The Benedictine Sisters of Ridgely, Maryland trace their roots back to St. Benedict who, in the fifth century, wrote his Holy Rule and founded his first monastery. Other Benedictine monasteries, both of men and women, soon followed and the order spread throughout Europe.
The Benedictine way of life came to America in 1846 with Boniface Wimmer: a monk who came from Metten Abbey in Germany.
In 1852, at Abbot Boniface’s invitation, the first three Benedictine nuns arrived in America and settled in St. Mary’s, PA where they grew rapidly and spread to other cities. In 1857 six sisters travelled to Newark, NJ to teach in St. Mary’s Parish School and in 1859 they became an independent monastery.
Then in 1887, under the second elected prioress of the Newark community, Mother Dolorosa Berg, the Monastery was transferred from Newark, NJ to “The Plains” near Ridgely, MD in Caroline County.
St. Gertrude’s Academy was opened on the monastery grounds soon after the sisters arrived – starting the long tradition of wanting to teach young people.