Saint Benedict’s Monastery traces its roots to Saint Walburg Abbey in Eichstätt, Bavaria, founded in 1035.
A commitment to education led the sisters to open and staff both elementary and high schools in Central Minnesota and abroad. Recognizing the need for higher education, they founded Saint Benedict’s Academy in 1878, which evolved into the College of Saint Benedict in 1913. In 1961, the sisters transferred ownership to the college, constituting it a separately-incorporated institution.
In response to the Gospel and the Rule of Benedict, the sisters’ devotion to caring for the sick and elderly began at the same time as their work in education. They established homes for the elderly and six hospitals, including the St. Cloud Hospital. In 1962, the St. Cloud Hospital was separately incorporated. In 1964, the sisters transferred all of the hospital’s assets to the new corporation.
Other Historical and Contemporary Ministries
In addition to education and health care, the sisters have engaged in a rich variety of works in their history from diversified farming to the domestic and fine arts. They have baked, cooked, cleaned, laundered, sewed, bound books, woven cloth, designed vestments and made candles. They have tended turkeys, chickens, bees, orchards, vineyards and gardens. They have created works of art and music, engaged in research, and written books. Many of these works continue to the present day, along with the service of members who are spiritual directors, administrators, organists, liturgists, pastoral ministers, archivists, librarians, poets, mentors, tutors and advocates for the poor and disenfranchised.
Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, Minn., stands on land which was the ancestral homeland of the Dakhóta and Anishinaabe peoples. The sisters acknowledge with reverence and respect the Indigenous Peoples who dwelt here.
Saint Benedict’s Monastery maintains a physical and digital archive for use by scholars, researchers and the public to learn more about the lives of Benedictine women from the 19th century to the present day.
The Archives is closed to the public from January 23 through February 4, 2024. We will reopen on Monday, February 5.
The Archives is located on the lowest level of the 1983 addition to Sacred Heart Chapel. A receptionist in the Gathering Place directs visitors to the Archives.
8:30–11 a.m., 1–3:30 p.m.
Closed on Fridays and weekends
Explore Our History
Although she was not our first prioress, Mother Benedicta Riepp is considered the foundress of our community. She was the first superior of St. Joseph Convent in St. Marys, Pa. In the spring of 1858, she relocated from Pennsylvania to St. Cloud, Minn., where she died in 1862. She is buried in our monastery cemetery.