Weekly Heroes: St. Mary’s Monastery

The Catholic Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, Illinois lead beautiful, sustainable lives.

What is sustainable?

1) The monastery is built to minimize energy use.  The building’s temperature is controlled by a geothermal pond.  Large windows funnel sun onto a huge mass to enable passive solar heating.  Their facilities combine form, function, and sustainability.

2) The nuns lead lives of social sustainability.  The monastery used to run a school.  That has, sadly, closed but the nuns today go out into the community to work in education, social services, religious counselling, and other callings.

3) Community is sustainable.  We can all learn from the group reliance these women give each other.

4) They share this sustainability with others with the Benet House Retreat Center.  I have visited there twice to spend time in quiet introspection.  The visit is inexpensive and the nuns provide food and (if wanted) spiritual counselling.

5) Anti-consumerism.  The nuns examine the things they use and do not buy new items unless absolutely necessary.  This is not a privation, they have everything they need.

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