Introducing the Center for Benedictine Life at the Monastery of St. Gertrude


What is more delightful than God’s voice calling to us? 
-St. Benedict

It can be hard to stay positive in the midst of the problems that surround us. But, in a confusing world the Center for Benedictine Life at the Monastery of St. Gertrude is inviting people to embark on a path of profound hope. It is a path rooted in the presence of God, a path that can transform ourselves and our world. It is the path of the monastic way of St. Benedict re-envisioned for the needs of our world, the needs of our times, the needs of all people of faith, not just monks and nuns.

For over 1500 years women and men have used Benedict’s guidebook to live a life centered on God, as a way to listen and respond to God’s “delightful” voice. Today the invitation is to share Benedictine values and practices with the world and to invite people longing for a deeper relationship to God to live the Benedictine way.


New Times, New Wine, New Wineskins

Benedict’s structured, monastic way of life focused on God has been lived in many different ways by all kinds of people through the centuries. The Monastery of St. Gertrude is exploring and expanding new ways for our new millennium. We are seeing that new forms of Benedictine life are being born in our midst. We see our purpose as calling forth, nurturing, forming, and supporting new ways to live this time-tested way of life and we call on others to partner with us in this vision.



“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
(Isaiah 43:19)

Our vision is two-fold. We are actively working to continue and strengthen the presence and ministries of the Monastery of St. Gertrude. St. Gertrude’s was established in Cottonwood in 1907 and we intend for it to continue indefinitely into the future.

We are also pioneering a new way of understanding and living Benedictine life.

People acquainted with Benedictine monasteries usually think that the vowed members, sisters or monks, are the monastery while the oblates, employees, friends, donors are simply the supporters. Here at St. Gertrude’s, we see the monastery differently. We are saying that “all together, we are St. Gertrude’s.” All of us, sisters, oblates, Benedictine Cohousing Companions, employees, volunteers, artists in residence, friends and supporters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude are part of the “Center for Benedictine Life at the Monastery of St. Gertrude” (CBL). The Center for Benedictine Life is a new form of Benedictine community in which Benedict’s call to live the Gospel is for all kinds of people who want to live a deeper spiritual life centered on God.

The Center for Benedictine Life is not simply a place or an idea. It is a movement to bring the transformative practices of the Benedictine way to many more people.

We are The Monastery

Something New is Happening

People have lived Benedictine life for over 1500 years, and it has always been a way of life centered on seeking God above all else. Today we are witnessing a shift from an understanding of Benedictine life being lived only by vowed religious to understanding that Benedictines are people from many Christian commitments and ways of life who desire a deeper spirituality.


We are living in a time when there is a surge of vocations to the Benedictine way of life, not to traditional vows and structures, but to new flexible ways of making a commitment to live the Rule of Benedict. This shift is more than an increased interest in Benedictine life, it is a movement of people who experience a deep hunger for the depth and life-changing power of the Benedictine way. It is a movement of people who long for a deeper relationship with God that is offered by the monastic way.

The Center for Benedictine Life at the Monastery of St. Gertrude is working to support, shape and enable this critical movement. We are providing examples, projects, leadership, and vision for a world that needs Benedict now more than ever. We seek collaborators who are excited to be part of a movement to invite people to experience the transformative path of Benedict.

    Our Mission/Our People:



    The mission of the Center for Benedictine Life at the Monastery of St. Gertrude is to encourage and support people experiencing a call from God to a deeper, more profound spiritual life and to discover Benedictine spirituality as a way to fulfill that desire. The people who make up the CBL are all those who are actively living and supporting this mission. We are working to form all those who are part of the CBL in Benedictine life, spirituality and practices. Some of our current programs and opportunities include:


    benedictine cohousing companions

    will be single women who will live at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, committed to pioneering a new form of Benedictine life outside of the structure of traditional religious life. They will make an indefinite commitment to live monastic life, engage in initial and on-going formation and fully participate in monastic life with the sisters. This new community represents the continuity of a lived, Benedictine presence at the monastery.

    St. gertrude’s oblate community

    consists of women and men strongly committed to living and being formed in Benedictine life, with nine local area communities and a leadership team composed entirely of oblates.

      the spirit center

      is a vibrant retreat center with numerous programs focused on monastic topics. There is an emphasis in both our in-person and virtual retreats on reaching out to people who are seeking a deeper faith life that Benedictine spirituality provides.

      St. gertrude’s L.I.V.E.

      is providing virtual spirituality and education programs that reach far beyond our physical location.

        spirituality and the arts program

        provides ways to explore the intersection of expressive creativity and spirituality through retreats, programs and artists in residence opportunities.

        programs to experience monastic life

        We offer programs with opportunities to experience monastic life as live-in volunteers as well as “New Ways to be Monastic” weeks in which participants experience monastic life and learn about ways to connect with St. Gertrude’s.

          formation for employees

          Employees are given regular opportunities to learn about Benedictine values and what it means to be an integral part of the CBL.


          New models require new leadership. What we have in mind and are working towards are new leadership structures that will continue to make the Center for Benedictine Life at the Monastery of St. Gertrude a reality.

          Sisters and lay people together in leadership

          We are actively creating new structures to implement our vision of sustainable leadership. This includes working towards developing a board of directors for our civil corporation that will include lay members as well as Sisters. This board of directors will consist of people who are strongly formed in Benedictine life and spirituality.

          grounded in benedictine formation

          All levels of leadership, formal and informal, will be grounded in and manifest the values and principles of the Rule of St. Benedict and the culture and values of the Monastery of St. Gertrude. We are committed to formation in Benedictine values for everyone who is a part of the CBL, from the board of directors to the employees to the oblates and to the casual visitor. We believe that Benedictine spirituality, values and practices are for everyone according to their commitment, situation and calling.

            ongoing care for sisters

            The CBL is a ministry of the sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude. An explicit, central purpose of the CBL is to ensure the ongoing care of the sisters. The Benedictine sisters are currently and will continue to be actively engaged in leadership. The sisters, along with their lay partners, are committed to intentionally forming Benedictine leadership for the future.

            Partner With Us:

            Every movement begins with people who share a vision of something new. Join with us as we imagine, plan and create an exciting future with new forms of Benedictine life for a new millennium. Won’t you join us?


            Consider some of our many formation opportunities.


            Explore our oblate and Benedictine Cohousing Companions communities.


            Consider employment, volunteer and artist residency opportunities.


            Consider a financial gift.


            Help spread the word about the exciting new vision and opportunities.


            St. Benedict saw his little community as one in which everyone was “setting out with the Gospel for our guide” and going “all together to everlasting life.” Let us all hold each other in prayer, faith and hope as we support one another on this journey.

            Center for Benedictine Life at the Monastery of St. Gertrude


            All together into the future


            Our People


            The Arts

            Care of the Land

            Peace and Justice