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Elk Co. nuns closing monastery after 160 years

By: WJAC Web Staff

ST. MARYS, Pa. -- After more than 160 years of service in the area, the Benedictine Sisters of Elk County have announced they will close their monastery in St. Marys.

In a news release, the sisters said the decision was made Monday to move forward with plans to close St. Joseph Monastery, located on Church Street. The sisters said the decision came following three years of prayerful study."

The sisters said as the closing plans move forward there are still questions that will need to be answered, and that a lot of work remains.

"Each sister is presently in conversation with other Benedictine communities where she will seek to transfer her vows, the release said. Your prayers and your support, in this time of transition, are important link in the process."

According to the release, three Benedictine women from Germany settled in the St Marys area in 1852 and began offering opportunities for faith development and education in the then-newly settled community.

Following a fire in November 1934 that destroyed the towns hospital, the sisters allowed their academy to be used as a temporary hospital, the release said. The sisters were played a lead role in helping to raise funds to rebuild the hospital.

The release said the sisters feel blessed by the generous support, appreciation and friendship of people in the Elk County area where they have shared their lives.

"The town and especially the people of St. Marys and surrounding areas are and will remain a vital part of the sisters prayers and blessings, the release said.

There was no date set for when the monastery would be officially closed.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times