Spiritual Places #13 “Ferdinand Indiana” http://www.dennymeyer.me
Along the journey to places like Jasper, Indiana and Santa Claus, Indiana you’ll come upon the small town of Ferdinand where the story of some Benedictine sisters can be found among the rolling landscape southern Indiana. High atop a hill you’ll find this magnificent domed church. Of course all Benedictines begins in sixth-century Italy. St. Benedict wrote his Rule for monks living in community and dedicated to prayer and work. Monasteries for men (and then women) were established, and monasticism spread throughout Europe. In 1852, the first Benedictine women arrived in the United States. They settled in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, and established multiple foundations, including one at Erie, Pennsylvania. From Erie, sisters went to Covington, Kentucky, where they founded St. Walburg Monastery.
By 1867, the young Catholic settlement of Ferdinand, Indiana, needed teachers who could speak German. In 1867, four sisters arrived from St. Walburg. They began teaching at the Ferdinand school, and in 1870, they opened Academy Immaculate Conception (later renamed Marian Heights Academy), a boarding school for girls.
In 1871, our community became independent. The growing community soon needed a larger monastery. In 1886, 72 sisters moved into the quadrangle, a traditional monastic structure. Eventually the catholic sisters taught in more than 75 schools in 12 states and five countries. The 20th century was a time of great expansion, yet by the end of the century, the Ferdinand Benedictines, like all religious communities, experienced declining numbers. Religious communities from around the world have come to Ferdinand for annual workshops.
Today, Monastery Immaculate Conception stands as a tangible sign of spirituality and enduring faith, a presence of peace, and a beacon of hope for all God’s people. It is a beautiful place and close to St. Meinrad. No matter what faith background you may have you will truly experience hospitality and spirituality as you visit this place. We left prayers for a friend who is suffering and the sisters said they would pray four times a day for this person. What a gracious and kind thing to do. We are grateful and thankful to have been there.Visit www.thedome.org for more information.