There are two Trappist monasteries at Rogersville, one of monks and one of nuns. Trappists belong to the larger Cistercian family.
At the end of the 19th century, anti-clerical legislation forced religious congregations to leave France. At that precise moment of history, the founding pastor of Rogersville, Fr. Marcel-François Richard, was dreaming of bringing farming monks into his parish so as to encourage his settlers to stay put and not be lured by promises of a better future on the other side of the United States border. He was put in touch with Dom Emile Lorne, Superior of the Abbey of Bonnecombe, in France, which was looking for a place of refuge, since the community was threatened with expulsion. Fr. Richard presented his request and promised to provide the land for a foundation.
So it was that, on 1 November 1902, (in the small hours of the morning) an embryonic community took possession of a small cabin, in Rogersville, and began, without more ado, the Office of the Day’s Feast, All Saints. Since that day the monks of Our Lady of Calvary have continued the daily celebration of the praise of God.
In 1912 a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, erected by Msgr. Richard on the grounds of the church as inaugurated.
Cistercian monasteries are above all places dedicated to prayer. Not that the prayer is any better quality than anywhere else, but the lifestyle of the monks and nuns is entirely orientated towards the search for God and union with him in continuous prayer.
In a world given over to the frenetic pursuit of diversions and distractions, evasions and pretension, the Cistercian monastery tries to be an oasis of truth. Here, the soul longing to live learns, patiently through a whole lifetime, the secret way of the heart. The monks try to follow a trusty guide in the Rule of Saint Benedict.
Written in the sixth century, the Rule has shaped generations of God-seekers on all the continents and in the face of many historical circumstances.
A welcome extended to short-term guests is a carefully preserved tradition in monasteries living according to the Rule of Saint Benedict. Although the monk has withdrawn from the world, it is not for the sake of any selfish enjoyment of the riches of the monastic life: he is happy to share them with anybody who is seeking God in solitude and silence. Every Cistercian monastery ought to have a guesthouse. The extent of the facilities offered will be in proportion to the capabilities of the personnel available. Retreatants of any race, language or religion are welcome.
Our Lady of Calvary has a guesthouse, which can accommodate 12 guests, but not more than four women at a time. They also have two suites suitable for married couples. They can also accommodate one handicapped person, male or female at a time, provided he or she is independent or accompanied by a carer.
Guests are expected to stay at the monastery in order to participate in the prayer-life of the monks. Therefore they are encouraged to assist at the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and especially the Mass in the monastery chapel. Books are provided for their use. They are free to use the community chapel for their private prayer and a chapel is available also in the guest house.
Since that day the monks of Our Lady of Calvary have continued the daily celebration of the praise of God.
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