Oldest Benedictine convent in US closing in Pa.

ST. MARYS, Pa. (AP) — The nation's first Benedictine convent is closing after its 17 remaining members unanimously agreed it was time to dissolve the community in Pennsylvania.

The remaining nuns, who range in age from 58 to 91, hope to relocate or transfer vows to other Benedictine communities.

The Bradford Era reports (http://bit.ly/1dvFBf1 ) the Benedictine Sisters of Elk County agreed Monday to close St. Joseph Monastery. The convent was founded in 1852 and is about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Retired Erie Bishop Donald Trautman says the closure was prompted by declining health and number of members, combined with facilities that no longer meet building codes.

The bishop says "it's a sad set of circumstances" that have been developing for years.

The monastery property is owned by St. Vincent's Archabbey near Latrobe.

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Information from: The Bradford Era, http://www.bradfordera.com