Sister Lorane Coffin of St. Martin Monastery comes to The Garage to kickoff the 2016 Morning Fill Up Series. In a conversation with Matt Ehlman of The Numad Group, Sr. Lorane will talk about Rapid City’s history and growth through her eyes, and discuss where she sees opportunities for community and collaboration today.
St. Martin Monastery is a community of Benedictine women who live together in communal life, prayer, and work. But what many may not know is the Sisters of the St. Martin Monastery are responsible for much of what Rapid City has become today, leaving an indelible mark on our educational and hospital systems.
Sr. Lorane, along with her Benedictine Sisters, has quietly worked to transform Rapid City and the surrounding Black Hills region her entire life. She was born at the height of the Great Depression in Mobridge, South Dakota, the ninth in a family of four girls and eight boys. At the age of 16, she joined the St. Martin’s Convent in Sturgis, which moved to Rapid City in 1963. The monastery was first founded in 1889, and within 10 days of their arrival the sisters began a summer school. This was the beginning of St. Martin's Academy, which by 1916 had developed into a four-year high school that continued in operation until 1991. During this time, the sisters also staffed may parochial schools in the Diocese of Rapid City, as well as schools in Laguna Beach, California, and Casper and Riverton, Wyoming.
A typhoid epidemic prompted the community to open St. Joseph’s Hospital in Deadwood in 1898. They later established hospitals and schools of nursing in Hot Springs and Rapid City, South Dakota (including what is today Rapid City Regional). Under Sr. Lorane’s leadership, the Sisters also negotiated land deals with the Diocese of Rapid City and the Rapid City Catholic School System, and 200 acres to the Lutheran Good Samaritan Society.