Monasteries, Abbeys, etc. that you have visited
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I thought perhaps we could use a thread for locations that we've actually visited.
Last month we visited Melk Abbey outside Vienna. I was impressed that they had embraced the modern. So often these places seem stuck in the 15th century or earlier. All of the old was still there too, but they had interwoven modern art, lighting and technology. They were really making an effort to be relevant to today. They've got a very good web site. My only regret was that I couldn't take pictures in the library. http://www.stiftmelk.at/ You can choose English, French or Italian for the site if you don't read German.
I chronicled both of my visits to the Abbey of Saint Hildegard in Eibingen, Germany (across the river from Bingen) on my blog:
My first, briefer visit in 2006 (from a post from 2012): http://nathaniel-campbell.blogspot.com/2012/02/in-die-cinerum-ash-wednesday.html
My later, longer visit in 2008: http://nathaniel-campbell.blogspot.com/2008/05/abbey-of-st-hildegard.html
The Benedictine monastery at New Norcia in Western Australia is astonishing (http://www.newnorcia.wa.edu.au/) partly because a Spanish monastery town looks out of place in secular Australia, and partly because of its art treasures, library and history museum. As part of a commitment to science and education, the monastery also leases land to the European Space Authority Deep Space Antenna (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/New_Norcia_-_DSA_1) - oh, and there's a community of devout monks at the heart of it.
As an Anglican, I have been made most welcome, and I have made several retreats there.
Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago for an urban monastery:
The nights I stayed there the Rolling Stones were performing a concert in Chicago a few miles away, so along with Vespers I was serenaded by Mick.
I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere.
A year ago I was at Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin in Scotland. It's a Benedictine house in marvellous countryside "out in the sticks". I was able to attend one of the short services and had time for quiet contemplation in the monks' small graveyard. And numerous pheasants about for a photo opportunity.
I've lost track of all the monasteries I've stayed at over the years. Worth Abbey in the south of England and Osage Monastery in Oklahoma, USA, both Benedictine (the former male and the latter female), are two that stick in my mind, as is Taize in France, of course.
This was a wonderful post, and I hope it can encourage many readers to pilgrimage to a nearby monastery, and to realize the truth of someone's statement that the closest we can come on earth to heaven is the chapel of a monastery.
My wife and I have been received with incredible hospitality and holiness at many monasteries, even before my Catholic conversion. My computer screensaver has an image of St Benedict's Monte Cassino, which was an unforgettable visit, and each time I open the computer I try to record something new about the history of the almost uncountable monks who passed through Monte Cassino during their lives.
It's a wonderfully enjoyable project I strongly recommend.
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