Adorers Sisters Relocate to Benedictine Living Community-At The ShrineMay 17, 2022
“I feel that life here at Benedictine Living Community-At The Shrine offers me happiness, health and holiness.”
Sister Mildred “Millie” Gross shared these insightful words as she reflected on the recent relocation of her fellow sisters from the Ruma Center to Benedictine Living Community-At The Shrine.
From February to April 2022, 37 Sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) moved from the Ruma Center in Ruma, Illinois, to their new residences in Benedictine on the campus of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois.
Founding of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ
The ASC community of Roman Catholic women began as a teaching order in 1834 by St. Maria de Mattias in Italy. There are over 2,000 Adorers worldwide, with more than 200 in the U.S. in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Kansas.
The Ruma Sisters, as they’re often affectionately called, have carried out their ministries of service, advocacy and worship at the Ruma Center for 146 years.
“These past 146 years at Ruma reflect a journey of faith-filled women willing to risk for the reign of God in their midst,” Sr. Millie said. “These faith-filled women reached out to others in love and hope. This pattern of service has been handed down through the years.”
Deciding to Move From the Ruma Center
The primary purpose of the relocation was to ensure the ongoing care for the Sisters that would also provide a continuation of community and mission with the closing of the convent.
The ASC order discussed the future needs for the health care of the sisters for several years, and involved input from leadership, a planning group and also the Ruma Sisters themselves. The first phase of the move focused on the community, care and mission of the sisters. The next phases will come in time regarding discernment for the buildings and land at the Ruma Center.
“Many Sisters wanted to stay in the Belleville diocese because so much of our ministry has been there,” Sr. Millie said. “Benedictine is committed to the healing mission of Jesus and the health and being of aging persons.”
The Sisters’ mission has focused primarily on teaching, healthcare, parish and social ministries in rural areas. Benedictine’s mission, values, and rural campus aligned with the ASC, allowing for a continued and expanded ministry.
“The Adorers share many of the Benedictine core values — respect, hospitality and justice,” Sr. Millie added. “Our working together as religious people who share common values helped this endeavor to happen.”
Settling in at Benedictine
The Sisters moved in small groups each week over the course of a few months to allow for a smoother transition. Sisters who had already moved to Benedictine helped acclimate the Sisters who followed to their new surroundings.
“The move went relatively smoothly with the dedication and commitment of our Ruma Center staff, Benedictine staff, Adorers throughout the region and the actual sisters moving,” Sr. Millie said.
Benedictine can meet the needs of each sister by utilizing all levels of continuing care in the community, including independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing. A professional, caring and supportive team is available to Benedictine residents 24 hours each day.
Numerous opportunities are offered to encourage an active lifestyle including social events, outings, spiritual support, engaging activities and more. The Sisters already appreciate the many programs now available to them, like attending a symphony concert in St. Louis and enjoying a lunch out, as well as experiencing connections with others on a spiritual, intellectual and social level.
“This has been an experience of a very welcoming community of residents and staff,” Sr. Millie said. “Benedictine offers us tremendous spiritual opportunities such as daily Mass, reception of the Sacraments, pastoral care and the celebration of the entire liturgical year right on the property.”
Making New Connections and Getting Acquainted With Old Friends
Benedictine staff and residents welcomed the Sisters with a large reception where each Sister and a few additional new residents had the opportunity to introduce themselves. The event was well-attended, and the dining team served an array of refreshments for everyone to mark the special occasion.
“The Sisters know many of the residents, having served in their previous parishes and taught members of their families,” Sr. Millie said.
Sister Barb Biever, ASC liaison for the Adorers, has offered her assistance and guidance in the relocation to Benedictine. She observed several connections between the sisters and lay residents in this process.
“I have just seen so many of the sisters reaching out to various residents — a phone call or a knock on a door can easily put them in touch with various people they’ve met,” Sr. Barb said. “One of the Sisters went to grade school with one of the other residents here, from a neighboring rural town. It’s amazing who we’re running into and how we’re all connected.”
Appreciating a Supportive Community of Residents and Staff
Both Sr. Millie and Sr. Barb have witnessed the kindness that both the residents and staff have toward anyone in need of a helping hand.
“The employees here are wonderful, and they offer their help — and it’s a genuine offer from their own goodness and kindness,” Sr. Millie said.
“The residents just have been so helpful,” Sr. Barb added. “One of the Sisters shared with me that she had lost her way, and one of the residents asked her if she needed help and then showed her around.”
The move was bittersweet to many of the sisters as they left behind a place they had lived, served and worshipped for numerous years. Yet, the Adorers remain resilient and focused on their mission and the new opportunities at Benedictine Living Community-At The Shrine.
“It’s a blend of coming together as a group — the sisters and the lay residents, and we enjoy each other’s company very much,” Sr. Millie said. “We’re helpful to each other.”
Experiencing Life at Benedictine
Would you like to visit Benedictine and meet some of the sisters and other residents and staff in the community? If you’re ready to experience life at Benedictine, contact us to schedule a visit.