SAUK RAPIDS -- For nearly 100 years now a group of nuns have led a very quiet simple life on a hill in the middle of Sauk Rapids.

Back around 1923, the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Cloud offered land in Sauk Rapids by the original Sacred Heart Parish for the Poor Clares Monastery. The building was blessed by the Bishop in 1926.

The official cost to build it was listed at $1,000 and can hold up to 30 nuns.

They have to take four vows poverty, chastity, obedience, and enclosure which means they are limited to access to anyone or anything.

Mary Ostby is the Executive Director of the Benton County Historical Society. She says they can have visitors up to three or four times a year.

They do not leave for funerals, they do not leave for weddings. They are basically in their building.  There is a screen enclosure for visitors when they come in.

Benton County Historical Society
Benton County Historical Society
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There are three or four nuns designated as external who deal with the public. Ostby says even when the nuns died they don't leave the grounds.

One of the interesting things that a lot of people don't know is originally when the monastery was built they also put in a vault in the basement so that when the women who have lived there their whole lives die they can be buried right there on site.

There have been two additions over the years one in 1949 and another in 1956. The additions are for when the nuns become elderly and need nursing home care.

Benton County Historical Society
Benton County Historical Society
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The Poor Clares do take prayer requests by phone or mail.

Once a month Ostby is on the News @ Noon Show on WJON talking about the history of Benton County.

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