This letter from the sisters of Mount Benedict Monastery in South Ogden was scheduled to be mailed out to the community this week:
Dear Friends of the St. Benedict's Foundation and Monastery:
When the first Benedictine Sisters arrived in Ogden in 1944 to build St. Benedict's Hospital, neither they, nor the many sisters who followed them, would have guessed how much they would love, and be loved, by the people of Utah, especially those in Ogden. Because of their deep faith in God, and commitment to the Rule of St. Benedict which states, "Above all things, care must be taken of the sick as if they were Christ in person," the Sisters responded to the needs of the local people. Not only did they build one hospital, but when it became inadequate to accommodate modern technology, they built another.
In 1994, we, the sisters currently in Utah, became actively involved with the development of St. Benedict's Foundation and participated in many community projects. Because of our involvement, we learned to call Ogden our "home."
However, after much prayerful thought, we have determined that the time has come for us to move back to our original home in Minnesota. With declining membership and an aging community, we considered it prudent for us to provide for our future by looking for the support of our monastic community in Minnesota. We are making plans for our transition and want to give you this update with regard to the future of St. Benedict's Foundation and Monastery.
St. Benedict's Foundation funds will continue to be distributed as they have been in the past.
We will continue to oversee the overall use and intent from our new home in Minnesota. The Foundation executive director, Yvonne Coiner, will continue through 2013 to oversee the transition and to ensure that our ministry of helping women and children in need continues through the next ten years when the principal and interest will be used solely to benefit the people of Northern Utah.
The Board of Trustees of St. Benedict's Foundation wants to assure you that the Foundation will continue as a valuable resource to non-profit organizations in Northern Utah. We sisters and Board would also like to provide you with the facts of how this will be accomplished:
- The corpus and all interest of St. Benedict's Foundation will be managed by the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, an organization with similar mission and history.
- We sisters have selected 18 nonprofit organizations in Northern Utah that will be the recipients of funds from the St. Benedict's Foundation.
- We have selected two local organizations, the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and the United Way of Northern Utah, to be responsible for the annual distribution of Foundation funds to the 18 identified nonprofit recipient organizations in Northern Utah. This service will be provided at no administrative cost.
- The total amount of the corpus and interest will be distributed within a maximum period of 10 years.
- The 18 recipient organizations will provide annual reports of their activities and be given assistance in planning to assure stability when the money has been fully distributed.
- We sisters will continue to be involved in reviewing the annual reports from the agencies and be involved in any needed decision-making concerning the programs.
We are comfortable with the plan as outlined above for the future of St. Benedict's Foundation. We have prayed about it, and know that the Lord has been with us throughout our deliberations. Above all, we want to thank you sincerely for your most generous support in so many ways over these years. It is because of the help of you, the civic community, and through your generous donations that the Foundation has been able to do so much good for the women and children of Northern Utah.
When will we be leaving? Of this we are not sure. But we will write you again when the time comes for us to leave Ogden. We will be moving to St. Joseph, Minnesota, and rejoin all our other sisters in the Benedictine monastic community there.
The Monastery building and grounds are an architectural expression of the joy we sisters found in serving Ogden. Nevertheless, after much prayer and deliberation, we have decided to put it on the market. We have contracted with CBRE Richard Ellis in Salt Lake to list the property, with the hope that they will help us find a new owner who will love it as we have and maintain it as a community asset.
Sister Michaela Hedican, our prioress in Minnesota, thanks everyone for their care and concern for the sisters over the years. She acknowledges that this is a tender and grief-filled time for all concerned; even though we believe it is the best decision for all of us. May you know of our continued prayers for your generosity, love, and support, and may God bless you abundantly.
The Sisters of St. Benedict