Environmental stewardship

Caring for the earth is part of our mission, rooted in Benedictine values of stability and respect for all of creation. The sisters have a long history of environmental stewardship and invite others to help with this work. The monastery grounds consist of more than 130 acres of land, including Lost Lake, the restored prairie and savanna areas, woodlands, buildings, gardens, orchards and nature trails.

The grounds are home to a diverse ecosystem of plants, fish, animals, humans and other creatures living in a harmonious environment. We hope that all who experience Holy Wisdom Monastery’s grounds will grow to respect and nurture this delicate harmony.

Experience the beauty

People are inspired by their experiences here. They discover a spiritual connection with the land. Whether caring for it as an environmental volunteer, walking the trails or relaxing on a bench and reflecting on the beauty around them, there is something wonderful and amazing about being in a natural environment.

Land acknowledgement statement

Holy Wisdom Land Acknowledgement Statement

Holy Wisdom Monastery recognizes that Indigenous Nations have called this place home for several thousand years and that today, 11 tribal Nations live in harmony with the land that is now known as Wisconsin. We acknowledge that Holy Wisdom Monastery occupies the ancestral homeland of the Ho-Chungra, or People of the Sacred Voice, who today are known as members of the Ho-Chunk Nation. This sacred land is filled with centuries-old stories of Indigenous people and we invite you to join us in reflecting on how their stories and traditional ecological knowledge can transform our collective relationship with the land.

One of the ‘greenest’ buildings in the country

Our reverence for creation informed our decision to decommission Benedict House and replace it with a sustainable monastery building. In late March 2010 the U.S. Green Building Council awarded Holy Wisdom Monastery a Platinum rating – the highest level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification available. The monastery earned 63 out of a possible 69 points under LEED-New Construction (NC) version 2.2, making it the highest-rated LEED-NC building in the United States to date!

Eco-friendly building

Solar energy—working toward generating 100% of our energy needs

In 2014 Holy Wisdom Monastery became Madison Gas and Electric’s largest solar customer by adding additional photovoltaic panels that generate 60% of the monastery building’s energy needs. Our goal is to eventually generate 100% of our energy needs.

Solar energy

We rely on your generosity

Over the years we’ve partnered with hundreds of environmental, civic and community groups and worked with thousands of individuals to help preserve the land for all to enjoy.

Our efforts and the commitment of all those who help us preserve, maintain and restore this place go beyond ‘green’ trends. For us, it is a way of life. We strive to use only what we need so that resources can be preserved for others.

The Friends of Wisdom Prairie, dedicated to caring for the earth, started in 2014. Support our environmental efforts so all who come here can experience the beauty of nature. Learn how you can join this group and support our care for the earth efforts.

For more information about caring for the earth at Holy Wisdom Monastery, contact Dr. Amy Alstad at aalstad@holywisdommonastery.org, 608-836-1631, x123.

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Environmental History

Over the past 60 years, the sisters, with the help of volunteers and coworkers, have taken care of the grounds at Holy Wisdom Monastery. LEARN MORE

Environmental Education

The restored prairies, woods and wetlands serve as a living classroom for a variety of local schools and community organizations. Come experience nature.  LEARN MORE

Phenology posts
(monthly nature happenings)

Sylvia Marek, naturalist, writes about her observations of biological events each month.  LEARN MORE

Get involved

Friends of Wisdom Prairie

Friends work to maintain and restore the land. Help create an oak savanna, or plant native prairie, while learning and having fun. Join today!  LEARN MORE

Learn about the nature trails

All are welcome to explore the nature trails at Holy Wisdom Monastery and the North Mendota Wildlife Area, which is adjacent to Holy Wisdom and maintained by the monastery.  LEARN MORE


Volunteer opportunities abound inside and out at Holy Wisdom Monastery. If you would like to invest your time, we will find a way to put your talents to good use.  LEARN MORE