In 1999 the Sisters of St. Mary were asked to include animal husbandry as part of their novitiate program for young women from the Anglican Diocese of Northern Malawi. From 2000 to 2003 the sisters raised dairy goats, producing milk and
cheese. The African sisters currently raise sheep and goats for meat on their 9-acre farm, and chickens for meat and eggs.
In 2003 the American sisters moved from metropolitan New York upstate to a rural, agricultural area and made the decision to continue their micro-farm enterprise in solidarity with their African sisters' farm which raises food for their ministry to local orphans. Our convent in Greenwich, NY, was completed by 2004 and a barn for small ruminants was built in 2005.
In 2004 we were given a start-up herd of
cashmere goats and made the transition
from dairy to fiber production. We keep
a small organic garden for our own food
production, and process vegetables, berries and fruit in the late summer. We
kept bees for a few years, and have raised
for eggs. In 2009 we expanded
include Blue-faced Leicester sheep. St.
Mary's-on-the-Hill products support the
work and ministry of the sisters in
America and central Africa.
The sisters' primary work is prayer with
farm providing labor for hands
hearts. The fiber work draws the community
together in a common enterprise -- part of
our Benedictine ethos. Stewardship of the
land and animal husbandry are seen as
facets of a larger life lived to the glory of