Set in the shelter of the Shenandoah Valley, this monastery is run by Trappist Monks who follow a life of strict prayer, ... More
Holy Cross Abbey
Set in the shelter of the Shenandoah Valley, this monastery is run by Trappist Monks who follow a life of strict prayer, discipline, and physical labor. See a more serene and contemplative side of life while visiting this abbey which offers tours, meditation, and personal prayer from 3:15 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day. Visitors can also purchase one of the abbey's famous fruitcakes from the monastic bakery.
My wife and I just returned from Holy Cross after spending but two days there. Unfortunately our schedule didn't allow us to spend the entire week. It's at least the fourth time one or both of us have visited the abbey.
This marvelous monastery for the Trappist monks is the essence of tranquility, a place where one can go, tune out the busy-ness of life and reflect, perhaps on the authenticy of life and one's behavior toward others, my favorite topic. I've been an admirer of Thomas Merton for more than 25 years and the excellent Holy Cross library includes CDs of the voice of Fr. Louis instructing the novices more than 40 years ago. The Book Store is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. The only question I had was how many books do I want to buy this time?
The young man who tends the Retreat House and makes sure there are excellent meals at the proper time warmly welcomes you and makes you feel at home (or even better perhaps). Situated on acres and acres of pasture/farm land (the cows moo frequently :-) next to the Shenandoah River your first visit will be repeated many, many times.
Be gentle with yourself, go and be!!
I have been visiting Holy Cross Abbey for almost 25 years on the average of twice a year.It was my fathers retreat since the early 1950's.
It is about getting back to your center,no distractions or noise, just peaceful quiet.
I would recommend this oasis in the desert for all who need to pray,reflect,or just rest in the peace of God.
Visiting Holy Cross Abbey is a bit of heaven on earth. Plan to go when you can hear the monks chanting the Liturgy of the Hours or celebrating Mass. The bookshop has books and music, as well as delicious fruitcake, cheese, coffee, jam, chocolate, caramels and other foodstuffs made by Trappist monks and Trappistine nuns from Venezuela to New England. The very best treat is the Holy Cross Abbey fruitcake slices which have beendipped in dark chocolate. The creamed honey is excellent also.
There is a small museum dedicated to the Civil War Battle of Cool Spring which was fought on what is now Abbey property. If Br. James is available, he will be happy to tell you all about the battle.
After you have visited, make plans to stay at the guesthouse on a retreat of your own making. Everyone is welcome and the monks are delightful. We are very fortunate to have this blessing close at hand!