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Order Of Nuns To Leave Tucson

An order of nuns that has been in Tucson for more than 80 years has decided to close their monastery and leave the state. The order isn’t lacking money, but members.

There are16 Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Tucson, including  Sister Joan Ridley, the monastery’s local superior.

“You know, I’m only in my late 60s, so I’m one of the younger ones, you might say,” she said, with a chuckle.

She said her order, like many, is aging and dwindling in number. That’s why the congregational leadership has chosen to close the monastery within two years, and move many – if not all – its nuns to Clyde, Missouri, where the rest of the order is based. 

For generations, they’ve been providing people in Tucson a place of peace and prayer, “whether it’s private prayer or prayer with us in our communal services,” Ridley said, “They find it means a lot to them. So we don’t want to have to shut that down and leave. We sure don’t want to.”

But she said they’ve decided it’s what’s best for the order.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.