BENEDICTINE SISTERS

Eldon S. Branda

BENEDICTINE SISTERS. The Benedictine Sisters, whose origin goes back to the sixth century in Italy, first came to Texas in 1919. Mother Ledwina and another nun first left the motherhouse at St. Mary's, Pennsylvania, in 1911 and established a small group at the Isle of Pines, Cuba. Mother Ledwina headed a group of eight sisters in 1919, when they left Cuba for Texas and settled in Leming, a small town in Atascosa County, south of San Antonio. There they operated a convent and school (Mother Ledwina died there), before moving to San Antonio in 1926. From 1926 to 1963 the Benedictine Sisters operated a nursing home in San Antonio. In 1961 they bought twenty-seven acres of Hill Country land at Boerne, Kendall County. From 1961 to 1963 they improved the land, on which already stood three substantial rock houses. In August 1963 the sisters moved to the new location in Boerne and trained additional sisters there. In 1968 they opened a day and boarding school for girls, which had an average annual enrollment of forty-five girls until 1972, when it was converted to a coeducational institution with a kindergarten and grades one through twelve. By the 1975–76 term there were 210 boys and girls in attendance. The boarding school was subsequently phased out. The acreage of the facility had increased to 47.5 acres by 1976 and many new buildings had been constructed, including five classroom buildings, a learning center, a gym, and a chapel. In 1983 the school was closed because of lack of funding. In its place an "early learning" and after-school daycare center was established in 1987. The motherhouse building, one of the old rock houses, was enlarged in 1976. In 1983 the Sisters established the Benedictine Resource Center in San Antonio. The center administers the three components of the Benedictine Sisters' Ministries. These components are the Pastoral Outreach in Boerne, which includes the Health and Wholeness Center for Senior Citizens, the Omega Retreat Center, the Hispanic Outreach program, and the Children's Inn, a children's shelter; the Public Policy and Priorities program in Austin, which does legislative work focusing on poverty and children in Texas; and the Community Organization Effort which serves high-risk children of parents in the criminal justice system and victims of domestic violence. In 1994 there were twenty-five Benedictine Sisters in Texas, and the prioress was Sister Frances Brisenio.

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Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Eldon S. Branda, "BENEDICTINE SISTERS," accessed October 22, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ixb02.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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