SOUTH OGDEN -- An announcement that the sisters of Mount Benedict Monastery were giving up their independent status and becoming affiliated again with St. Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, Minn., has some people wondering if the sisters' foundation is going away.
Officials wish to clarify that their foundation will remain operational for the foreseeable future.
Yvonne Coiner, executive director of St. Benedict's Foundation, said she's received a number of questions since last month's announcement. She said foundation supporters and benefactors were worried about the future of the fund.
The remaining seven sisters of Mount Benedict Monastery officially became affiliated again Saturday with the Minnesota monastery that was their mother home when the group first arrived in Ogden in 1944.
"The foundation never was intended to go away," said Sister Danile Knight, who has served as prioress of the South Ogden monastery and now serves as a contact person there. "As long as we're here, the foundation is going to be here."
Knight said the group's renewed mother house has a base of 296 nuns.
She said even after the sisters who now are in South Ogden are gone, the monastery could conceivably still support other sisters to work here, or could continue to support a foundation.
"The foundation is separately incorporated from the monastery," Knight said. "That would have nothing to do with us being dependent."
One change is that Sister Nancy Bauer, prioress at the Minnesota monastery, now is the president of the board of the foundation.
"She can come to the meetings every quarter or designate a sister here to represent her," Knight said.
While the South Ogden sisters now have the opportunity to relocate in Minnesota, none of them here have plans to leave.
"We can just trust the Lord that we are staying as long as we can," Knight said.
And once they leave, Knight said, sisters in Minnesota still could remain on the foundation board locally.
"They will be on the board as long as there are sisters in Minnesota," Knight said, assuring that there are no plans to ever send any foundation money out of the area.
"We'll be strong in reaching out to the community," said Sister Stephanie Mongeon. "Not to worry. We're here for the long haul."
The foundation annually raises more than $200,000 to help area nonprofit agencies.
The agencies that benefit this year from funds raised by the foundation include: A Center for Grieving Children, Ogden Rescue Mission Clinic, Assistance Fund for those in medical crises, Ogden Schools Colors of Success, Birthright of Ogden, Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College scholarships, Boys & Girls Clubs of Weber/Davis, Prevent Child Abuse Utah, Catholic Community Services, St. Joseph's Elementary and High School scholarships, Weber State University Upward Bound, Weber State University Teacher Assistant Path to Teaching, Family Counseling Services of Northern Utah, YMCA Weber County and Give Me A Chance.
One aspect these programs all have in common is their potential to help women and children. One fundraiser now under way to help the foundation is the 26th annual Christmas Grove.
Members of the community may honor or memorialize a person in their lives by making a donation in any amount and dedicating a light in the monastery's Christmas Grove to that person. The grove, including a large Nativity scene, will remain lit each night from the time of a lighting ceremony Dec. 6 through Christmas at the monastery, 6000 S. 1075 East.
The honored person or family members of those memorialized also receive a card in the mail telling them about the honor. For information about the foundation or the Christmas Grove fundraiser, call the foundation at 801-479-1800.