Received as Christ: Photos from a Benedictine monastery

June 27, 2010 | 13 comments

I knew a little bit about the Order of St. Benedict before my husband and I arrived in Mt. Angel for our vacation this weekend. (If you’re not familiar with them, I highly recommend this brief explanation of the Order at Vivificat; I think it’s the most clear, concise summary of the Benedictines I’ve ever seen.) I knew the Order was about 1, 500 years old. I knew that one of their vows was stability, and that they were big on learning and culture.

One thing that I’d forgotten until we arrived was that they’re known for their hospitality. In the Rule of St. Benedict there’s an entire section on how to best welcome guests, pilgrims and the poor, and St. Benedict writes, “All guests who present themselves are to be received as Christ, for he himself will say: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Mt 25:35).'”

In our time here in Mt. Angel, we have truly felt welcomed as one would welcome Christ himself. Rather than write about it, I thought I’d share some pictures. (They’re from two places: we first stayed at Queen of Angels Monastery of the Benedictine Sisters, then moved over to Mt. Angel Abbey, our main destination.)

The retreat house lobby of Mt. Angel Abbey

A container of ice-cold, fresh water outside the guest rooms at Queen of Angels

A note letting visitors to Queen of Angels know that they have been prayed for,
and encouraging them to pray for the next guests

Hanging out with my cousin, Br. Claude, in the coffee lounge at Mt. Angel Abbey
while some delicious lattes and Italian cream sodas were whipped up

Complementary prayer journal at Queen of Angels

One of the gorgeous guest lounges at Mt. Angel Abbey, each stocked with fresh tea and coffee — they even have containers of melted chocolate to add to your drinks!

Elegant placesettings for the meals at Mt. Angel Abbey, all eaten with other guests and hosted by the gregarious Retreat Master, Fr. Pius

Handwritten notes of welcome at Queen of Angels

Homemade pies at Queen of Angels (with equally delicious desserts at Mt. Angel Abbey)

A note on the back of a sign at Queen of Angels

One of the many reasons I will leave this place refreshed is simply that it’s been such a wonderful experience to feel so welcomed and well taken care of. Truly, I feel like I have been “received as Christ.”


  1. Claire

    I'm so happy I found your blog from a Catholic link in Facebook. I just started a Catholic blog the other day. My intention is to explain our faith biblically and with the catechism. I haven't posted much of anything yet. In fact I'm still figuring out the layout, etc. I might be borrowing some of your links for my blog. ;o) I will be linking your blog to mine at the very least. God Bless!

  2. Claire

    I have to add that you will not find my Catholic blog from my posts. This leads to my "lack of sewing" blog. ;o) I used WordPress for the new blog. It's not as user friendly as Blogger.

  3. Jessica Gavin

    I too love your blog! I have been studying many different Christian denominations and have been wondering about the Catholic sect. I'm learning so much. Thank you.

  4. Esther

    Beautiful. I actually felt more calm in my soul just by looking at your photos and thinking of such a place of welcome. What a special gift you have been given.

  5. Liesl

    It looks like a wonderful place and the pictures are great… especially the one of the dessert!!!

  6. Robin

    When I started "redecorating" my blog last week, your visit inspired me to use a Mount Angel Abbey photo for the header, at least for the time being. I am very jealous of your visit, as they were full when I wanted to spend a couple of nights there last year.

    If you're interested, Joan Chittister's Wisdom Distilled from the Daily is a terrific introduction to Benedictine spirituality.

  7. Jamie

    What a beautiful, informative, and uplifting post, not to mention educational!

  8. Gina

    What a lovely place! I'm so glad you got to go.

  9. mrsdarwin

    I love the Benedictine spirituality — I remember reading the rule of St. Benedict in college and being surprised that it wasn't all harshness and restrictions. If I'm ever in Oregon I want to visit Mt. Angel. One day…

  10. Tina Fisher

    I've been lurking and doing 7 QT's on Fridays. I so love your blog! A new treasure I must share.

    I love the verse you posted. I can see it in my entry way etched on tile. ­čśë

    Can't wait to hear more about your trip.

  11. Te├│filo de Jes├║s

    Glory be to Jesus Christ!

    Thank you for the link to Vivificat! I'm getting many referrals, many hits from here.


  12. GrandmaK

    This is just the way I feel when I go to St. Meinrad Archabbey. And having just returned for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods I can tell you it is so hard to come home! There is a lot to be said for STRUCTURE in everything, especially prayer life. Thank you for this lovely post.

  13. Robyn B. @Leave the Lights On

    So, Claire, are you going to *give* us the link? I love apologetics.

    Very different from how I picture monasteries! I think I tend to picture Franciscan-style monasteries, not Benedictine. I love the diversity of the Church.


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