Sisters’ Annual Home Appeal

Each year, our Sisters’ Home Appeal raises funds to maintain and repair the Sisters of St. Benedict’s older buildings. Last year, we needed to waterproof the monastery foundation and make masonry repairs to our buildings and church. This year, our historic bells need restoration.

For centuries, Christian churches have used bells to call the community to prayer. For 130 years, the bells at Monastery Immaculate Conception have served this worthy purpose for the Sisters of St. Benedict and the town of Ferdinand. Three times a day, they align our sisters with hundreds of years of Benedictine tradition that have influenced our faith and ministries.

Monastery Immaculate Conception has three bells. Purchased in 1890, the largest bell was named Benedict; the medium bell, Mary; and the smallest, Joseph. All three bells were refurbished in 1907, and Benedict II – a historic bell of the same era cast at the same foundry as the originals – replaced Benedict I in 2002 after it became cracked. You can read more about our bells in our Spring 2020 issue of Seek. Pray. Share. magazine.

In addition to calling the sisters to daily prayer and Mass, the bells are also rung before reconciliation services, other community prayers or liturgies, and before the vigil service, which occurs at the time of a sister’s death. Bells are tolled rather than rung to signify the death of a sister; the bishop of Evansville, Indiana; the archabbot of St. Meinrad Archabbey; or the pope. Most recently, the smallest bell has been rung at 3 p.m. each day as a reminder to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic and all those affected by it.

After so many years of regular use, our bells need care and attention. The stands on which they hang are 112 years old and in poor condition, and how the bells are hung needs to be reconfigured to better ensure their long-term preservation.

We have located an expert in the restoration of these delicate historic bells and obtained an evaluation of the scope of work needed. The work needed to repair, renovate, and automate our bells is estimated at $74,840.

When you make a gift to our Sisters’ Home Appeal today, your generosity will help us restore and renovate our historic bells and provide for other important needs related to our monastery’s upkeep and maintenance throughout the year.

This project will also install a system by which the bells can be operated remotely. As ringing the bells by rope requires significant physical strength, this will ensure that no matter our sisters’ abilities, they will continue to ring for the monastery and the wider community.

Our sisters’ minister to the community in more diverse ways than ever — teaching, serving in parishes, offering retreats, providing health care, counseling individuals, working with immigrants, and helping the homeless, the poor, and those recovering from addictions. Most importantly, our history lives on in these many ways our sisters serve those in need, just as we always have.

We hope that you will include your prayer intentions when you make your gift. The sisters will be honored to pray for you and your loved ones. Please also note that your gift is for the Home Appeal in the prayer request form.

May God bless you,

Sister Anita Louise Lowe, OSB

The Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana, is a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization. All or part of your gift may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution; please consult your tax advisor.