Fund-raising dinners begin with elegant French cuisine

December 7, 2012 by

When Manna House of Prayer opened in 1978, its mission was to feed the body, mind and spirit of everyone who entered its doors. Thirty-five years later, the spirituality enter in Concordia is celebrating its anniversary in 2013 with the theme “Everybody’s Hungry” and offering a series of fund-raising dinners that will do exactly that.

“First Mondays at Manna” begins Jan. 7 with an elegant sit-down dinner featuring French cuisine, in recognition of the Sisters of St. Joseph’s roots in 16th-century France.

Tickets are available by calling the center at 785-243-4428 or emailing Reservations are required no later than noon Jan. 3.

There will be two seatings for the dinner — at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. — and diners are invited to arrive 15 minutes early for aperitifs and wine.

The menu includes a “Plat Principal” (main course) of Poulet aux Porto (chicken breast with mushroom sauce), potato gratin, carrots julienne and croissant;  “Salade” of greens with cucumber and red onion; “Framage” (cheese plate); and dessert of cherry crepes and coffee

Donations are welcome, with all proceeds going to the numerous Manna House ministries, including Helping Hands, a program that provides emergency assistance for people throughout Cloud County and operates a small food pantry.

The “First Mondays at Manna” dinners will continue throughout 2013. February’s meal — on Feb. 4 — will be a festive New Orleans feast celebrating Mardi Gras. The March 4 dinner will be an Italian feast in honor of St. Joseph.

Another special event at Manna later in the year will be an Anniversary Open House on Sunday, April 21, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The red brick building that is today Manna House, at 323 E. Fifth St., was built in 1884 as the first Motherhouse of the newly arrived Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. The building at Fifth and Olive streets served as the convent and a boarding school — but as the number of sisters and students grew, it soon became apparent that a bigger building was needed to house Nazareth Convent and Academy.

So in 1903, the new (and still current) Nazareth Motherhouse opened at the corner of 13th and Washington streets, and the sisters converted their old home into St. Joseph Hospital.

An addition to the hospital was built in 1915, and the significantly bigger facility remained a hospital until 1951, when the sisters built what is now Cloud County Health Center.

The sisters converted the building into a nursing home and it served as St. Anne’s Home for the Aged until 1977, when the residents there were able to move to the new Mount Joseph Village on the west edge of Concordia.

Renovations began immediately and in just four months — in April 1978 — the building was dedicated as Manna House of Prayer.

Its mission, then and today, is to be a place were people of all faiths come for personal and communal prayer, on-going education, quiet time and counseling. Sisters who live there also provide youth ministry, facilitation services, spiritual direction and counseling.

In 2012 it is home to seven Sisters of St. Joseph and has a staff of four laypeople. Throughout the year there are workshops on everything from “seasonal spirituality” and the ancient art of bobbin lacemaking to “meditation and movement” and the meaning and mystery of the rosary.

To learn more about Manna House, its ministries and upcoming events, go to




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