Benedictine nuns, monks and priests gathered Sunday, Sept. 2, to celebrate the largely completed renovation of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration monastery in Clyde, a small community in eastern Nodaway County.
Sister Pat Nyquist, prioress general, welcomed a crowd of more than 200 to the celebration, which ceremonially marked the close of the Sacred Stones, Sacred Stories project to modernize the historic convent.
"We want to welcome you to this gathering that we’ve been anticipating for a very long time," Nyquist said. "It's been sort of like one of those road trips when the kids keep asking, ‘Are we there yet?’ Finally, it is time to say, ‘Yes, we have arrived.'"
Nyquist thanked architectural and construction crews and a group of lay workers who helped transform the 100-year-old building into a modern facility that serves as both a residence and center for shared worship and monastic life.
She noted that while the monastery is now more energy efficient and provides easier access to visitors, it retains "our sacred heritage" and "carries forward 138 years of monastic tradition founded in this place by our pioneer sisters."
Also present at the ceremony was Abbot Gregory Polan of nearby Conception Abbey, who was on hand to offer a blessing when the Sacred Stones project began two years ago.
"We are so pleased to be a part of this celebration with you," Polan said. "In true Benedictine style you have created something that is most welcoming and beautiful."
Sister Sean Douglas, who served as Clyde prioress throughout the renovation, read from the biblical book of Genesis and noted how the facility combines old and new.
"We are grateful we were able to re-use so many items from existing woodwork, cabinets, doors and even some plumbing fixtures," Douglas said. "Anything that could be re-used was incorporated into the new construction, stored for future use or shared with people who could use it."
During the blessing, Polan sprinkled holy water on the entrance and spoke the following prayer:
"Within these walls let your angels of light preside and stand watch over those who live here; may all who visit here experience the presence of your Son in the welcome and prayer of a community formed by a common vision of faith."
After the blessing, the doors were ceremoniously opened. Once inside, those in attendance watched a video about the renovation and gathered for a reception in the refectory.
"It was a day of gratitude, giving us the opportunity to thank God for the safe and beautiful completion of the renovation, to thank those who did the work and to thank those whose generosity and support made the project possible," said Sister Dawn Annette Mills.