Since our arrival in the Dakota territory in 1874, the Benedictine Sisters’ pioneering spirit has been committed to serving to the needs of the time. Our journey began in Zell, SD and then to Yankton, SD in 1887 where we founded Scared Heart Convent. In 1961 Mother of God Monastery was established by Scared Heart Convent and temporarily located in Pierre, SD until its final move to Watertown, SD in 1964, located on what is known today as Harmony Hill. As a Benedictine community, we have focused on serving others through work in healthcare, education, and social services.
Consistent with national trends across mainline Christian denominations, there is a decline in Catholic church membership as well as individuals entering the religious life as a vocation. We experienced the same trends at Mother of God Monastery, and as a result, the median age of our 42 Sister community is 85. With this reality clear and through much discernment, we chose to be proactive and pioneering about our future, as well as ensure our ministry continues after our time on earth is complete.
“We began to see that we had to take another look at our future.” said Sister Emily Meisel, OSB.
This journey included letting go, grieving, claiming a different way and opening up to new opportunities. It was through this process Harmony Hill Watertown was realized, the beginning of our legacy project. We view our legacy as a different kind of vocational call, a call involving many unanticipated opportunities, new partnerships, and impactful collaborations. With the cornerstone of giving back to the Watertown community, we intend to build our legacy on the Benedictine value of stewardship as we utilize our land asset as the foundation for lasting impact.
“If our community no longer exists in the form it does, do we have a way to leave a legacy?” said Sister Adrienne Kaufmann, OSB.
Harmony Hill Watertown will continue our focus of serving others in healthcare, education and social services by address current and future community needs through a diverse planned development. Harmony Hill is designed to be a place where residents can live, work, shop, and play. Where visitors and guest travel to as a destination. Where community is built and where living continues!
The Benedictine women of Mother of God Monastery, are a monastic community with rural roots and a pioneering vision. Seeking God in community is a primary Benedictine value, therefore we are hospitable and compassionate toward one another, and we empower one another to live joyfully. We strive for a balanced life of prayer, work , study and leisure.
Open to the spirit and with listening hearts, we hear God's call to live our monastic and personal gifts by inviting others to share our community life, by ministering to the people of God, by reverent stewardship of creation, and by bringing Gospel values into a multicultural world.