Prayer awakens. Justice compels. Compassion acts. Thy Kingdom come.


Eager to welcome God’s transforming power in ourselves and our world, we seek God together through monastic profession and respond with our core values: Healing Hospitality, Grateful Simplicity, Creative Peacemaking.


We are a monastic community that follows the ancient Rule of Benedict.

Using early Christian communities as our model, we live out the values of praying together, living together, sharing all things in common, and serving the wider community and one another.

We are a Catholic religious community that intentionally manifests Benedictine spirituality in the world. We welcome people of all faiths, richly connected through prayer. We are part of the Federation of St. Gertrude, which includes approximately 650 professed sisters.


We are a community founded by creative, courageous, pioneering women ministering to the needs of the times. 

foundersOn September 26, 1882, Mother Johanna Zumstein, Sister Magdalene Suter, and Sister Rosalia Ruebli, three nuns from a cloister in Sarnen, Switzerland, faithfully and courageously left their home to sail to New York. A steam train brought them across the continent to new territory where they first established a religious community and mission in Gervais, Oregon, and began our legacy of ministry in the Northwest. With growing influence, the community established schools and three hospitals. The journey took them through Eastern Washington and then to Cottonwood, Idaho, where the motherhouse was founded in 1909. Read more about our history…

processionToday, we continue in the spirit of our founding ministries, but have also broadened our reach to others, serving as health care professionals, educators, pastoral care providers, spiritual directors, retreat facilitators, social workers, and artisans. Though our work is centered in Idaho, it extends beyond, as sisters serve in healthcare, education, pastoral care, and parish ministry in California and Washington.

We are engaged in diverse, relevant ministries focused on the needs and opportunities of today and tomorrow:

Spirituality and the Arts

Dynamic performances and retreats that engage artistic expression as devotion and the deepening of spirituality through creativity. Learn more… 

Peace and Justice

We work for justice according to the principles of Catholic Social Justice teaching. Learn more…

Care of the Land

We recognize our sacred responsibility to care for our land and make proper use of the resources it provides. Learn more…

Spirit Center

Through our growing Spirit Center retreats, our skilled facilitators minister to nearly 3,000 individuals with many backgrounds. We offer year-round individual and facilitated group retreats focused on topics including Benedictine spirituality and the arts in this facility, which includes three conference and meeting rooms and 22 guest rooms. Learn more…

Inn at St. Gertrude

Our bed and breakfast, Inn at St. Gertrude, invites guests to enjoy our hospitality and breathtaking views of the Camas Prairie through the seasons. Learn more…

Historical Museum at St. Gertrude

Like many Benedictine monastic communities throughout history, our monastery is serving to protect a cultural heritage as well as a spiritual one. We are preserving the past for the future through our Historical Museum that is engaged in carefully curating artifacts and faithfully interpreting the stories they represent. Learn more…

Sisters on Mission

ElisaYouth_webIn addition to our many ministries at home, sisters are engaged in ministries in Idaho, Washington, and California.

~ Sister Mary Frances Kluss, LPN, Lewiston, Idaho
~ Sister Elisa Martinez, Directress of Programs, Soledad Enrichment Agency, Los Angeles, California
~ Sister Margie Schmidt, Director of Pastoral Care, St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Lewiston, Idaho
~ Sister Betty Schumacher, Pastoral Associate, St. Jude’s Parish, Redmond, Washington
~ Sister Esther Velasquez, Caregiver and Volunteer, Southside Food Bank, Spokane

St. Benedict and St. Gertrude

Benedict founded twelve monasteries. As he explored this way of life, he wrote a set of guidelines for the Christians who entered the monasteries. This guide came to be known as the Rule of Benedict. Focusing on stability, respect, prayer and communal living, it offered an example of how life could be lived, even during societal and cultural upheaval.

St. Gertrude belongs to the late 13th century monastic culture and may be the leading woman writer and visionary of that culture. She is among those special voices from the past that address all Christians now at the dawn of the third millennium. She recalls us to a new awareness of God’s unconditional love for all creatures in the saving mission of Jesus. Learn more…


We are a community committed to prayer and bringing about the Kingdom of God.

For over 1,500 years Benedictines have lived lives of prayer and service to the world. Our own community has a tradition of stability and a legacy of continual prayer, service and community life for over 130 years. We move into the future knowing that our presence, our ministry, our faith, our prayer witness to the transforming power of a way of life centered on God.

Your sisters in Christ,

The Benedictine Sisters