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Oldest Benedictine convent in United States to close

January 20, 2014

The members of the oldest Benedictine convent in the United States have decided to close their convent, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

St. Joseph Monastery in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, now has 17 sisters; the youngest is 58. The sisters will move to other convents.

The website of the Benedictine Sisters of Elk County notes:

The first Benedictine convent in the United States was established in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, in 1852. The founding nuns, Mother Benedicta Riepp and her two companions, originated from St. Walburga Abbey in Eichstatt, Bavaria. They came at the invitation of Father Boniface Wimmer, OSB, to bring Benedictinism for women to America and also teach the children of the German immigrants. In succeeding years their mission expanded to include hospital care and other works. The community formed more branches over the years, so that today over fifty Benedictine monasteries in America and beyond can trace their roots to St. Marys.


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