St. Joseph's Abbey (Spencer, Massachusetts)

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St. Joseph's Abbey

St. Joseph's Abbey
Monastery information
OrderTrappist
Established1950
People
Important associated figuresFr. William Meninger
Fr. M. Basil Pennington
Fr. Thomas Keating
Fr. Augustine Roberts
Fr. Raphael Simon
William James
Site
LocationSpencer, Massachusetts, US
Public accessYes
Other informationProduces and markets Trappist Preserves
 
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St. Joseph's Abbey

St. Joseph's Abbey
Monastery information
OrderTrappist
Established1950
People
Important associated figuresFr. William Meninger
Fr. M. Basil Pennington
Fr. Thomas Keating
Fr. Augustine Roberts
Fr. Raphael Simon
William James
Site
LocationSpencer, Massachusetts, US
Public accessYes
Other informationProduces and markets Trappist Preserves

St. Joseph's Abbey is a monastery of the Catholic Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), popularly known as the "Trappists", located in Spencer, Massachusetts. It is known for its production and marketing of Trappist Preserves, a line of jams and jellies, which partially supports the abbey.

While the monastery became known internationally as the origin of the centering-prayer movement in Catholicism and Christianity in the 1970s—and the movement's leading proponents, Fr. William Meninger, Fr. M. Basil Pennington, and Fr. Thomas Keating, were monks at the monastery, the community still lives from the daily Lectio and deep roots of the monastic life going back to the desert fathers. The abbey community lives a contemplative life, following the Rule of Saint Benedict. Weekend and week-long retreats for lay men and women and clergy are available during the year. Retreatants and visitors are welcome to pray the Psalms with the community throughout the day, - Vigils, Lauds & Mass, None, Vespers, and Compline in the two side chapels in the front of the church.

The grounds of the Abbey are open to the public except for the areas marked "Monastic Enclosure".[1]

Contents

History

St. Joseph’s Abbey was settled in 1950 on the former site of Alta Cresta Farms, under the extraordinary vision and leadership of Dom Edmund Futterer. The Trappists that settled the abbey moved there from their previous location in Cumberland Rhode Island.[2]

Father Thomas Keating was elected abbot of the abbey in 1961. Keating, one of the architects of the contemplative prayer movement, retired in 1981.[3] Along with Meninger and Pennington, Keating founded the centering prayer movement in the 1970s while abbot of St. Joseph's.[4] The three held retreats at the abbey to teach this method of prayer.[4]

After the short term of Dom Pascal Skutecky, due to poor health, Dom Augustine Roberts became the fourth Abbot in June 1984 and served two six-year yerms. His autobiography is "Finding The Treasure: Letters From A Global Monk". The current Abbot, Damian Carr, was elected in June 1996.

Trappist Preserves

In 1954, shortly after their arrival in Spencer, a small, stove-top batch of mint jelly was made by one of the monks with mint from their herb garden.[5] Since monastic austerity at that time precluded the jelly from being served to the monks at meals, it was sold at the porters' lodge. The response to the jelly encouraged the monks to try making and selling other varieties. Soon, jelly-making proved to be a successful and compatible monastic industry, contributing about half of the income needed to run the abbey.[5] The jams and jellies made by the monks are sold under the brand name Trappist Preserves, and are now available in supermarkets in the United States, particularly in the New England region.[2] In 2005, the monks produced 1.7 million jars of preserves in 26 flavors, turning one and a half tons of fruit into preserves daily.[5] Brother William James perfected the recipes and, as of 2005, had cooked every batch of jam made at the abbey in the past 40 years.[5]

The monks at the abbey also make liturgical vestments, and run a farm.[6]

See also

References

  1. ^ Ellery, J. P. (2009-04-02). "Tranquility, beauty of abbey offer respite from life's rigors". Telegram and Gazette (Worcester, MA): p. 3.
  2. ^ a b Byrne, Kerry J. (2007-07-11). "Fast food". Boston Herald (Boston): p. 30.
  3. ^ Fox, Thomas C. (2007-12-14). "Keating moved the movement". National Catholic Reporter (44.7): 19.
  4. ^ a b Berger, Rose Marie (December 2006). "Be Still & Know: Thomas Keating talks about how the ancient church tradition of contemplation can transform Christians today". Sojourners Magazine 35 (11): 34.
  5. ^ a b c d Giuca, Linda (2005-12-21). "A Vow of Quality: Massachusetts monks use best ingredients in well-known Trappist Preserves". Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME): p. C1. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=OQA9AAAAIBAJ&sjid=di4MAAAAIBAJ&pg=2195%2C1324175. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  6. ^ Russell, Gerard F. (2008-12-23). "Nonprofits to receive grants for power study; Abbey, health facility consider wind turbines". Telegram and Gazette (Worcester, MA): p. B1.

Further reading

External links

42°17′51.59″N 72°0′52.11″W / 42.2976639°N 72.014475°W / 42.2976639; -72.014475