Thursday, September 29, 2011

Benedictine Land--southern Indiana style

Two-thirds of the Benedictine communities in the US are within 100-150 miles east and west of the Mississippi River, from Canada down to the Gulf. This week I'm in the very south of Indiana and spending time in "Benedictine land--southern Indiana style."

The two huge Benedictine places here are the community of women in Ferdinand, Indiana and the men's community in nearby St. Meinrad, Indiana. Both are among the two or three largest in the US and have made this part of the country a Benedictine landscape if there ever was one, with their large, large arrays of buildings, influence and century-old affects on the people, land and Catholicism here.

My time is at a subprioresses' meeting at the monastery of women in Ferdinand and a more welcoming and lovely community there cannot be...except for my own in Erie, of course!

Enjoy the scenes.

Imposing Monastery Immaculate Conception. Newly restored church is front and center. You can see it for miles around as it is on a hill high above the little town.

Blessed Sacrament chapel behind main altar. Wooden-outlined dome mimics the stone one it is under.

One of many gardens. This one styled amid a Benedictine cross.

The view from the other swing seat where yours truly was relaxing!

Just a fraction of the buildings and land that compose St. Meinrad Archabbey, seminary, guesthouse, Abbey Press, et al. Just a monstrous plant.

Some of the 3,700+ pipes of the organ in the main church.

Art is everywhere, including right on the walls. This one in a stairway.

Unique windows in the monks' Chapter Room. The ceiling, like the Sistine Chapel, was painted by a monk and is completely covered with bible-inspired themes.