ST. JOSEPH -- The Saint Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph has been a very quiet place for the past several months.

Sub-Prioress Sister Mary Weidner says since the COVID-19 pandemic began last March they have been very cautious and have taken many precautions.

We've closed our doors basically to outside guests, volunteers, students, and nonessential employees.  Many of our employees worked from home in the first months.

Weidner says the sisters had to start making the meals and do all the housekeeping themselves for the 90 women that live at the monastery. Many of the employees are starting to come back now on a part-time basis. They have their temperature checked every day when they arrive.

Meanwhile, their gift shop is only offering online sales or curbside pickup, and the museum is eagerly ready to open its new exhibit.

They have a new exhibit featuring our sister scientists, and they've had that ready since March, but haven't been able to open it because of COVID.  So, they are still waiting for the day that can happen.

The 90 sisters who live at Saint Benedict's Monastery have all remained coronavirus-free so far. Weidner says none of the sisters at the St. Joseph convent have been able to get the vaccine yet.

Our sisters who live at the Saint Scholastica convent in St. Cloud, which are older or need more care, have received the vaccine but we have not yet received it here.  We're still waiting for it, but hoping soon it will be available to us.

Weidner says the Saint Benedict's Monastery probably won't be opening anytime soon until the COVID-19 case numbers go down and all of the sisters have gotten both doses of the vaccine.  Meanwhile, they've been continuing to do their work offering things like spiritual direction either online via Zoom or over the telephone.

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