MOUNT ANGEL — Queen of Angels Monastery home to many elderly sisters, some with chronic health issues. The sisters announced earlier today that for the safety of those sisters, and for the safety of the community, they are closing the monastery and Shalom at the Monastery retreat and guest facilities to visitors. “This is particularly difficult since as Benedictines, we hold hospitality as a core value and belief of our everyday living the Gospel and the Rule of St. Benedict,” wrote the sisters.

As part of that decision, the sisters are closing their Liturgies of the Hours and Masses to the public. That includes the Triduum and Easter services; those will not be open to the public.

All programs at Shalom Prayer Center are cancelled. Please call (503) 845-2556 or email info@benedictine-srs.org to arrange for a refund or to postpone your stay. For private retreatants, please call Sister Rebecca Pirkl (503) 949-4935 or email her rebeccapirkl@gmail.com

The sisters will stay home as much as possible. They have been asked not to travel unless for urgent medical issues. “We are practicing the guidelines for social distancing and good health practices,” they wrote.

The sisters encourage everyone to keep up the spiritual practices of prayer, lectio divina (see Monastery Lectio on www.benedictine-srs.org/blog), Centering Prayer, acts of kindness and silence. They suggest that this might be a time when Catholics can start some new practices that nourish soul, mind and body.

“Please pray for all those who are affected by the coronavirus, especially the elderly and the most vulnerable members of our society,” they write.

The sisters apologize for taking these drastic measures; however, protecting the health of the sisters is their first responsibility as a community. The suggest checking their website for updates.

“We will keep our hearts open to you in prayer and you will be in our thoughts with gratitude,” they write. “Please pray for us, as we pray daily for you. Please take care.”