Who We Are
"This is the good zeal which monks must foster with fervent love: they should each try to be the first to show respect to the other"
- Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 72 verse 3
We are Catholic Benedictine women committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which impels us to love as he loves, through a common life of prayer, hospitality, and ministry.
Each of us has been called to serve God in our own unique ways. Our contemplative community gives us the opportunity to pray together and hear those quiet whispers in our hearts, those special callings allowing us to go out into the world and live His will.
If you are discerning a balanced, religious life, we welcome you to consider St. Joseph Monastery. We invite you into our home to hear our stories and experience our mission.
Most importantly, we want to help you discover the best way to live your personal calling.
We are all called to live God’s will in our own unique way.
At St. Joseph Monastery, we work hard to have a positive impact on the communities we serve as well as maintain a prayerful, welcoming environment for our sisters to grow closer together in God.
Through your support of our monastery, we are able live His individual callings and continue to be a prominent Catholic voice throughout Oklahoma.
Thank you for helping further His will with your donation or prayer commitment.
In 1879, three Benedictine women founded St. Joseph Monastery in Creston, Iowa. The sisters converted an existing house into a monastery and a school called Sacred Heart Academy.
About six months after the Land Run of 1889, which brought many people to Oklahoma Territory, the sisters of St. Joseph Monastery were invited to begin teaching in a city of tents located in Indian Territory near present-day Guthrie, Okla. The school they began was called St. Mary’s School. Three years later, in 1892, Oklahoma became the monastery’s permanent home. Following statehood in 1907, the sisters of St. Joseph Monastery opened and taught in many parish schools in the Guthrie area.
Early in the 20th century, Bishop Francis Kelley asked St. Joseph Monastery to open a school in the thriving community of Tulsa, Okla., to help meet Tulsa’s growing needs for education. In 1926, the sisters opened Monte Cassino School, a boarding and day school for girls, kindergarten through high school. The sisters also operated Claver College for African-Americans, held religious education classes in Langston, Okla., and staffed other local schools.
Monte Cassino became a day school in the early 1960’s, and St. Joseph Monastery officially moved to the residence hall at Monte Cassino. The school has occupied the same corner of land at 21stStreet and Lewis Avenue since that time.
The Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph Monastery are monastic women who seek God through prayer, community life, and service. These Benedictine Sisters in Tulsa belong to an ancient order which has been a part of the Oklahoma faith community for over 100 years and has had a presence in the Western world for over 1000 years.
The order's namesake, Benedict, left Rome in the sixth century AD. From his home, a cave in the mountains, he lived the life of a hermit. It was here that he worked his first miracle. Shepherds in the area befriended the future saint and began to follow his principles and teachings. Thus began the Benedictine order.
Benedict established his first monastery over 1500 years ago in the hills outside of Rome. This monastery, which he named Monte Cassino, became the first of 13 established by Saint Benedict. By 1100 AD, Monte Cassino was highly regarded as a center of cultural and spiritual life in Western Europe.
In the course of its history, Monte Cassino has been destroyed four times. Its most recent reconstruction restored the abbey as a symbol of the beauty and simplicity of the monastic lifestyle as well as the enduring power of faith.
The teachings of Saint Benedict continue to form the lives of his followers. Tens of thousands of Benedictine men and women worldwide live monastic lives as Saint Benedict modeled in the sixth century.
St. Joseph Monastery, still adjacent to its corporate ministry Monte Cassino School, completed a master plan to restore and refurbish the monastery and grounds in 2008.
In addition to operating Monte Cassino School, sisters work in pastoral ministry in local parishes as well as ministries to the poor and underprivileged. The sisters are also involved in a number of other ministries, including religious education, prayer, and hospitality.
Monte Cassino School has been owned and operated by St. Joseph Monastery for more than 80 years. Today, its students range in grades from preschool through eighth grade. The Benedictine Sisters continue to promote an atmosphere of respect for every student, teacher, employee, and parent. From its location in the heart of Tulsa, Monte Cassino continually strives to educate each generation through academic excellence and outreach to those in need.