"Every beginning is hard." Such was the wisdom of our foundress, Mother Mary Anselma Felber. In 1874 she and our pioneer sisters made the arduous journey from Maria Rickenbach in the Swiss Alps to the rolling hills of Northwest Missouri. The Benedictine monks of Engelberg, Switzerland were recently established in Conception, Missouri and needed help ministering to the German immigrant population. Seized with missionary fervor of the time, the community of Maria Rickenbach sacrificed five young sisters to serve the Church in a new land. Mother Mary Anselma's deepest desire was to establish in America a convent of Perpetual Adoration in the context of monastic life.
Frontier life was difficult and demanding. The sisters began teaching the immigrant children and before long they opened an academy and ran an orphanage. Gradually they built up a farm which provided their meat, milk, and eggs; and at its peak, Clyde Hill Farms boasted of a prize-winning dairy herd as well. Over time the sisters’ work also included the making of liturgical vestments, producing altar breads, operating a printery, and establishing a correspondence department.
Through these works our sisters served the spiritual and practical needs of God’s people. After the 1st World War our community raised funds to assist devastated monasteries and convents in Europe. As tokens of gratitude religious houses sent relics of the saints and other precious items that had survived the war. Our collection of these 550 documented relics, which is unduplicated in the US, as well as artifacts of our own history, are displayed in our Heritage Room/Relic Chapel.
Today we continue to support ourselves through altar bread work, soap making and correspondence. We persevere in cultivating the earth with landscapes and vegetable and flower gardens. And we carry on the labor of love through the monastic life - our service to one another and the Church.
Behind, before, and between all these works, the main work of our community is, and has always been: prayer, both communal and personal. Besides daily Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours, and lectio divina, we devote ourselves to adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It was love for Jesus Christ that brought our pioneer sisters here in the beginning; it is that same love which sustains us today and will carry us into the future.