HISTORY OF ST. PLACID PRIORY

1881 – Establishing a Mission in the Northwest

1881 – Establishing a Mission in the Northwest

Mother Scholastica Kerst, the newly appointed superior of St. Benedict Convent, St. Joseph, MN, and a woman of vision, wanted to establish a mission in the Willamette area of Western Oregon. She accepted an invitation to staff St….

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1892 – Holy Rosary School

1892 – Holy Rosary School

Sisters Alphonsa O’Donnell, Perpetua Pick, and Rosina Loecken arrived from Minnesota to staff the new Holy Rosary school in Tacoma, WA. Their first home was an old two-room house located nearby, but due to a leaky roof, they…

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1903 – More Sisters Arrive

1903 – More Sisters Arrive

Holy Rosary school had grown to more than 250 students. Saint Benedict Convent in Minnesota sent Sisters Armella Finske, Seraphine Koener, Theodosia Griebler, Clarissa Kurth, Augustine Terhaar, Alfreda Walz, Annetta Osendorf, Nothburga Kramer, Euphrosine Ulrich, Romana Koppi and…

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1907 – Sister Milburgis Sager

1907 – Sister Milburgis Sager

  Sister Milburgis Sager, a gifted musician, arrived at Holy Rosary school and parish. She would become one of the founding members of St. Placid Priory.

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1916 – Holy Rosary School Flourishes

1916 – Holy Rosary School Flourishes

Holy Rosary School continued to flourish. However, Bishop Busch of Saint Cloud, MN, alarmed everyone when he announced his intention to recall the Benedictine Sisters from Washington State. Bishop O’Dea of Seattle wrote to the Papal Delegate and…

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1924 – Visitation Parish, Tacoma

1924 – Visitation Parish, Tacoma

Bishop Edward O’Dea requested that Mother Louise Walz, elected prioress of St. Benedict’s in 1919, establish a new mission at Visitation parish in Tacoma, as well as missions at Assumption parish in Seattle and Queen of Angels parish…

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1925 – Visitation School in Tacoma, WA

1925 – Visitation School in Tacoma, WA

Sisters Humbeline Lauermann, Ositha Stellbrink, Elicia Koenig, Celestia Lauermann, Angeline Pelzer, and Romona Gefre arrived from St. Benedict Monastery to help establish Visitation School. When Visitation School was opened in 1925, Sister Ositha Stellbrink was a member of…

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1926 – Divine Office Restored to Benedictine Women in U.S.

1926 – Divine Office Restored to Benedictine Women in U.S.

Since shortly after their arrival to the United States, Benedictine women had been denied the right to chant the Divine Office as bishops and abbots felt this took time away from teaching. Finally, the right of the Sisters…

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1930 – Catholic Teachers Begin Earning Degrees

1930 – Catholic Teachers Begin Earning Degrees

One result of anti-Catholic legislation was a series of laws passed that required all private school teachers to earn their Bachelor degrees from accredited colleges in Washington State. Determined to build a presence in the Pacific Northwest, St….

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1947 – A Benedictine Monastery in Washington

1947 – A Benedictine Monastery in Washington

In May, Mother Rosamond Pratschner of St. Benedict Convent, who had taught at Holy Rosary in its early years, informed Bishop Gerald Shaughnessy that they were forming a Pontifical Congregation at the behest of Rome. She wanted the…

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1948 – The Monastic Diurnal

1948 – The Monastic Diurnal

Sisters receive The Monastic Diurnal to chant the Divine Office – which have parallel columns in English and Latin.  

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1951 – Finding a Location for New Monastery

1951 – Finding a Location for New Monastery

The mission sisters begin a search for appropriate property outside of Seattle and Tacoma, a stipulation of Archbishop Connolly – sites from Olympia down to Longview were considered. Friends of the sisters drove them around to look at…

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1952 – The First Priory

1952 – The First Priory

After more than a year of searching, the sisters decided upon a home sitting on five acres in a west Olympia area called Mud Bay. The sisters did not consider this a permanent option but one that served…

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1954 – All Saint’s School, and a First Initial Profession

1954 – All Saint’s School, and a First Initial Profession

Mother Placidia and Abbot Raphael had been discussing possible locations for a girls high school (the monks ran a boys high school) as the current location of our priory in West Olympia was not feasible for a girl’s…

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1955 – New Growth

1955 – New Growth

  June – The first issue of The Placidian was printed and distributed, a newsletter to inform the public about community life and to keep our friends informed on fundraising and building of a new Motherhouse and High…

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1957 – Artist Sister Nathalie Karels

1957 – Artist Sister Nathalie Karels

Sister Nathalie Karels, a gifted artist, designed and silk-screened thousands of Christmas cards for the Monks at Saint Martin’s Abbey and some were sold at bazaars to raise funds for our community. She would continue this tradition.

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1960 – Frolicking in the Pacific Ocean

1960 – Frolicking in the Pacific Ocean

A photographer took a photograph of Sisters Ruth, Rita, and Agnes frolicking in the waves, wearing their full habits, at the Pacific Ocean. While he was ordered not to make the photograph public, it has gone viral over…

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1961 – New Life!

1961 – New Life!

January 1 – The year opens with a ground-breaking ceremony and the beginning of the construction of the new Saint Placid Priory and High School.   July 11 – Sister Catherine Bannon made her monastic profession, the first…

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1962 – Dedication of the Second Priory and High School

1962 – Dedication of the Second Priory and High School

April – Formal dedication of the second Saint Placid Priory and Saint Placid High School. Archbishop Thomas Connolly officiated at the dedication ceremonies.  Guests included Abbot Raphael Heider; Mother Richarda, Congregational President; Mother Loraine from St. Paul’s Priory…

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1965 – Changes Begin

1965 – Changes Begin

July 27 – A statue of Saint Placid, commissioned by the St. Placid High School graduating class of 1965 and sculpted by Brother Bruno of Saint Martin’s Abbey, was installed in the “Gregory Park.” This park was located…

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1966 – Death and New Life

1966 – Death and New Life

July 2 – Our community experienced its first death. Sister Mary Elizabeth Weber, who taught at Visitation School in Tacoma and directed the boys’ choir there, died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. The community had to…

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1971 – New Tabernacle & Newly Ordained Future Chaplain

1971 – New Tabernacle & Newly Ordained Future Chaplain

  February 25 – The newly ordained Father Gerard Kirsch celebrated Mass at the Priory. He would eventually become our chaplain for 40 years. April 16 – Our new tabernacle, made in Bremen, Germany, arrived and was installed in…

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1980 – Old Bell, New Breviaries

1980 – Old Bell, New Breviaries

In honor of the Sesquicentennial of the birth of Benedict and Scholastica, the monks of Saint Martin’s Abbey gave us an old bell from Sacred Heart mission church in Vader, WA, that had been stored in their barn….

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1986 – New Engagements

1986 – New Engagements

January through March – Sister Lucy Wynkoop served as Interim Parish Administrator of Sacred Heart Parish, Lacey, the first time one of our sisters led a parish.                      …

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1989 – Our First Doctorate

1989 – Our First Doctorate

Sister Angela Hoffman received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, our first Doctorate in the community. She teaches at the University of Portland, and holds several patents for her research on Taxol.

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1990 – Planning the Third Monastery

1990 – Planning the Third Monastery

Sister Sharon (Marie) McDonald was elected our fifth prioress. Plans for the construction of a new monastery continued. Priorywood Daycare closed. We sold our priory/high school complex to a Japanese university that took the name Lacey Pacific College…

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1991 – Government Employments

1991 – Government Employments

Fall – Sister Monika Ellis went to work in the Office of Child Care Policy at the Department of Social and Health Services, the first in our community to work for the government. Sister Maureen O’Larey would follow…

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1992 – The Future Is Unfolding

1992 – The Future Is Unfolding

March 17 – Sisters began moving into the new Priory.                                                        …

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1997 – New Priory Store & Newsletter

1997 – New Priory Store & Newsletter

January 18 – The Priory Store opened. We had inherited the contents of Aleda Hoffman’s store (mother of Sister Angela), and Sister Monika’s father, Leonard Ellis (pictured in the photo), remodeled one of our parlors off the lobby…

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1998 – Priory Knitters and Spinners & A Medieval Celebration

1998 – Priory Knitters and Spinners & A Medieval Celebration

With the gift of an abundance of sheep’s fleece, Sister Monika Ellis established the Priory Knitters and Spinners. Women gathered for conversation while spinning wool, and knitting and crocheting beautiful things. Soon members branched into needle felting, creating…

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1999 – Sharing Our Blessings

1999 – Sharing Our Blessings

Benedictine Sisters Beatrice Kapinga and Redemista Ngonyani arrived from St. Agnes, Chipole, Tanzania to live with us and begin their studies at Saint Martin’s University.

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2000 – Our First Oblates

2000 – Our First Oblates

May – Virginia Marie Tennyson and Louise Honings made their oblations as our first Oblates.       In Fall – Our newsletter transitions into one that reflects the full monastic community and ministries, simply titled St. Placid…

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2001 – One Book and Fourteen Oblations

2001 – One Book and Fourteen Oblations

Sister Laura Swan’s first book, The Forgotten Desert Mothers, was released by Paulist Press. Fourteen lay women made their Oblations, the movement is growing!

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2002 – Remembering and Sharing

2002 – Remembering and Sharing

May 30 – Sister Placidia Haehn, our first prioress, left our earthly life. June 28 – We began celebrations honoring our 50 years of independence and 110 years of presence in the Pacific Northwest.   September – Sister…

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2011 – We Congratulate Sister Redemista Ngonyani!

2011 – We Congratulate Sister Redemista Ngonyani!

August – Sister Redemista Ngonyani was awarded her Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Nairobi in Canon Law. She is only the 3rd woman canon lawyer in east Africa. We are proud of her accomplishments!

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2017 – Images of Peace —

2017 – Images of Peace —

May – We held our first annual Images of Peace art show with an opening night gala. Artists displayed their creations and Oblates assisted.   Sister Donatha Gunda, OSB, of Tanzania arrived and will begin studies toward a…

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2019 – Guest Sisters

2019 – Guest Sisters

May – Sister Donatha Gunda graduated from Saint Martin’s University. She departed for southern Oregon, where she began an internship.   August – Sister Deotila Takulyambwani, a Franciscan sister and medical doctor from Tanzania, arrived. She studied English…

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2020 – Our Chaplain of 40 Years…

2020 – Our Chaplain of 40 Years…

March 22 – Father Gerard Kirsch, our chaplain for 40 years died in his sleep.

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