We knew it was coming. Still, to have the sisters of Mount Benedict Monastery say "we're leaving," going back to Minnesota?
The sisters have been here since 1944. They're institutions, like the mountains, only more dependable.
But their order, like all orders in the Catholic Church, has trouble finding new blood. Modern Americans aren't attracted to monastic lives of solitude, prayer and service.
At Mount Benedict, five nuns remain, none young. But does society need nuns anymore?
Everyone talks about churches taking care of the poor, and they do, but how they do that is changing.
The nuns of Mount Benedict came to Ogden to start a hospital because that was what their order did. The nuns don't run Ogden Regional Medical Center anymore, nor are they able to be as active in the community as they used to be.
But, as Sister Stephanie Mongeon told me Monday, as the nuns' numbers have gone down, really good people have stepped up.
Catholic Community Services is run by lay people and doing a bang-up job. All churches pitch in to help the entire community regardless of who goes to church where.
Still, the nuns' leaving makes me sad. The sisters have all been active in the broader community. Hundreds of you have favorite stories.
My most frequent contact was with Sister Stephanie. She was the St. Benedict Hospital/Ogden Regional Medical Center public relations person for a very long time and still works there.
Saint Sister Stephanie: Patron saint of reporters.
When you called you knew, just from the tone of her voice, that you had made her day. She was thrilled to help. She joyfully found who you needed and loved getting them on the phone.
Contrast her to the typical reporter-hating PR person, like the Hill Air Force Base guy decades ago who, when asked what he was thankful for on Thanksgiving said, "I'll have to get back to you on that."
How cool was Sister Stephanie?
When I was in the hospital for gut surgery, I needed -- as part of my medical progress and healing, with my doctor's blessing -- to fart.
"Fart," said the doctor, "you get that nose tube out." Passing gas meant my sliced and diced intestines worked again.
When the magical time came, Sister Stephanie joined me in rejoicing. "The Lord loves all sounds," she said.
There was my column about the Utah Jazz and their inability, one particular year, to score more points than other teams.
"They're playing like a bunch of sick nuns," I wrote.
Sister Stephanie, on the phone, blistered my ear, although to be fair, she sounded as if she were smiling even as she ripped me a new one.
"But I've seen nuns play basketball," I wailed, and told of my grade school experience in Salt Lake City with the Daughters of Charity. They, then, wore those big "Flying Nun" gull-wing hats and flowing robes, belted prayer beads dangling.
Picture that doing a layup, your mind will crack.
Sister Stephanie was not mollified. Even today, if I were guarding the key and she were driving up the center, I bet she'd knock me on my butt.
But she'd be nice when she did it. She's just that way.
They're all nice. If anyone, anywhere, really does treat all others as if they were Christ, it is these amazing women who have given so much to this community for so long.
Now their job is done. I'm proud to be among the first to thank them. I certainly will not be the last.