With the recent news of the approval of a grant proposal to the Murdock Trust, the Monastery of St. Gertrude has crossed the fundraising goal line for a $2.3 million renovation project of the 72-year-old residential wing. 

On February 25, 2021, Prioress Sister Mary Forman, OSB, was notified that a grant proposal submitted the previous fall was approved by the board of directors of the Murdock Trust. 

The funds cap a robust fundraising initiative that began with major donors in 2018 and then, with 80% funded, went into a public phase of fundraising in July 2020. The public phase, that included mail and online appeals, raised funding to 95% of goal. 

“We are deeply grateful to the Murdock Trust and to all of our donors, who have supported this building remodel,” said Sister Mary. “We are also grateful to Oblate Jo-Anne Zimmer, who has shepherded this project and to Arnzen Construction for their many hours of labor. We are looking forward to moving into our new bedrooms. Once the pandemic restrictions are totally lifted, we will have an Open House, so our donors can see the beautiful rooms and celebrate with us. God bless you all!”

The Murdock Grant is intended to finish off the fundraising and also help cover increases in expenses which have risen to nearly $2.6 million in the course of the project.

Built in 1948, the Annex provided housing for sisters who mostly served in ministries away from home. Over seventy years later, the residential wing needed updated plumbing and electrical as well as asbestos abatement. The sisters’ individual 9’ x 14’ rooms have been enlarged and feature private bathrooms. The renovations create an energy-efficient residence for those who live at the Monastery and coordinate ministries. The Benedictine community will welcome new vocations as well as Benedictine Cohousing Companions — and host sisters, volunteers, artists, and oblates in a contemporary home. 

In late October, the sisters relocated to Spirit Center (the retreat center) that had already closed earlier in the year due to the pandemic. Construction work began in November 2020. Arnzen Construction of Cottonwood is the general contractor. 

Oblate Jo-Anne Zimmer, OblOSB, is the project coordinator. She is a retired self-employed general contractor who spent her career in new construction and is a kitchen remodel specialist.

“After years of planning, design, and construction we are nearing completion! This has required the efforts of so many to make this possible,” wrote Jo-Anne in a mid-March update. “We have gone from a 72-year-old building to a more modern space with the major highlights being private bathrooms, larger spaces, an asbestos-free environment, added insulation to the outside walls, updated plumbing and electrical, and more. It’s a joy to watch this spring into completion!”

Completion is anticipated for April and public celebrations, including tours of the renovated building, are intended for this summer, pending assessments for Covid-19 safety. St. Gertrude’s leadership team is also hoping Spirit Center can return to welcoming retreatants later in the spring.

Learn more about the project and get updates…