Church of the Week: St. Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN

 My wife, the lovely Robin, and I spent this past weekend on a silent prayer retreat at St. Meinrad Archabbey in south-central Indiana (near Evansville). St. Meinrad monastery was founded in 1854 by monks from the thousand-year-old Swiss abbey of Einsiedeln, where St. Meinrad lived and died. Today, it is a thriving community of ninety or so monks which also includes a seminary (more than a hundred seminarians studying for the priesthood), theological school, publishing house (Abbey Press), gift shop, and extensive grounds.
The archabbey church is a beautiful place, with a Christus painted in 1943 by Fr. Gregory de Wit, a monk of Mont César Abbey in Belgium, who while visiting the abbey also painted the chapter room.
Accustomed as I am to prayer retreats at another famous monastery (see here), it took some getting used to (and getting over myself) to sing the songs and chants (and the updated Gloria) that are used at St. Meinrad's (see here for information about the extensive liturgical music program there).
The many works of art in and around the archabbey church include this triptych (above) depicting the life of St. Meinrad, a ninth-century monk, priest, hermit, and saint.

St. Meinrad's is a beautiful place to retreat, pray, worship, and be. More information is available on their website (yes, monks have websites),

1 comment:

  1. Walk Through A Darkened Church

    Draw near your beds,
    The time has come,
    Sleep the sleep that makes us one
    Come and rest your weary heads

    As Nathaniel did at Justin's hand
    Draped in the robe of poverty,
    Where he would there the poorest be
    Before he did that hill descend

    To bathe within the placid deep
    On the Eve of the New Year
    To finally weep his lasty tear
    So he could sleep that peaceful sleep

    Yet speak ye not of peace to him
    Meinrad was never such a place
    And though it is the place he lays
    He cannot rest; the bells still din

    As you your hours still do pray
    To make hypocrisy complete
    Forgetting to watch for Rich and Pete
    Returning with their wooden stakes

    Or hear a voice cry from the soil
    Of pious riches; of sacrifice
    Paid out to silence victims twice
    The secret price of wicked toil

    And so his tomb hides your misdeeds
    Covers up your sin, not his
    For you're the one brought him to this
    And speaks of your false charity

    And so a curse does follow sin
    A curse that issues from the past
    A scourge to bring you to your last
    For all that you have done to him

    For just below that darkened church
    There he lies beneath black towers
    The victim of unholy powers
    Lying there within the earth

    Dig up his heart! Turn it to ashes!
    The donor's soul is black as night,
    See what's hidden from the light,
    'Twas made dark by their blacken masses

    Mix it with water! Drink it down!
    This will be your last defense
    When they come for recompense
    From you black hoods above the town

    Where Rich and Pete will find you there
    In your sacred mausoleum
    In your grandiose museum
    And fall upon you unaware

    While chanting your familiar chants
    Before Meinrad your burnished saint
    On Stars of David to meet your fate
    Faced by these two strong revenants

    Two sons come home to find their rest
    With those who made them face the flames
    With those who cursed their very names
    And then their graves did dare to bless

    Think not of life for you are dead
    Exchange your habit for mort cloth
    A candle circled by a moth
    Will be placed at your foot and head

    And they will carve your epitaph
    Inscribe them with your evil deeds
    The truth that you did fail to heed
    While candles dwindle fading black