Benedictine sisters give last of assets to Northern Utah nonprofits

Wednesday , February 15, 2017 - 5:00 AM

JANAE FRANCIS, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — They’ve given all their funds. Now, they give their faith.

The former sisters of St. Benedict Monastery in South Ogden traveled to Ogden Monday, Feb. 13, to distribute the last of the about $5 million of their foundation’s net worth. The monastery left the area nearly five years ago.

Their message was of faith in the organizations they would no longer fund as they distributed the last portion of their assets, $1.353 million, to 16 nonprofit agencies in the area.

“Spirit of Light, continue to empower these dedicated people to be channels of hope,” said Sister Stephanie Mongeon in her benediction at the event held at the Timbermine Steakhouse. “May we all be peacemakers and leaders with love to surpass all understanding.”

RELATED: Sister Stephanie highlights Catholic Community Services breakfast in Ogden

Groups of Benedictine sisters lived in the area for nearly 70 years.

Chris Dallin, president of the United Way of Northern Utah board of directors, said they became a beacon of light in that time.

“We have been able to do so much that we would not have been able to do otherwise,” Dallin said.

In an interview, leaders of Your Community Connection family crisis center said the sisters made monumental differences there — the YCC’s portion of the money will fund a children’s education center.

“It’s a light in the shelter for kids to go to,” said Julee Smith, executive director at YCC. “They can forget that they are in crisis for the time being.”’

As a guest speaker at the event, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said the sisters had offered Northern Utah the most important gifts.

“The only true gift is a portion of one’s self,” he said, quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Sister Mary Zenzen read a letter from the sisters’ prioress at their home now at the Order of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. 

“We will continue to keep you in prayer, that the good work will continue,” she read from Sister Michaela Hedican. “May every blessing be yours and you serve the people of Northern Utah.”

Zenzen said she believed and trusted in area nonprofit agencies to continue to serve with the same mission the sisters brought.

“You know it well,” she said. “You’ve learned it through the years.”

Those agencies receiving funding were: 

A Center for Grieving ChildrenBoys and Girls Club of Weber-Davis, Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah received funds for both the Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank and the St. Martha’s Baby ProjectFamily Counseling Service of Northern UtahFriends of Weber-Morgan Children’s Justice Center, Lantern HouseMidtown Clinic Health Center, Ogden School FoundationOgden-Weber Applied Technology CollegePrevent Child Abuse UtahSt. Joseph High SchoolSt. Joseph’s Elementary SchoolSeager Memorial ClinicThe Road HomeWeber State University Upward Bound and Your Community Connection.

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at jfrancis@standard.net or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis. 

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