The Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand were founded in 1867 by four young Benedictine sisters who came from Covington, Kentucky, to teach Ferdinand's German settlers.
In the past 138 years, over 1,000 women have entered the Ferdinand Benedictine community. Their faith, spirit, and energy have led to the establishment of six independent monasteries; in Arkansas, North Dakota, California, Louisiana, Indiana, and Kentucky, and missions in Peru and Guatemala.
At a time when many religious communities have not had new members in years, the Ferdinand Benedictine community has averaged almost three new members yearly for the last 12 years. The community's success in gaining new members has been featured in print and broadcast media internationally, including a Wall Street Journal article and an episode of ABC's "Nightline."
The monastery's architectural magnificence has earned it the name "Castle on the Hill." The heart of the monastery is the church, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Also on the grounds are a Lourdes Grotto, outdoor Stations of the Cross, the Rosary Steps, a walkway for recitation of the traditional prayer, and Hildegard's Labyrinth for walking prayer and meditation.
The dome of the monastery church rises 87 feet from the floor and is 32 07 feet in diameter. Angels are depicted in the 16 stained glass windows around the dome. This angel motif is evident throughout the church; 94 angels have been counted. The architect seems to have taken a cue from the Rule of St. Benedict, in which Benedict says, "...we gather to worship and praise God in unison with the angels."
Organ Details: from the 1993 Organ Historical Society handbook edited by Alan Miller Laufman
Founded in 1840 by Rev. Joseph Kundek, the town of Ferdinand was named after the Emperor of Austria. St. Ferdinand Church, built in 1847, once housed an 1856 Joseph Prante organ. Four Benedictine Sisters arrived in Ferdinand in 1867; by 1886 they have moved from the village to a new convent and chapel designed by A. Druiding. In 1914, they engaged architect Victor Klutho of St. Louis to present plans for enlarging the complex. Instead he presented a design for a large new facility; construction began in 1915, and after delays occasioned by the First World War, it was completed and dedicated June 20, 1924.
Research thus far has not revealed what organ may have been in the Druiding chapel when it was first built. The Bennet Organ Co. of Rock Island Illinois lists a two manual 9 rank tubular pneumantic op. 905 of 1922 for Immaculate Conception Convent. The present magnificent church originally housed a 3 manual 35 rank electro-pneumatic instrument built by the Bennett Organ Co., op. 929 of 1924. In 1966, it was giving serious problems. Sister Theresita, Director of Music at the Convent, stated at the time that "the instrument had not been repaired since it was bought. Almost from the beginning (she said), some of the organ stops were unusable, and in recent years the tone had become even poorer."
During 1966 & 1967 Friar Eugene Ward built a new organ (that you hear below), using some of the Bennett pipework and other parts, assisted by novices at the Convent. Most of the principal chorus, upperwork and reeds are new.
The Sisters changed the name of the Convent to Monastary Immaculate Conception in 1991.
Swell to Pedal 8'
Great to Pedal 8'
Choir to Pedal 8'
2' Block Flote
Swell to Swell 16'
Swell to Swell 4'
8' Rohr Flote|
4' Koppel Flote
2 2/3' Nazard
1 3/5' Tierce
Choir to Choir 16'
Choir to Choir 4'
Swell to Choir 16'
Swell to Choir 8'
Swell to Choir 4'
4' Spitz Flote
Great to Great 4'
Swell to Great 16'
Swell to Great 8'
Swell to Great 4'
Choir to Great 16'
Choir to Great 8'
Choir to Great 4'
I Call to You, Lord Jesus Christ (Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ) - J.S. Bach - performed by Theresa Bauer
Hymn for St. Hildegard - Sister Theresita Schenk, OSB - performed by Theresa Bauer
Psalms XIX - Marcello - performed by Theresa Bauer
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