Tag Archives: sacred heart monastery

Revisiting Solitude in Siouxland, Sacred Heart Monastery

2 Sep

While up in Yankton, South Dakota, recently, I attended an annual community celebration which I still need to post. But after that event, I took time to revisit the Sacred Heart Monastery and the Bishop Marty Chapel located in Yankton. A place of quiet, most times solitude, and one of reflection, this time I recorded scenes in B&W. I find that black and white images most times distills the image down to its essence. What that means, I will leave to philosophers. But there are times I find that B&W does not distract the viewer as color may sometimes do. But again, that’s all in the eye of the beholder. So many cliches, so little time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Solitude in Siouxland, Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton, SD

9 May

Sometimes no matter how many times I visit a place, I always like to return. Some places I return to more often if I am in the area than others. The Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, South Dakota, is one such place. No matter the bustle and hustle surrounding yourself, there is always peace and solitude there, and everyone is welcomed. On my last visit I heard one of the Benedictine Sisters playing piano in the chapel and I stayed quiet and listened, not disturbing her until she was finished. And then to only ask a few questions. The same is true of the grounds behind the chapel that is a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. Time seems to wash over the place giving one a chance to catch their breath, breath deep and forget about the world for a time. There should be more such places.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Solitude, finding a quiet spot, Sacred Heart Monastery

13 Aug

As of late life has gotten busier and the fall election campaigns in Iowa are in full swing, bombarding voters with this person and that person, someone who will fix the bad stuff for us. When really, it seems the next person doesn’t get more done than the last person, because our political system seems a wasteland awash in acrimony and boys and girls who represent the worst of what America has to offer.

So sometimes one needs to find a little solitude and someplace to just get away for a bit, an hour, maybe two, to just contemplate quiet. I found such a spot last spring when I travelled to Yankton, South Dakota. I hadn’t really walked around that small city before and during my walk found a little gem, the Sacred Heart Monastery, which is a Benedictine facility. According to its history page, “In 1874, five sisters from Maria Rickenbach came to Maryville, Missouri. Out of this mission grew the beginning of Sacred Heart Monastery in 1880. Bishop Martin Marty OSB, the Vicar Apostolic of Dakota Territory, soon visited the young community and asked the sisters to assist him in ministering to the Native American people at Fort Yates on the Standing Rock Reservation in present-day North and South Dakota. Because of the distance from Missouri   to Fort Yates, the sisters moved the motherhouse to Zell, South Dakota, and in 1889 relocated to the bluffs of the Missouri River in Yankton where we purchased an empty school building adjacent to Bishop Marty’s residence.”

It sits next to Mount Marty College, a Catholic liberal arts school. It sits on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River and I wandered out behind the monastery and into a park-like area and cemetery. I then encountered one of the nuns “talking” with past friends, as we all do, while walking through the monastery’s cemetery. For all the bustle around the order, the school and a hospital are nearby as is a main thorough fare, it is quiet. You could hear a turkey calling for its mates down below. The Missouri River continuing its trek much like it probably did when Lewis and Clark passed through on their mission.

The nun and I talked a bit, and she gave me a little background. It left me wondering a bit why these women would want to spend time in a sometimes hot, and definitely wintry cold place sitting atop a bluff, but the solitude and calm permeated throughout, giving one a short respite to the outside world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux CIty, Iowa

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