Pat tours new Spirit Center
By Pat Wherry
Last Thursday morning, July 14, I was given a tour of the new Spirit Center at St. Gertrude’s Monastery.
Furniture had been delivered Monday so there was still a lot of arranging to be done.
Coming in the front door you are in a vestibule with two cut glass colored windows.  These are from the Monastery resulting from a past remodeling.  The use of other items from the Monastery tie the new and the old together.
As you continue around to the left you reach the larger of three conference rooms.  This room will house the Raspberry Festival quilt show.
On this floor on the east side is the second conference room with a fireplace.  The top board on the mantel was made from a cedar tree which grew where the Center is now located.
Downstairs on the east side is the small conference room, which has a table, which can seat 12 people as well as chairs for a discussion group.
As you face the center the right hand side has rooms for overnight stays.  Most of the rooms have two twin beds, a nightstand, suitcase holder and an easy chair.  As each room is made up a hand quilted lap quilt will be put over the back of the chair.  Quilts have been handmade by the Sisters.
On the east of the two lodging floors is a lounge with chairs, table and space for a group to meet for breakfast or follow-up meeting.
On the west end of the main floor are two small spirit rooms sized for two people to use.
On the lower level of the lodge wing are the offices and storage rooms.  Each floor has rest rooms, and the facility has an elevator for easy access.
Also on the lower floor are two climate-controlled rooms.  One for the archives from the Monastery with a work room, giving easier access to the data.
Also a second climate controlled room with double doors toward the museum for storage of museum artifacts.
One thing you notice right away are the large windows and the views from the windows.  The building was placed to take advantage of the views and to make use of solar power collectors on the east side of the center roof to help with electricity for water heating and for some the lighting.
Katy McFaul, with the Monastery five and a half years is in charge of retreats in the Spirit Center.  Sr. Barbara Jean Glodowski is director for the Center.
The building and fixtures for the building are on the “green” principle.  This means materials used were for the most environmentally safe building.
John Remacle and Sandy Enneking made the wood bed frames, headboards, night tables and suitcase stands.  The men made 36 beds and also some of the cabinets in other parts of the center.  There are 22 bedrooms and these have been booked full for each weekend for the next two months.
The first retreats in the center are booked for Aug. 13 and Aug. 19.  
A grand opening is not planned now. In 2006 the Monastery will be remodeled.
To get information about the Spirit Center call 208-962-3224 and ask for the Center.
Tours of the Spirit Center will be given Sunday, Aug. 7, during the Raspberry Festival.
Following Sr. Mary Kay Henry explains where the money is being spent the Sisters are raising:
The sisters are excited about the new Center, but are keeping the opening of it low-key because they are in the midst of a three-part capital campaign, for which Spirit Center is just one part.
This simple and elegant $3.4 million addition to the monastery campus is the first stage of a three-part $6.9 million project which the Benedictine sisters have undertaken.  They are financing $1.9 million of the project and are raising $5 million through their capital campaign called Growing a Future Rooted in Hope.  They have raised over $2 million and expect to complete the campaign in 2007.
The sisters are in the quiet phase of the capital campaign, which focuses more directly on seeking major gifts from individuals and foundations.  The campaign will move into the public phase when about seventy per cent of the funds are raised.
By starting, and completing, Spirit Center before the funds were raised, the sister realized significant economic advantages: they were able to lock in the quoted prices for construction and they were able to keep their retreat ministry active.  The monastery faced a change in administration in the summer of 2005, and having newly retired Prioress Jean Lalande and leadership team complete the project before a new administration was elected saved significant time and money.
In addition to building Spirit Center the sisters are renovating the monastery by installing an ADA compliant elevator which will provide permanently or temporarily handicapped members access to all the floors and will improve care in cases of medical emergencies; replacing the 263 single pane window with double-pane energy efficient ones; replacing the nurse call system in the infirmary and the telephone system; and rearranging some living and work spaces to make the monastery more suitable for twenty-first century living.  This stage will cost $2 million and is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2006.
The third part of the project is establishing endowments for the retreat ministry and the historical museum.  The goal is $1 million for retreat ministry and $500,000 for the museum, which will be added to the $600,000 endowment from the Samuel Emmanuel bequest.
The conference area is at the left with the lodging area to the right. Between the two buildings is a lounge area. The large conference room which will host the Raspberry Festival qulit show.
The view across the Prairie from the large windows in the main floor lounge. The upstairs lounge with a cedar board as the  mantle piece. The cedar was from a tree that stood where the center is now.
The coffee center on the inside wall of the main floor lounge. One of the bedrooms with twin beds.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522



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503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
Fax 208-962-7131
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