We Sisters of Saint Benedict trace our history back to the beginning of Benedictine monasticism in sixth-century Italy when Saint Benedict of Nursia founded the Abbey of Monte Cassino. About two hundred years later, Benedictine sisters established the Abbey of Nonnberg in Salzburg, Austria (the abbey in The Sound of Music). About three hundred years after that, sisters from Salzberg traveled to Eichstätt, Bavaria.
Approximately eight hundred years later, Mother Benedicta Riepp and two others came to the United States where they established monasteries in Saint Mary’s and Erie, PA, Newark, NY, Covington, KY, and Saint Cloud, MN. Sisters from Saint Cloud started Villa Saint Scholastica Monastery, from which Mother Eustacia Beyenka and forty-two sisters established Mount Saint Benedict Monastery.
In 1923, they started Mount Saint Benedict Academy in their newly constructed motherhouse. Since the founding of Mount Saint Benedict, sisters have been involved primarily in healing and teaching ministries.
Sisters served in schools in Bemidji, Mahnomen, Moorhead, Thief River Falls, Crookston, Barnesville, Park Rapids, Detroit Lakes, East Grand Forks, Red Lake Falls, Benson, Mahtomedi and Osseo in Minnesota, in Lefor, ND, in Asherton and Carrizo Springs, TX, and Bogota, Colombia. They staffed health care institutions in Crookston, Red Lake Falls, Mahnomen, Bemidji, and Detroit Lakes.
Photos: Monte Cassino Abbey; Saint Walburga’s Abbey, Eichstätt, Bavaria; Mother Benedicta Riepp; Mother Eustacia Beyenka.