St. Meinrad Archabbey

The lovely Robin, and I spent last weekend on a silent prayer retreat at St. Meinrad Archabbey in south-central Indiana (near Evansville). St. Meinrad monastery was founded in 1854 by monks from the thousand-year-old Swiss abbey of Einsiedeln, where St. Meinrad lived and died. Today, it is a thriving community of ninety or so monks which also includes a seminary (more than a hundred seminarians studying for the priesthood), theological school, publishing house (Abbey Press), gift shop, and extensive grounds.
The archabbey church is a beautiful place, with a Christus painted in 1943 by Fr. Gregory de Wit, a monk of Mont C├ęsar Abbey in Belgium, who while visiting the abbey also painted the chapter room.
We arrived on Friday just in time for a tour of the archabbey, conducted by Brother Maurus, the guestmaster (that's him in the photo below). 
One of the most impressive (of many) stops on the tour was the chapter room, where the monks meet for readings, briefings, and monkish-type things. In fifteen or sixteen years of prayer retreats at the other abbey, I've never gotten to see the chapter room (it's off limits to retreatants), so this was a treat.
Brother Maurus pointed out the murals on the ceilings, based on the Canticle of the Three Young Men from the apocryphal book of that name, used in morning prayers (Matins).
In addition also to murals on the walls, the chapter room also featured an impressive entry and exit, flanked by two carved monks (above), one holding a cross and the other a bowl.
The guest house (above) was a separate building from the church and monastic areas, and the private rooms (with private baths) were luxuriosly furnished and appointed compared to what I'm accustomed to. The meals also were a cut above.
All the grounds were beautifully tended and there were so many places to sit and meditate and pray and enjoy.
St. Meinrad's is a beautiful place to retreat, pray, worship, and be. More information is available on their website (yes, monks have websites), www.saintmeinrad.org.


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