Religious Orders

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Winning Nomination

Congregations of Catholic sisters have provided crucial community services in education, health care, spirituality, and social justice. For example, the College of St. Catherine and the College of St. Benedict, St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, the Catholic Hospital Association founding, many small rural hospitals, and primary/secondary school services, to name but a few.
~Mary Hroscikoski, Little Falls, MN

Runner-up Nominations

Sisters of St Jospeh of Carondelet The sisters have been in Minnesota since before Minnesota was even a state, they founded the College of St Catherine, St Joseph's Hospital, as well as many area Catholic schools. The sisters are currently invovled in ministries which serve the underserved in Minnesota, such as the St Mary's Health Clinics, for uninsured people.
~Johanna Hatch, Minneapolis, MN

Benedictine Education in Central Minnesota For 150 years, the sisters of Saint Benedict's Monastery in Saint Joseph and the monks of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, just five miles apart, have offered this vision and practice of a many-splendored world to the people of Central Minnesota and, through a wide range of ministries, to the nation and beyond.
~Michael Hemmesch, Collegeville, MN

Benedictine Monasteries of St. Benedict and St. John's at St. Josph and Collegeville These two communities have inspired and educated countless artists, writers, teachers, social workers, medical personnel, public policy makers, and spiritual leaders. Theyve led the ecumenical movement through their center and the Episcopal retreat house. The Benedicta Arts Center is a major culutral center. Let's not forget the fine athletes, too.
~Bridget Ryan, Minneapolis, MN

Sisters of St. Benedict The sisters have educated many people from elementary school through college. They founded and staffed St. Cloud Hospital, which has grown into the Centra Care system, a health system that includes hospitals and clinics throughout Central Minnesota. Various sisters served American Indians; they still have missions on the White Earth and Red Lake reservations, in the Bahamas, and in Japan. The Benedicta Arts Center, which has been recently remodeled, is a wonderful center of arts for those who live in Central Minnesota. The Minnesota Orchestra has a regular series of concerts in the BAC. Various sisters have distinguished themselves in special areas such as Inez Hilger in Anthropology. Sister Inez worked with the Nathional Geographic Society in studying the Ainu people in Japan. Many sisters have been and continue to serve the community through involvement in areas such as social justice, music, liturgy, and spirituality.
~Marilyn Berg, St. Cloud, MN

The arrival of the Benedictines in the mid-1850s Benedictine priests and nuns were responsible for the establishment of St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict in central Minnesota. St. Scholastica's in Duluth is an offshoot of those colleges.

MPR started at St. John's, the whole liturgical reform movement in the Catholic church began there, and two of our most respected senators graduated from St. John's: Gene McCarthy and Dave Durenberger. Mark Kennedy is also a grad of SJU. The country's most successful football coach, John Gagliardi, is still coaching there after 49 years in that position.
~William B. Sullivan, Bloomington, MN

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet These women came to Minnesota about 125-150 years ago. Because the St. Paul area needed nursing due to an outbreak of illness they became nurses to meet that need...For all the years since they have served Minnesota in both teaching and all kinds of health care areas. They work with the very poor and in all other areas where need arises. The Sisters from this area have served not only here but all over the world
~June Sinnett, White Bear Lake, MN

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet One of, if not the most, influential groups in the state is the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet. No history of our state can leave out what they have done and continue to do.
~David Keenan, St. Paul, MN



Called to serve

Born in St. Paul in 1875, Caroline Hanggi grew up to be Sister Carmela Hanggi, a member of the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In 1921, as principal of the city's Cathedral School, Sister Carmela became increasingly concerned about the safety of her students as they crossed the busy streets near her school. After returning from a trip to New Jersey, where she saw a particularly effective school-crossing program, Sister Carmela asked the St. Paul Police Department to authorize "police boys," who would monitor the crossings near the Cathedral. Soon her School Safety Patrol program was a model for other schools across the Midwest.

Sister Carmela's story is one of hundreds that demonstrate the influence members of religious orders have had on Minnesota. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet arrived in Minnesota in 1851 to open a school. Other members of religious orders came in the second half of the nineteenth century as teachers, and, once they had established communities, their members branched out into nursing and social work and wherever else their ministries were welcomed and needed. Over the years, students at the colleges of St. Catherine in St. Paul, St. Benedict in St. Joseph, St. Teresa in Winona, and St. Scholastica in Duluth have flourished under the leadership of Minnesota's religious orders. St. Mary's Hospital, in Rochester, founded in 1889 by the Sisters of St. Francis in conjunction with Dr. William Mayo, still operates today as part of the Mayo system.

Today, there are about 1,000 female religious working in Minnesota. As an example of their many contributions to Minnesota's quality of life, members of the Sisters of St. Benedict have served on the Red Lake and White Earth Indian Reservations since the 1880s. Members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet operate Peace House, a haven for the homeless. Nuns are in addiction and recovery programs, on community farms, and in battered women's shelters. They are part of the fabric of our state.

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