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Saint Joseph's Abbey, Spencer

Must see · Religious Site · Tourist Spot
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. On December 10, 2013 the abbey was certified by the International Trappist Association to become the first Trappist brewery in the United States and the first outside Europe.
While the monastery became known internationally as the origin of the centering-prayer movement in Catholicism and Christianity in the 1970s (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 directed retreats for men, women, and clergy are available during the year. Normally, retreats are made six months in advance, or on a stand-by basis if there is a cancellation. Visitors are welcome to pray the Psalms with the community throughout the day, - Vigils, Lauds and Mass, None, Vespers, and Compline in the two side chapels in the front of the church.
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Saint Joseph's Abbey reviews

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65 reviews
  • When I went into the chapel the first time I was 27 years old and I was feeling desolate, but when I looked up at the crucifix hanging suspended over the altar I knew that Jesus was with with me...  more »
  • The surrounding scenery made this place so beautiful. It’s a very peaceful place to sit and pray or meditate. When walking inside the chapel, it takes your breath away! One can truly feel the...  more »
  • Looking forward to taking a weekend retreat next spring or summer. Beautiful views & very peaceful. Great place to recharge your batteries. Amazing structure, built by the monks themselves.  more »
  • Very serene and beautifully landscaped area. Great place for a walk and some peace and quiet. The gift shop also has some great preserves, honey, and other goodies! If you have a chance to purchase some of their beer locally (we could not buy any on the premises, but bought some from a store down the road), I highly encourage that as well! I believe they are still the only Certified Authentic Trappist beer brewed in the US (Trappist beers are some of my favorites and so I try to buy and support the real thing whenever I can), which is an interesting feather in their cap as well.
  • Quiet, peaceful. Listening to the monks chant is heavenly! Mary House is great for private accommodations.
  • Beautiful place to sit and find peace and tranquility.
  • It is a beautiful place and the Monks are great! Great place to work as welll!
  • Beautiful people, beautiful place. Spirituality healing..... .no matter your beliefs...

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