A Note from the Poor Clares about celebrating their centennial

Poor Clare Mother Mary Matthew Tomsyck, Abbess

As will soon become evident through our Christmas mailing, 2024 will be a very special year for the Poor Clares. Eleven of our founding sisters arrived here on the hill in Sauk Rapids in May 1923 and in July 1924, they were officially enclosed as a contemplative community of nuns.

Our history is a long and winding one. Back in 1875, Pope Pius IX commissioned two blood sisters, Mother Mary Maddalena and Mother Mary Constanza Bentivoglio to go to the United States to establish the first cloistered community of Poor Clares in America. At that time, our nation was hesitant to open its arms to a contemplative group of religious, and it would take many years before fully established monasteries would spring up from their labor and patience. Our history wends its way from the East Coast to Cleveland, Ohio, to Omaha, Nebraska, to New Orleans, Louisiana, to British Columbia, Canada, and finally to Holy Cross, Wisconsin. Our own monastery came about when Bishop Joseph Busch welcomed our founding sisters into the Diocese of St. Cloud in 1923.

The sisters lived temporarily in Holy Cross,
Wisconsin, before coming to Sauk Rapids. They
planned to build a monastery there, but were not given the necessary permissions by the bishop. They were welcomed into the Diocese of
St. Cloud by Bishop Joseph Busch in 1923.

We are grateful to mark this important milestone in our history. We hope that you will join us in celebrating God’s goodness to us. Many of you may recall the event advertised as our “open house” in 1999, when we commemorated our 75th anniversary. We plan to repeat the event this July for our centennial jubilee but need to clarify what our version of an “open house” entails. For those who would expect it, this does not mean that we can open our enclosure doors for a tour of the monastery. (By our vow of enclosure, we are not free to offer that opportunity.) However, as we did in 1999, we invite everyone to come and view our historical display, photos explaining some of our history and the changes which have taken place over the years and the opportunity to meet with the sisters at the parlor grate. Refreshments will be served.

The other event to which we would like to invite our relatives, friends and benefactors in our jubilee year, is to one of 12 Masses of Thanksgiving that will be offered. The Masses will be offered in thanksgiving for all the spiritual and material gifts we have received and continue to receive from our good God through the hands of our gracious and generous benefactors.

Please consider yourself invited if your last name begins with:

An early view of the St. Clare’s Monastery
in Sauk Rapids. Construction began in 1923 and
the sisters moved in in July 1924.

A-B: Thursday, Jan. 18

C-D: Tuesday, Feb. 13

E-G: Saturday, March 16

H-J: Tuesday, April 16

K-L: Tuesday, May 14

M: Saturday, June 15

N-P: Tuesday, July 16

Q-R: Tuesday, Aug. 13 S: Friday, Sept. 6

T-U: Saturday, Oct. 12

V-W: Saturday, Nov. 16

X-Z: Monday, Dec. 16

These Masses will all be celebrated at 7 a.m. Due to repair work being done, our handicap access will not be available until late spring. Please RSVP if you will be coming or if you need to select one of the other dates listed above.

TO RESPOND Call 320-251-3556 or write to: St. Clare’s Monastery 421 S. 4th St. Sauk Rapids, MN 56379-1898


Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

The Central Minnesota Catholic is the magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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