Nuns with guns and timeless treasures; St. Scholastica auction begins Thursday


A collection of religious items and antiques will be up for auction at St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith from Thursday through Saturday, May 16 to 18.

Items for sale include a Springfield Trapdoor rifle, dated to 1883, a black powder pistol, antique furniture from the 1800s, commercial kitchen equipment, a wide array of religious items, more than one hundred pews, and artwork by the local sisters. 

Money raised will support the monastery’s Forward in Faith capital campaign fund to aid the construction of a “smaller, more sustainable” building for the present and future nuns. The Sisters of Benedictine moved out of their 90-year-old, six-story building, citing rising maintenance costs. There are currently 33 nuns in the St. Scholastica monastic community, and church leadership says the building was simply too big for their needs.

“The new building has all we need. we have 26 bedrooms and storage and kitchen, dining room, chapel,” said Maria Goretti Deangeli, Prioress of St. Scholastica.

The Sisters of Benedictine relocated to Shoal Creek, Arkansas from Indiana in the late 1800s, when the Little Rock/Fort Smith branch of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company offered the group a 100-acre land grant in an effort to attract settlers along the railroad. 

In 1924, the sisters moved to a remote area of Fort Smith, and the city has since grown around them.

Border Town Auctions, from Fort Smith, is handling the St. Scholastica Monastery auction. 

“There’s a lot of a curiosity factor towards this auction. There’s people that have driven up and down Rogers Avenue for years wondering what’s inside that building what does it look like well now we’re opening it up to the public and they’ll have their opportunity,” Dennis Huggins the owner of Border Town Auctions said.

The auction will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 16-18 at 1301 S. Albert Pike in Fort Smith. 

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