The Latin Mass Tourist

The Latin Mass Tourist

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Winter at Saint Benedict Abbey 

by Roseanne T. Sullivan

St. Benedict Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Still River, a picturesque village in the town of Harvard, Massachusetts. The serenity of the abbey and its surroundings makes the name ‘Still River' seem perfectly apt. The abbey overlooks a lovely vista with the Nashua River valley below and with wooded hills rolling out behind the valley to Mount Wachusett in the distance.  

The Abbey traces its roots to a Catholic student center of men and women started in 1940 in Harvard Square, Cambridge, by a laywomen, Catherine Goddard Clarke, and two laymen, Christopher Huntington and Avery Dulles (later, Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J.). 

Today, the seven priests and five brothers at Saint Benedict Abbey continue the mission of their founders by living a monastic life of prayer and work not only for their own sanctification and salvation, but for the sanctification and salvation of others.

Reverent Worship in Both Forms of the Mass

The Benedictines' vision is to unite all men to Christ in His Church, bring about the triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart and flourish as a Benedictine Community.  They are committed to reverent worship in the Novus Ordo of Mass and Divine Office — all of which are open to the public.  Each day, Mass is celebrated in English (7 AM), and in Latin with Gregorian Chant (Mon. – Sat. 8 AM; Sun. 11 AM).  Divine Office (Vigils, Lauds, Sext, and Vespers) is daily chanted in Latin; Compline is in English Mon. – Sat., and in Latin on Sunday. 

The monks also recite the Rosary together each day.  Several of the priests from the Abbey also offer Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Sundays at the convent next door.

True Christian Hospitality

The second way in which the monks bring their vision to reality is by their apostolate of Christian Hospitality.  Hosting individuals, families and retreat groups throughout the year, the monks seek to serve Christ in the many guests who visit from all over the country.  The guest facilities can accommodate as many as 85 overnight guests and up to 250 people for meals all of which are prepared by the monks.  Their apostolate also includes assisting many who come to the Abbey desiring the Sacrament of Reconciliation or seeking to join the Catholic Church. 

Their apostolate also includes assisting many who come to the Abbey desiring the Sacrament of Reconciliation or seeking to join the Catholic Church. 

On the Abbey website, guests are directed to contact the guest-master to arrange a visit to the Abbey (abbeyretreats@aol.com) or phone: 978-456-3221.  

 Whether you are thinking of taking some time ‘to get away’ for yourself, your family or friends, or are pondering a vocation to monastic life, the Abbey is a place where you can find God.  The natural beauty of the Abbey’s seventy-five acres makes it easy to lift up one’s heart and mind to God.

The words of the English Catholic poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., come to mind when viewing a sunset from the Abbey: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”

The words of the English Catholic poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., come to mind when viewing a sunset from the Abbey: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”

Benedictine Vocations Welcome
Finally, the monks bring their vision to reality by being faithful to their vocation. As they articulate in their Mission Statement: “Relying on Jesus in the Eucharist, Slavery to Our Lady, and fraternal charity, we seek to become holy by a life of prayer and work.”  As one monk put it, “We recognize that without genuine striving for holiness, the Abbey would be little more than a museum with a beautiful view, and a few odd characters to point out the artifacts. But, with genuine striving for holiness and the passion to become the saints whom God calls us to be, the Abbey is not only a place to visit, but God’s own home – and yours as well.”

Young men inquiring about monastic life are directed to contact the Vocation Director, (abbeyvocation@aol.com or cell: 978-877-3694). 

 

Saint Benedict Abbey

252 Still River Road, P. O. Box 67

Still River, Massachusetts 01467

Tel: 978-456-3221

Fax: 978-456-8181

Website: http://www.abbey.org

PHOTO CREDITS

St. Benedict Abbey Winter Snow, 252 Still River Road: Mark C. Buell

Winter Dawn at Still River: Mark C. Buell

St. Benedict Abbey at Christmas, photo courtesy of the Monks of the Abbey

All other photo credits: Roseanne T. Sullivan

 

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