What is a monastery?

The typical dictionary definition of a monastery is “a place where monks/nuns live a life dedicated to God and is a term that refers to the buildings rather than the community.”

This hardly captures the lived reality of committing oneself to seek God within the Benedictine tradition, the ultimate journey of a lifetime, a center of spirituality, a gathering place for God-seekers, a “home-ing” place for the restlessness of the human heart, an experience of peace (the fruit of monks/nuns working to enable the peace of Christ to form their own hearts), a place of welcome and respite, “holy-day” inns, a spiritual oasis and however else God chooses to touch someone’s heart.

St. Benedict describes the monastery as a school of the Lord’s service (Prologue 45) and as a workshop where we exercise the tools of good works (Rule, Chapter 4).

What is monasticism?

The desire to give oneself totally to God finds its expression in the great religious traditions of the world.  Monastics usually band together in community living according to common ideals and guidelines about how to better deepen their relationship with God with the support of other like-minded, like-hearted individuals.

Who are the Benedictines?

Having lived as a hermit and in small monasteries, St. Benedict (480-547) then reflected on the lives of the early fathers of the desert, early monastic writings before writing the wisdom document now known as the Rule of St. Benedict.  This is a way of making the Gospel concrete for a particular group of people.  This document has guided and freed and formed the hungers of the human heart toward Christ for over 1500 years.

What is a Benedictine nun?

Having been called by God, we are women who have dedicated our lives to Him by vows for life, pray the full Divine Office, live in community and whose ministry in our monastic life of ora et labora (prayer and work) centered within the monastery.

What is your work? What do you do there?

Our “work” is our monastic life lived in community.  Benedict refers to the Liturgy of the Hours that we pray six times a day also as the work of God - in addition to the daily celebration of the Eucharist.  Around this framework is fitted the various tasks necessary for caring for each other, guests and the monastery environment. 

Ora et labora – pray and work.  Ora is the love of God expressed in the time spent with Him in prayer.  Labora expresses the love of God and the love of neighbor in all the tasks involved in the monastery.

Who is welcome to visit the monastery?

We cordially invite you and all others who seek God, to visit our monastery.

What will I find at St. Emma's?

Cor Jesu Monastic Chapel (where the nuns gather in prayer), the Fatima Chapel and Blessed Sacrament Chapel (used by the retreat groups), the Shrine of St. Walburga, Outdoor Stations of the Cross, Rosary Path.

We have scheduled retreats throughout the year; individuals are also welcome to schedule their own time of personal retreat.
We also have a large Catholic Gift & Book Shop one site that individuals are welcome to visit and browse.  (A large selection of items are also available online.)

Are the grounds open to the public?

Yes, you are welcome to enjoy the beauty and peace of St. Emma’s, pray the Stations, walk the Rosary Path or simply sit and be…

Are The Liturgy of the Hours and daily Mass open to the public?

Yes, you are welcome to join us.  You are also welcome to stop and pray on your own.  The Cor Jesu Monastic Chapel is open from 5:15 a.m. -  5:30 p.m.

Who is Saint Emma?

Emma, the daughter of a Bavarian count, was born around 808 and received a good, deeply Christian education.  She married Ludwig “the German”, grandson of Charlemagne, to whom she had seven children.

One daughter died quite young and the remaining three daughters became Benedictines.  The three sons succeeded each other in ruling in their father’s stead.  All her children died before the age of 30.

Emma herself suffered a stroke in 874 from which she never recovered.  She died January 31, 876 and was buried in the Basilica of St. Emmeran in Regensburg, Germany.

Additional information on St. Emma may be found under our Community & Monastery pages, Our Guiding Saints, St. Emma.