|The monastery in Ogden, Utah|
Sixty-seven years ago during WWII, a group of Sisters left Minnesota for Ogden, Utah. They established a hospital to serve the huge influxes of workers that flooded into the area to help with the war effort. Their philosophy, "Caring for the sick as if they were Christ in person."
When local leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nicknamed Mormons, learned of this great service to many of their faith, they decided to give a little back. This Saturday about 230 volunteers from the Saint Cloud Stake came to Saint Benedict’s to serve the Sisters.
Local congregations in a geographical area are known as a Stake in the Mormon Church. The Saint Cloud Stake asked these congregations to send volunteers to help in what is called a “Day of Service.” People came as far away as Alexandria and Elk River to serve the Sisters.
Cheri Moore, a Stake leader led the volunteer’s efforts. She worked with Sister Jean Schwartz, the Volunteer Coordinator for the Sisters at Saint Benedict’s. Old and young came together to clean, paint, spruce up the cemetery, and helped to prepare the garden for winter.
A surplus of volunteers was sent on assignments for the City of Waite Park. City officials directed the volunteers as they cleared garbage from parks and drainage ponds and removed weeds from the ice rink and children’s baseball diamond. Some of the youth grumbled when the weeds seemed to never end, but the adults encouraged them on. Tasks that would have taken days of work were finished in a few hours.
Diana Rogers, from Elbow Lake, was asked as she pulled weeds, why she came so far. “Serving is a very important thing to do,” she said with a smile. That sentiment was seen all Saturday morning as the volunteers worked hard. At 1:00 pm, the work ended, lunch was served, children giggled, and tales of the day’s labor were shared.
The Sisters of Saint Benedict have officially come home from their mission in Ogden, Utah. They served with distinction, helping to create Ogden Regional Medical Center. They quietly served for 67 years, practicing what can only be called true religion, the unconditional love for others.
Public Affairs Media Specialist
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
St. Cloud Stake