Thursday, June 13, 2024
Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Loving God and neighbor without distinction: A pontifical institute of women religious of the Roman Catholic Church


Manna House of Prayer to celebrate 40th anniversary

Have you ever wanted to take a peek inside that red brick building called Manna House of Prayer in Concordia? Maybe you were born there when it was a hospital. Maybe you had a parent that worked as a nurse there. You might have heard about the many retreats that are held in the building but never had a chance to go. Now is the perfect time to come check it out!

Manna House of Prayer will celebrate its 40th anniversary with an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 26.

“The building will be open for tours,” said Sister Betty Suther, Manna House administrator. “Since it was a former hospital, some people will be interested in seeing rooms where they or their parents were born.”

In addition to tours, the open house will include refreshments, a video showing some of the history of Manna House as well as door prizes.

“We’re going to give away a quilt,” Sister Betty said. “People do not have to buy anything or be present to win, just sign in.”

The quilt is hand-crafted by Sister Betty. Other door prizes include: a gift basket of rhubarb strawberry jam, rhubarb cherry jam, a kitchen towel and crocheted dish cloth; a jelly and jam sampler basket with red raspberry jam, rhubarb cherry jam and chokecherry jelly; a framed bobbin lace piece by Sister Janet Lander; microwavable cozies made by Sister Jean Ann Walton; a tote bag made by Sister Jean Ann; a rose window puzzle from a photo of the Rose Window in the Motherhouse and of course the beautiful handmade quilt by Sister Betty Suther.

The event is free and open to the public.

A step back in history

The red brick building that is today Manna House was built in 1884 as the first Motherhouse of the newly arrived Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. The building first 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 1916, 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.

The Manna House program actually began a few years earlier and 14 miles to the east — in September 1972 in the former St. Ann Convent in Clyde. The program remained there until moving to its current site in April 1978.

The founding sisters at the first Manna House were Sister Viatora Solbach, who died in 2011, and Sisters Pat Lewter and Faye Huelsmann.

The mission of Manna House, 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.

Numerous sisters have served on the staff at Manna House over the years, and have offered a wide range of workshops, seminars and retreats.

In the early 1980s, the sisters at Manna House joined the Sanctuary movement and welcomed a family that had fled war-torn Guatemala.

By the mid 1990s, the sisters had established the Theological Institute at Manna House as a way to continue the long-standing educational tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. This summer’s seminar on July 12-15, focused on “Salvation and the Community of Faith.”

Manna House today

While always respecting the underlying mission of Manna House, the sisters and staff there continue to seek new ways to serve as new needs arise.

The Helping Hands program — funded solely from donations — offers emergency assistance to people who have no other resources. Through its small food bank and emergency financial assistance, Helping Hands was able to serve more than 1,000 people last year.

Sisters at Manna House also respond to spiritual hunger, with a wide array of retreats and workshops as well as one-on-one spiritual direction.

In 2018 it is home to seven Sisters of St. Joseph and numerous international students. Previously it was home to three CSJ Federation novices as they continued their Formation. Throughout the year there are workshops on everything from “seasonal spirituality” and the ancient art of bobbin lacemaking to quilting and leadership retreats.

For information on Manna House and its programs, go to

One thought on “Manna House of Prayer to celebrate 40th anniversary

  • Juana Avila

    This summer I had the opportunity to satay there for the Theological Institute, I was so amaized by the hospitality of the SIsters of St. Joseph as well by their mission.
    Absolutly a you a place for spiritual grow.

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