SAUK RAPIDS — Poor Clares first opened on top of a hill in Sauk Rapids in 1923. It’s a convent for nuns who live their entire lives at one monastery and rarely leave its confines.

In 1923, a group of sisters from Wisconsin were looking for a place to live in solitude. At the time their bishop in Wisconsin said the community was not ready to care for a contemplative community. They heard that Bishop Joseph F. Busch was looking to start a convent in central Minnesota.

On July 16th, 1924 ten founding sisters came to Sauk Rapids and saw St. Clares Monastery on the hill. They’ve called the nunnery home ever since.

Today, there are 18 sisters living in the Poor Clares convent. They are only allowed to leave the monastery for extreme medical purposes and it’s rare for them to allow any outsiders into their living quarters.

Each sister must go through a year of Apostolate, two years of White Veil and make two solemn professions of vows that can only be dispersed by Rome.

The nuns wear a garb that is designed in the sign of the cross. Draped on the garbs are cords with four knots that symbolize the four vows they’ve made to the church and to God. The nuns wear sandals in the winter and go barefoot in the summer.

They are allowed to have family visits four times a year for three hours at a time and don’t typically watch television and only listen to radio during severe weather.

The sisters have a full day which includes prayers, housework, recreation and mass. Their routine is the same each day except for holidays and Sundays.