History of Saint Scholastica Convent
Care of the sick must rank above and before all else, so that they may truly be served as Christ. (RB 36.1)
The rule of St. Benedict, written more than 1500 years ago, takes special note of the sick and elderly members of the community. They are to be cared for as Christ and shown compassion.
Nowhere is this directive from the Rule more apparent than at Saint Scholastica Convent, a thriving community, where 90-95 Sisters live at any particular time.
Sisters go there for limited stays after surgery, illness, or injury. Others choose to live at Saint Scholastica Convent because they prefer the slower pace. They like the quality of life, and they are able to serve other sisters while living out their own retirement. Saint Scholastica Convent is a licensed assisted living facility for the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict, but it is probably unlike any assisted living facility you have ever seen.
photo: Saint Scholastica Convent
St. Raphael's Hospital
The Sisters' first building on this plot of land on St. Cloud's east side was St. Raphael's Hospital, their second hospital venture in St. Cloud, built in 1890. However, it quickly became apparent that the location was too difficult to reach-- it was on the wrong side of the Mississippi River! A promised bridge and connecting road were never built.
photo: St. Raphael's Hospital 1890
St. Joseph's Rest Home
As a result of the poor location of the hospital, the Sisters voted to move the hospital back to its original location on 9th Avenue in St. Cloud and run this site as a home for the elderly.
Eight patients stayed behind in 1899, forming St. Joseph's Rest Home for the Aged. Even then, the life of the residents focused on the lovely, expansive grounds. An early version of "house rules" includes: "Everyone is at liberty to take walks around the premises and if the weather is favorable, to be outdoors as much as possible" (With Lamps Burning 262). The home was also fairly self-sufficient, as seen by the farming done there: "Sixty-eight acres were used for farming, gardening, fruit growing and pasturing." Dairy cows, hogs and chickens supplied milk, butter, pork and eggs (263).
The home was under the Sisters' direction for the next 78 years, reaching a capacity of 115 in 1964. In 1978, the need for a larger Catholic facility to care for the elderly in the area, the decreasing number of Sisters available to work at the home and the need of the Sisters for their own care facilities brought about another transition.
photo: residents of St. Joseph's Rest Home for the Aged
Saint Scholastica Convent
The situation reached a crisis point when the Sisters' infirmary at Saint Benedict's Monastery was deemed a fire hazard. St. Cloud Hospital agreed to build Saint Benedict's Senior Community to provide expanded care options for the elderly of St. Cloud, and the Sisters' two homes for the aged, St. Raphael's Rest Home (operating as such after the current St. Cloud Hospital was built in 1928) and St. Joseph's Home transitioned to the care of Sisters. The Sisters in need of skilled care transferred to St. Joseph's Home, which was renamed Saint Scholastica Convent. This location underwent a major expansion after St. Raphael's Rest Home closed in 1999. Three "Angel Wings" that more closely resemble living groups at Saint Benedict's Monastery were added.
Until recently, Sisters still lived on the lower floors of the original 1890 building. It now has been removed to make way for a new addition.
Saint Scholastica Convent's original original bell tower was removed during the 1999 renovation. A new bell tower was installed on the property of Saint Scholastica Convent in 2011.
photo: original bell tower
Click here for directions to Saint Scholastica Convent.
St. Raphael's Hospital and Rest Home
St. Raphael's Hospital, the Sisters' first hospital in St. Cloud, was located on 9th Avenue North. The site was also the location of St. Raphael's School of Nursing from 1908-1928. However, when the new St. Cloud Hospital opened in 1928, it took in the majority of St. Raphael's patients and staff. The nursing school also moved and changed its name to the St. Cloud Hospital School of Nursing.
photo: St. Raphael's Hospital in 1906
St. Raphael's Hospital then became St. Raphael's Rest Home. Sisters owned and managed the 9th Avenue home for 47 years, but had to close the home to lay persons in October 1975. St. Raphael's then became a home for retired Sisters until January 1999, when residents moved to the newly expanded Saint Scholastica Convent.
The former St. Raphael's Home for the Aged is now Place of Hope Ministries, which provides outreach services to those in need in the St. Cloud Area.
photo: St. Raphael's Hospital School of Nursing promoted exercise for nursing students, who are pictured here playing tennis.