Our History

Rooted in the Truth: The Church as the Sole Ark of Salvation

Fr FeenyThe origins of Saint Benedict Abbey go back to 1941 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where two laymen and one laywoman established a Catholic student center to help local students live their Faith. In the midst of the secularized culture surrounding Harvard University, Avery Dulles (later Cardinal), Christopher Huntington (later Monsignor, Diocese of Rockville Center, New York), and Catherine Clarke envisioned “Saint Benedict Center,” as it was called, to be an organization in which Christ and His Church would not simply be the object of our understanding, but be loved and embraced as “the pearl of great price.” In 1943, Saint Benedict Center obtained the services of a Jesuit priest, Fr. Leonard Feeney, S.J., who soon became spiritual director to the growing Center and one of its most engaging speakers.

In a culture filled with doubt and skepticism, the students realized that they needed certitude about their Faith. They came to understand that it is necessary to defend that the Catholic Church is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. In words of Saint Augustine and other early Fathers, the Church is “The Ark” containing and protecting the truths of Salvation through the centuries.

IMG_4978Dedicating themselves totally to the service of God, our founders formed a religious community under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Fr. Feeney as superior. In 1958, they re-located to Still River, where they adopted a monastic lifestyle patterned on the Rule of Saint Benedict, our Patron. In 1993, we became an autonomous Benedictine Abbey with Abbot Gabriel Gibbs, O.S.B. serving as our first abbot. Our enduring vision is to win every heart for Christ through Mary.