Views from late March & early April

The steel framers and the drywallers continue their satisfying and successful collaboration on shaping the Chapel’s complex groin vaults

View of the Monastery from above St. Peter’s Rock looking west, before the trees soon begin to leaf out

Newly arrived bells! A bell from the old St. Raphael’s cathedral plus two newly cast bells to accompany it, plus our existing Ave Maria bell arrive at their new home

The cloister paving, modeled on the St. Benedict medal, was barely completed before being covered by an early-April snowfall

The work to finish up the Guest Wing is all interior now; landscaping and plantings are awaiting favorable weather

March 8: Community Relocation

No dry eyes as we bid farewell to our community’s home for nearly 70 years

After an early celebration of Holy Mass the oratory was dissembled; the empty wall where the crucifix hung is a fitting reminder of the imprint the nun’s prayers leave behind on these old buildings

Nuns and volunteers scramble through the hallways doing the final packing

Capital City Transfer removes the last of the chapel furniture

The rooms are bare and empty as the community departs

A procession of cars proceeds down the driveway bringing the community to their new home!

Meanwhile, volunteers help unload the moving trucks while the community is en route

Saint Ambrose students help assemble furniture

Bachmann Construction delivers and installs pews to the Chapter Room

The community is welcomed home!

The nuns are thrilled to see the New Monastery

Finally the nuns take up residence and are seen walking the corridors

Lots of new sights; here Sister Roberta points out the Church (still under construction) to Sister Stephanie

Signs help the community find their way until they become familiar with the new setting

The unpacking begins…

Monsignor Bartylla, Vicar General, arrives to inspect the temporary oratory; He reverently transports the Blessed Sacrament into the oratory

After a prayer service, Monsignor Bartylla blesses every room in the New Monastery

We’re Moving!

Beginning March 4th the community items were transported to the new location. Sisters fill the now empty bakery with boxes and furniture for the movers to pick up. Volunteers assist at the New Monastery, delivering items to the correct room. The monastery is abuzz with workers preparing for the community’s arrival.

Views from February 29:

Bird’s-eye view of the New Monastery looking south-west; the monastery is abuzz with preparations for the community’s relocation next week!

The light-steel groin vault framing in the Guest Nave awaits drywall

Electricians and plumbers assist with the CWW equipment installations; if all goes smoothly, the nuns will be back to altar bread production the week of March 11

All of the light-steel ceiling vault action in the main Chapel is happening above scaffolding that fills the nave

Drywallers, on stilts and on foot, are crafting the arches in the second floor Chapel gallery

Preparations for the Move!

The sisters are becoming experts in stretch film application! The remainder of the bakery will relocate on Monday (Feb 26); the community move will commence the week of March 4th

Volunteers Paul & Karen help with the choir furniture modification in order to fit them into the New Monastery temporary oratory; God willing, the community will be fully moved in on March 8th

February 23: Phase Three Bakery Relocation

The baking aspects of the bakery were relocated last month; now we begin moving the atomizing, cutting, packaging, shipping areas in anticipation of the community move

Accompanied by many prayers, four large machines were loaded up – three cutting machines and (shown above) a packaging machine

Safe delivery to the CWW

Through the intercession of Saint Joseph, the last minute installation of the dock lift made this delivery possible

Views from February 19:

Stonework on the guest entrance to the Chapel just completed

The cornerstone was blessed by Bishop Hying at the site blessing in October 2021

Chapel façade shines in the winter sun

Views from February 10:

The mild winter has allowed the stonework for the north side of the Chapel to be completed quickly

Stonework for the Guest entrance to the Chapel is nearly complete

The Chapel is filled with scaffolding as the light-steel framers shape the vaulted ceiling

Painting of the Refectory is finished; now, all that remains is final cleaning

Views from February 3:

The Eastern façade cladding is complete!

New Monastery exterior nearing the finish line

The Guest entrance to the Chapel narthex is framed and almost ready for the stonemasons

The bookshelves are installed in the Library—next is moving in some 6,000 volumes!

Sr Marie Pierre tests the hook heights for all the utility rooms to be sure they can accommodate various brooms and mops

Many thanks to Ben Sanders and his dad—the new layout table is in place in the sewing room

January 30-February 1: Baker Testing and Tweaking

We’re baking! Each plate gets regulated for even batter placement

Tweaks and repairs needed as the baking goes along

Philippe and Alfred carefully watch the baker function to be sure all is well

Further tweaks and experimentation

The baked sheets of bread are piled, sorted, and stored for future cutting

After three days of test-baking, both bakers are up and running smoothly

January 26-29: Baker Reassembly Continued

The baking irons are carefully return to their home on the carousel

Philippe & Alfred put the roof back on so the exhaust can be installed; the machine parts filling the CWW are clearing out

Many parts needed replacing – after 13 years of use and corrosion some parts were near impossible to get apart

Repairs to the plates were extensive and challenging with corrosion

Regulating the plates begins

Regulating the batter-wand is no small task

Plate and batter-wand tweaking takes up much of the day; meanwhile the exhaust fans were connected to the bakers

Adjustments are made to ensure the baker rotation and batter pump are in sync

Views from January 27:

The stonemasons are nearing the finish line; working in a heated enclosure they are finishing the guest corridor on the North of the Chapel

The Cloister walk that lines the inner courtyard is nearly ready for final cleaning

The Guest Nave of the Chapel is now drywalled

January 26: Founder’s Day

Founder’s Day: Today is the Solemnity of Saints Robert, Alberic, & Stephen. Zealous to serve God with greater fidelity to the Rule of St. Benedict, our founding fathers began a new monastic community in 1098. This community was first known simply as ‘the New Monastery’ – from which we gleaned our project title. As we honor them today and are grateful for their legacy, we implore their intercession as we move forward with our own New Monastery project.

Matching Challenge: We remain humbled and grateful for your generous support of our community and life of prayer. We had a matching challenge at the end of 2023 to help raise the funds to meet our budget. Thanks to your help – we met the match, and just in time! Thank you for your generous gifts toward the challenge.

Relocation Update: We had hoped to transfer the community to the New Monastery by February 1st. While much progress has been made on the buildings and we expect to have the occupancy permit by February 1st, we prayerfully discerned that a delay would be most prudent. There are some changes we have requested in order to help enhance the safety and functionality of the building for our elder nuns, as well as some errors to be corrected. This further work would be disruptive to our life of prayer, difficult on our older members, and not ideal for our monastic enclosure, not to mention an added challenge for the construction workers if we were present. God willing, we will relocate the first week of March when these final preparations are complete. Please continue to use our Prairie du Sac mailing address until then. All in God’s time!

Saints Robert, Alberic, & Stephen – pray for us!

January 25: Baker Reassembly

The second baker reassembly begins; the heavy parts take 3 or 4 people to maneuver

Electricians install the power for one baker while the reassembly continues on the other baker

Mother Anne Marie makes her monthly visit with cookies in hand for the workers; Sr Roberta and Sr Marie Pierre accompany, pictured here with Artie of CG Schmidt

The second baker gets the third tier of rings installed

Sister Marie Pierre and Sister Christina Marie discuss CWW details with Joel of CG Schmidt

Now begins the precise leveling; they plan to add the baking irons tomorrow and continue the laborious leveling

January 24: Phase two Bakery Relocation

Philippe rolls away the final piece of the second baker; the sisters are amazed to see all the pieces of the two ovens scattered on the bakery floor

After filling two moving trucks, the pieces and parts of the bakers arrive at the CWW

Carefully labeled parts fill the CWW ready to be reinstalled

Reassembly began right away; the technicians follow a precise order

The first baker is taking shape

January 22: Baker Disassembly

Philippe and Alfred, technicians from Coremat, arrived from France to dissemble and reassemble our two altar bread bakers; here they remove a baking iron with the help of a winch

The electrician, Alfred, and the mechanic, Philippe, hard at work

A local machinist and engineer, John Hallis, observes and assists the baker disassembly

The final piece of the first baker is removed! Fr. Joseph Watson, O.Cist. (right) assists as translator

Disassembly of the second baker begins; we plan to transfer the parts and pieces to the New Monastery on the 24th and begin reassembly

January 18: Phase One Bakery Relocation

The community has been packing away; every nook & cranny is getting filled with boxes complete with color-coded labels to direct the movers

Today began the bakery relocation – here the moving truck is being filled with carts toped with 50lb bags of flour

Movers disassemble and then reassemble large shelving used to store stock boxes for shipping altar bread orders

Quickly filled, two moving trucks depart the Prairie du Sac monastery and head toward Hollandale

After safely navigating the icy roads, the moving trucks were unloading at the Communion Wafer Workshop at the New Monastery

Previous Videos

January 11 VIDEO CLIP

November 7 VIDEO CLIP

October 25 VIDEO CLIP

October 11 VIDEO CLIP




Slideshow of Previous Updates:

September 2022 to April 2023

May 2023 to January 2024

Media Links

“Cloistered Religious and the Common Good”
Bridge Builder Podcast; 7 March, 2021

“The Monastery and Evangelization”
Blazing the Trail Podcast; 24 February, 2021

“Making a Monastery”
Spectrum News 1; 14 February, 2021

“Cistercian Nuns and the Fermentation Fest”
WI State Journal; 28 September, 2020

“Living Life as a Cloistered Cistercian Nun”
Blessed Is She Blog; 20 February, 2020

“Cistercian Nuns Seek Help”
Catholic News Agency; 30 January, 2020

“Valley of Our Lady In Need of a New Monastery”
Sancrucensis Post; 28 January, 2020

“Sisters Find Grace in the Challenges”
Global Sisters Report; 16 December, 2019

“Drawing Our Will Into God’s”
St Paul-Minneapolis Catholic Spirit; 5 November, 2019

“Cistercian Sisters Seek Prayer and Support”
Madison Catholic Herald; 9 October, 2019

“Enclosed in Silence: Cistercians’ Life of Prayer Draws Millennial Women”
National Catholic Register; 3 June, 2019

“The Rediscover: Hour,” Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis
Radio interview; 29 March, 2019

Their goal was: quaerere Deum. Amid the confusion of the times, in which nothing seemed permanent, they wanted to do the essential – to make an effort to find what was perennially valid and lasting, life itself.  They were searching for God.

–Pope Benedict XVI

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