The Benedictine Sisters were a beloved part of the Saint Vincent community and were responsible for food service from 1931 to 1987. The first group of sisters arrived at Latrobe on February 25, 1931, under the leadership of Mother Leonardo Fritz. By 1939 forty sisters had come to Saint Vincent from their convent of Saint Walburga at Eichstätt in Bavaria.
The character of Saint Vincent today owes much to the loving presence of the sisters for so many years. They cooked and served meals, canned food and made preserves, made vestments and ceramics, knitted afghans and booties, prayed and sang. They taught us all "we were all their students" that love and good humor transform work, and make every work a personal gift.
During World War II the sisters were prevented from sending money back to their motherhouse at Eichstätt. As a consequence they were able to purchase property near Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where they established Saint Emma Monastery. In May 1987 the sisters closed their convent at Saint Vincent and moved to Saint Emma, where they continue their ministry as a thriving retreat center.
In 1989 Saint Vincent honored the sisters through a Founders' Day Exhibit at the King Ludwig Gallery on campus. The program of the exhibit was titled "Saint Vincent's Gentle Touch: The Benedictine Sisters." All who have been privileged to know them are grateful for the abiding influence of that loving "gentle touch." In a true spiritual sense the sisters will always be a beloved part of Saint Vincent.
Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B.