Thursday, May 27, 2010

Photos of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, located in southern Indiana, in the town of Saint Meinrad, in Spenser County. It is about 200 highway miles east of Saint Louis, Missouri, and is about 15 road miles north of the border of Kentucky at the Ohio River.

I took these photos over too brief of a time period, and my technique was sometimes sloppy. I hope to return here soon, so as to take more time, explore more places, and to participate in the monks' excellent liturgies. Many thanks to Cheryl, Tom, and Tina for making this trip possible.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - exterior of church

From the Abbey's website:
Saint Meinrad Archabbey was founded in 1854 by monks from Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland. They came to southern Indiana at the request of a local priest for assistance in addressing the pastoral needs of the growing German-speaking Catholic population and to prepare local men to be priests.

Both of these missions remain part of Saint Meinrad's ministry to the Roman Catholic Church, as Saint Meinrad operates a graduate school of theology and has more than a score of its monks in parish work, chaplaincies, and diocesan assignments.

The Benedictine community at Saint Meinrad consists of about 100 men who dedicate their lives to prayer and work. They gather in community five times a day-for morning prayer, noon prayer, evening prayer, compline and Mass-to pray for the Catholic Church and the world. Guests are welcome to join the monks in prayer in the Archabbey Church.

In addition, the monks spend private time reading spiritual and religious materials. They live by the wisdom and guidance of the Rule of St. Benedict, the sixth-century instructions for community living written by St. Benedict.

Shortly after arriving in Indiana, the Benedictines began offering high school courses to local youths. In 1861, the monks expanded their general courses to include undergraduate courses in philosophy and theology. Through these programs, the monks of Saint Meinrad began their mission, which continues today: preparing men for service in the Church as priests.
Saint Meinard was a Benedictine monk and holy hermit. He was killed by robbers in a.D. 861.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - nave of church

Nave of the church, looking to the west. Seating here is antiphonal; that is, the chairs and choir stalls face each other across the nave.  According to the traditional form of prayer of the Divine Office, each side of the church alternately chants the verses of the Psalms and canticles. The monks chant mainly in English, based on Gregorian modes, along with some Latin: you can freely download or purchase their chant tones here, and view their musical catalog here.

According to the Visitor's Guide:
The Church was constructed during a seven-year period, ending in 1907. Monks and area townspeople built the Church, using sandstone quarried on the Archabbey's property at Monte Cassino and hauled in mule-drawn wagons.  The blocks of stone, some three feet thick, were cut by hand.
 The church was extensively redecorated in 1997.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - altar

The new altar; here shown are scenes from the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, as well as symbols of the Evangelists.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - monk's choir stalls

Monk's choir stalls; these face another set of stalls on the other side of the nave.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Abbot's chair

Archabbot's chair.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - tabernacle

Tabernacle.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - stained glass window of Benedictine Saints, and the Patriarch Joseph with Pharoh

According to the Visitor's Guide:
Most of the Church's stained glass windows were made in Munich, Germany, and installed in 1908. The windows on the north and south walls depict the Beatitudes. The top section of each window represents an event from the life of a Benedictine saint that exemplifies the Beatitude.  A corresponding scene from the Old Testament is depicted in the lower portion.
The lower half of this windows shows the Old Testament Patriarch Joseph with Pharaoh.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - stained glass windows of the deacon-martyrs Saint Lawrence and Saint Stephen

Windows showing the deacon-martyrs Saint Lawrence and Saint Stephen.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - stained glass window of Saint Pope Leo the Great

Saint Leo the Great

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - nave of church 2

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Saint Joseph's Chapel

Under the church is Saint Joseph's Chapel.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Saint Joseph's Chapel, altarpiece

An ornate altarpiece in the chapel.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - door into church

A side-door into the church

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - exterior of church and seminary

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - looking up the exterior of the church

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - courtyard

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - courtyard with roses

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - ceramic tiles, "Mater Divinæ Providentiæ"

Virgin and Child in one of the courtyards.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Saint Bede Hall

Saint Bede Hall.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - statue of Saint Bede the Venerable

Statue of Saint Bede the Venerable (a.D. 673-735). He is know for writing the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, which includes early history of Britain.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Newman Hall

Newman Hall.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - red building

The auxiliary buildings here are often painted red.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - outbuildings

Besides the Graduate School, Saint Meinrad operates businesses, including Abbey Press and Abbey Caskets. According to the Benedictine tradition, monasteries are to be self-sufficeint; the monks live under the principle of ora et labora, or prayer and work.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - cemetery

The monks' cemetery.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Monte Cassino Shrine - exterior

Two things I remember the most when visiting Saint Meinrad's: the monks chanting the Litany of Benedictine Saints and the Salve Regina, and the tiny Monte Cassino Shrine, located about a mile from the Abbey.

From the website:
The small chapel of Monte Cassino is located on a hill near the Archabbey. Surrounded by trees and panoramic views of the Anderson Valley, the shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary is a testament to the age-old tradition of seeking God.

The history of Monte Cassino Shrine tells how a novena to Our Lady of Monte Cassino is credited for saving the village of St. Meinrad from a smallpox epidemic in 1871. The faith that God's people placed in the intercession of Mary more than 130 years ago has not waned. Since the chapel's dedication in 1870, thousands of people have visited the sandstone chapel to offer their prayers and petitions.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Monte Cassino Shrine - interior

How can something be so small and so humble, yet be so rich?

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Monte Cassino Shrine - left wall of nave

The chapel is decorated with Mary's many titles.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Monte Cassino Shrine - ceiling

A view of the ceiling.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Monte Cassino Shrine - altar

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA - Monte Cassino Shrine - sanctuary ceiling

I was deeply touched by this shrine. If only I could linger longer, and not be distracted with the camera.

Jake and Archabbey cookies

Jake, the famous Basset hound, eyes a package of Archabbey cookies.

Click here for a map of the area.

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos of a beautiful place. My husband and I will soon be joining the Benedictine Oblates of St. Meinrad Archabbey, so we really appreciate the pictures you have posted of our new spiritual home.

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  2. I am generally aginst the radical reconfiguring of historic churches, but I must say that the Abbey did a better job of it than most places.

    The Monte Casino Shrine is extraordinarily beautiful.

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  3. I lived at Saint Meinrad for six weeks this past summer and miss it so much! I loved seeing the pictures of the Holy Hill! Thank you for posting!

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  4. I'm a Benedictine oblate of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, and I was glad to visit for a few days this summer. I took Fr. Columba's two-week chant course there in 1998, and the Archabbey became a very holy place for me.

    The Archabbey Church is spectacular. There was a transition time in the 1970s when it was sort of all white inside, with the monks seated on individual chairs on a bare-looking floor (there are interesting photos in some of their historical books). Glad the monks voted to bring back the choir stalls! There used to be some balconies, too. The renovated church works so well with the monastic liturgy: contemporary yet still very rooted in tradition and very dignified.

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