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Abbaye Saint-Benoit – Saint-Benoit-du-Lac, Québec
Earlier this summer while on a mini-vacation road trip in Québec’s Eastern Townships we visited the Benedictine Abbey at Saint-Benoit-du-Lac.
The monastery was established in 1912 by a group of exiled monks from the Fontanelle Abbey of St. Wandrille France. The current structure was built in 1934/35 and is situated on a multi-acre site overlooking the western shores of Lake Memphremagog, not far from the U.S. border, about a ninety minute drive southeast of Montréal.
The abbey is home to roughly thirty monks in full-time residence who live a monastic life that is devoted to prayer, hard work, and service to the community, all while maintaining a vow of silence.
The Abbey is open to the public seven days a week for prayer and also offers guided tours for curious visitors. Needless to say, it’s pretty quiet in there 😀
In fact for those who are looking to get away from it all for a few days of peace and quiet, or if you’re interested in experiencing monastic living, the abbey does accept a limited number of overnight guests. Dorm rooms can be reserved for short stays for a suggested donation of only $60.00 per night which includes three meals per day.
To finance the abbey’s operations there is a gift shop on-site that sells artisanal cheeses, jams, honey, and other products made by the monks from produce grown on the complex and in their nearby orchards.
As we stroll around admiring the doors you’ll notice one of the main features of the abbey is the multi-colored patterned tile and brickwork, that is repeated throughout the building.
Whether you’re religious or not, walking through a place like this slows you down, quiets and clears the mind, and offers you the opportunity for somber reflection.
This hallway leads to the main chapel where the monks perform their prayers multiple times per day, in the form of Gregorian Chant. The hallway is lined with display signs that describe the history of the benedictine ‘movement’ and how these monks ended up in rural Québec.
Photography in the chapel is not permitted when the monks are in prayer. So though I have no photos of the chapel for you, the good news is that it meant we were there while the monks were chanting.
How was it?
Wow…just wow 🙂
After touring the main building we decided to walk around the grounds for a bit and I’m glad we did.
Up a small hill on the other side of the parking lot we discovered this tiny secondary chapel hidden among the trees.
It was so dark that none of my interior shots came out, but hey, it sure has a pretty door don’t you think?
Located at 1 rue Principale in Saint-Benoit-du-Lac, Québec, the Abbey and its gift shop are open seven days a week, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm from May through October, and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from November through April.
Hope you enjoyed the peaceful tour 🙂
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