Assumption Abbey isn’t alone: ​​A new $20 million monastery is in the works, with three other religious sites nearby

0201M New Monastery St Joseph image of structure


Editor’s Note: This article describing Assumption Abbey and the Nazareth Hermitage is the first of three articles describing four religious communities and institutions a few miles north of Douglas County and Ozark County. Two other facilities, St. Joseph’s Monastery and Archangel Christian Orthodox Retreat Center, will be covered in the next issue. Times.

Most Ozarks are probably aware of Assumption Abbey, a monastery famous for its fruitcakes that has been operating a few miles north of Lockbridge in Douglas County since 1950. N Highway including his new $20 million structure currently under construction to house St. Joseph’s Convent.

Two other facilities in the same area are the Nazareth Hermitage and the Holy Archangel Orthodox Christian Retreat Center. All four properties have Ava addresses, but are very close to Ozark County and to the new Bryant-His Creek State Park just off the N highway.

Assumption Abbey

Known locally simply as ‘The Abbey’, Assumption Abbey consists of a main building and several annexes, including a guest house, available to the general public who want a temporary break from everyday life. The Abbey is located on 3,400 acres of land in He in Douglas County, just north of the Ozark County line near Rockbridge, a short distance east of N Highway and He OO Highway. Its website ( describes the abbey as “a community of Cistercian monks”. It began when a Cistercian monk came to the area in 1950 from his Meleray Abbey in New York, Iowa, “to establish a monastic life here.”

Cistercian monks are part of the Benedictine tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.

The monastery’s original land was donated by the late Joseph and Lily Pearson. According to the website, the site borders Bryant Creek and serves as an “oasis of prayer, peace and solitude to praise God.”

In the early days of the monastery, monks made a living by making cement blocks used in the construction industry. But for the past 20-plus years, the friar’s job has been to bake gourmet fruitcakes based on recipes developed by Jean-Pierre Auge, former chef for England’s Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The monk now bakes 125 cakes every day, Monday through Friday, for 11 months of the year.

The $38 cake is sold at the Abbey on weekdays from 8am to 3pm (customers are instructed to ring the bell at the Abbey entrance to summon attendants). Fruit cakes can be ordered by phone (1-888-738-0117) or via the website. They are shipped internationally and are sometimes sold by well-known merchants such as Williams-Sonoma.

In recent years, the number of monks in monasteries has declined as the resident monks have aged. In order to preserve the monastery, it was decided several years ago to invite a congregation of Vietnamese Cistercian monks to make the Assumption Monastery their home. Father Alberic Myssog, the former patriarch of the monastery, Times“In 2019 we gave them the monastery.”

According to Alberic, the monks “spend most of the day in silence”, doing their assigned bakery duties and taking care of and maintaining the facilities. They meet at 3:30 am, 6:30 am, 9:00 am and at 2:00 pm, 5:45 pm and 7:40 pm for communal prayers that observe the Liturgy of the Hours. . In addition, the solitary prayers, contemplations and spiritual readings of each monk.

The Sunday mass at the monastery, held at 9:00 am, is open to the public, as are masses and liturgies on other days.

The monks work with Catholic hermits in the nearby Nazareth Hermitage and nuns building an impressive monastery just southwest of the monastery. Hermitage adjoins the southern boundary of his 3,400 acres of Assumption Abbey.

Nazareth Hermitage

The Nazareth Hermitage, located just off the N Highway and a few miles from Assumption Abbey, was founded in 1976 on 200 acres by three hermits, a monk and two nuns. A nearby monastery donated land for this project.

Hermitage coordinator Joseph Reich said: Times The hermitage has seven individual hermitages (small huts on a hill or on a wooded hillside) surrounding a rustic chapel. The arrangement derives from the ancient term “rolla,” which traditionally describes a hermitage, meaning “a circle of dwellings around a chapel like a laurel wreath,” Brother Joseph said.

“We are a kind of paradox,” he said with a laugh. “We are hermits who live in a community.”

All seven hermitages are now occupied. The current population includes three candidates who have completed a period of observation and evaluation, where they have made their final decision to become hermits – just residents of the Nazareth Hermitage. Hermitage life, much like hermits prayerfully evaluate whether a candidate is a good fit for them. The age of the hermit and candidate ranges from he is 50 to he is 81. Brother Joseph he is 59 years old.

Father Leon Brockmann, one of the founders of the Nazareth Hermitage, was a Cistercian Benedictine monk at a nearby monastery for several years, Brother Joseph said. “Then, with permission, he started living in solitude,” he said.

In those early days, Father Leon was approached by two nuns who were not Benedictine but followed other religious traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. Sisters Mary Devries and Sister Miriam Gehringer told Father Leon that they too wished to live a hermit life. Together they founded the Nazareth Hermitage. All three founders are now dead and buried on the grounds of the hermitage.

The hermits and candidates who now live in the Nazareth Hermitage come from a variety of backgrounds and traditions within the Catholic Church (one of the current candidates is a priest in Miami, Florida), but they are all “Assumptions of Assumption.” We share a common monastic spiritual ideal with our Benedict neighbours: a monastery and a monastery of St. Joseph,” said Brother Joseph.

Most people wishing to join a hermitage must have been “religiously formed” for several years before they can be officially considered hermits. The current hermits of the Nazareth Hermitage come from a variety of regions and backgrounds. Born in Illinois and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Brother Joseph became familiar with the area when his parents retired to his home in Mountain, Arkansas. He entered his Assumption Abbey in 1987 as a monk, where he spent several years before leaving to seek other work and missionary work, including working with the developmentally disabled.

Brother Joseph, who had “baked 200,000 to 300,000 fruitcakes” at the convent, was called back to the convent in 2004. Although he resumed his work at the bakery, he began helping out at a nearby hermitage, now living as a hermit and also serving as the hermitage’s coordinator.

The Nazareth Hermitage has seven separate cabins and a chapel, as well as a laundry, kitchen, pantry, infirmary, dining room building, garage, and an incense building. Hermits meet several days a year to mix incense and sell it to churches for use in religious services. On the Hermitage website (, blended incense is described as “our little industry”.

Most often, hermits work, pray, and ponder religious scriptures and precepts alone in their cabins or while spending time on the hermitage grounds or walking in the surrounding woods. They gather in the chapel for daily Mass and a weekly communal meal. According to the website, they can also “gather to share their faith in a common place”.

Brother Joseph said that the Hermitage gives and receives to the surrounding community. “We have a large garden that is growing more than we need, so we end up giving away part of it,” he said. [Ava] Place it in your clinic or food pantry there and give it away. ”

Similarly, hermits appreciate the occasional in-kind gift from local residents or neighbors. They were on a vegetarian diet, but “the guidelines have changed,” Brother Joseph said. Some hermits also contain meat, usually chicken, Brother Joseph said. He added that some hermits, including myself, would also accept gifts of venison if local residents offered it.

To learn more about Nazareth Hermitage, or to provide support, please visit the website or contact Brother Joseph at

In next week’s Times: The new St. Joseph Abbey, currently under construction north of Rockbridge, is large enough to house 48 nuns.


Source link

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

    128502526 pu

    Ukraine war: 80 years on, we are facing German tanks again – Putin

    128500181 a6aa92846220f56e0f8657b863617c8a9c81fa6c

    Eurovision: Liverpool stage inspired by a wide hug, BBC says