When the Sisters of St Martin Monastery moved their community from Sturgis, South Dakota to the 600 acres in this valley, they moved into a 150,000 plus square foot building, which provided space for a magnificent chapel, dormitories, classrooms, offices and living space for the Sisters.
The school closed in 1991 and the Sisters found other uses for their facility. They ran a daycare for area children. They leased spaces to various mental health care groups and converted classrooms to apartments for a senior living community. They continued to offer retreats and spaces for groups to hold events.
In 2007, the Sisters sold the complex and 200 acres to the Diocese of Rapid City and the Rapid City Catholic School System. They also sold 200 acres to the Good Samaritan Society for a planned senior community. The Sisters moved to their new smaller monastery in August of 2009, which is located just south of the retreat center.
The Diocese of Rapid City and the Rapid City Catholic School System partnered with people from across the region to afford the purchase and subsequent renovations that were necessary to have not only this retreat center, but also the elementary school, St Elizabeth Seton, become a part of the Terra Sancta campus. The purchase would not have been possible without the generosity of the Sisters. The selling price for the property was very much below market value.
The We Walk by Faith appeal generated millions of dollars that have gone toward the renovations of the facility. More than 3,000 people gave generously to make this retreat center and elementary school possible. While the Terra Sancta Guild pledge payments fund the renovation expenses, the retreat center operating budget is funded by you – our guests, and others who donate to make it possible to keep the doors on this wonderful facility open.
Terra Sancta is Latin for Holy Ground . . . the Black Hills have long been sacred to Native Americans. The daily prayers and good works of the Benedictine Sisters of St Martin Monastery blessed this place for more than 50 years. Through the grace of our Lord, the continuing ministry of the Diocese of Rapid City and the Rapid City Catholic School System will ensure Terra Sancta remains a place for all of God’s people to come away and rest in Him.