Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles move into former Poor Clare monastery

Special to The Message

The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles moved into the former Poor Clare monastery on Nurrenbern Road in Evansville on May 13. These Benedictine nuns are a cloistered, contemplative order like the Poor Clares, meaning their life is devoted to prayer and work, living apart from the world. The monastery will now be known as the Monastery of St. Anne as the nuns have a special devotion to the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The motherhouse of the nuns is the Abbey of Our Lady of Ephesus in Gower, Missouri. The Monastery of St. Joseph in Ava Missouri is their first foundation, and the Monastery of St. Anne is their second. The nuns take Our Lady’s hidden life at Ephesus as an inspiration for their own, seeking to be what she was for the early Church: a loving and prayerful support to the Apostles, the first priests. The nuns offer daily prayer and sacrifices for the sake of priests, the spiritual sons of Our Blessed Mother. It is part of their charism to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass and Divine Office, observing the directives of the Church. Father Jeffery Jambon, LC, will serve as their chaplain and will reside in the former rectory at the St. Agnes campus of St. Boniface Parish.  

The nuns are nationally known for their recordings of sacred music as well as the sewing of vestments and sacred linens. The Abbey in Gower was in the news last spring when the body of their foundress, Sister M. Wilhelmina Lancaster, osb, was found almost perfectly preserved four years after her death. The local bishop is currently investigating the matter.     

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel said, “While we miss the presence of the Poor Clare community, we are blessed to have another contemplative order establish a foundation in our Diocese. I trust that their prayerful intercession will be a source of many graces of our local church.”

Reverend Mother Abbess Cecilia Snell, osb, said, “It is with deep gratitude to the Lord, Our Lady, Saint Anne, and His Excellency, Bishop Joseph Siegel, that our community takes up its life of 'ora et labora,' work and prayer, in the Diocese of Evansville. We are humbled at the opportunity to continue the faithful living of monastic life at the former Poor Clare convent. As our Sisters chant the Divine Office and go about their daily tasks, hidden from the eyes of the world, know they will be praying fervently for the sanctification of all of the souls in the Diocese, most especially for its priests.”

Learn more about the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles at

Closing Evansville’s Monastery of St. Clare

In June 2023, when the Evansville monastery dropped below the minimum number of six nuns required to remain open, the Poor Clare nuns announced the closure of Evansville’s Monastery of St. Clare and plans to relocate the remaining nuns. At the time, the last abbess of the community, Sister Jane Marie Deland, PC, explained that a serious decline of vocations to the contemplative life has led several Poor Clare monasteries to close in the U.S. over the past 3-5 years, with more expected to close in Europe.

For 126 years, the Poor Clares served in the Diocese of Evansville. In honor of the Poor Clares and their foundress, Mother Mary Magdalen Bentivoglio, Bishop Siegel designated a meeting space in the Catholic Center as the Bentivoglio Room.