families.