1875 - The Poor Clares Come To The U.S.A.
Mother Magdalen Bentivoglio and her natural sister, Sr. Mary Constance Bentivoglio came to the USA in 1875, sent by Pope Pius IX and the Minister General of the Franciscan Order to bring the Order of Poor Clares to America. After many hardships, original plans did not work out. They did not know the language, and were not accepted in many places they tried. Finally they were accepted in Omaha, Nebraska, and Mr. John Creighton from Creighton Universtiy befriended them, funding the building of the first Poor Clare Monastery in the USA.
In the latter part of the 1880's, Mother Magdalen left the Omaha Monastery with a few sisters to start another Monastery in New Orleans, LA. Omaha was going well with several new members. She left her sister, Sr. Mary Constance at Omaha to take care of that Monastery. After getting the Monastery established in New Orleans, Mother Magdalen went back to Omaha.
Mother Magdalen Bentivoglio
1897 - Evansville
In 1897 one of the sisters in Omaha, NE had a relative in Evansville, who in their will, left some land to the sisters which became the place of the Monastery in Evansville, Indiana. This is how the Monastery got its beginnings in Evansville.
The address of the property donated was 509 S. Kentucky Ave. At that time it was in the country surrounded by corn fields. From the beginning the sisters raised cows and chickens for their own milk and eggs. Each day they led the cows out into the fields to pasture. In the beginning they had no electricity or plumbing.
The records show that the original building, which still exists, cost $38,000. Even though they had part of the money from bequests, they were left with a large debt. Often beginnings are difficult and they had their share of hardships. They did not even have furniture, but managed with boxes for tables and chairs.
Early Monastery - Current home of Christian Life Center in Evansville