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Abbey Saint-Benoit du Lac, Qc. Canada

2011.06.27
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Today I vent for a nice ride with my friends to visit a monastery about 45 min. from our home.
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An imposing structure overlooks the western shore of Lake Memphremagog near the village of Austin. It is the Benedictine monastery, St-Benoît-du-Lac. Viewed from across the lake, St-Benoît calls to mind a French chateau. With its turrets, green copper roofs, and walls of stone, it sits in striking contrast to the green hillside that slopes gently down to the water. Mount Owl's Head looms majestically in the distance. Surely the monks could not have chosen a more stunning setting!

The history of St-Benoît-du-Lac is one of perseverance. The monastery dates back to 1912 when a handful of exiled French monks arrived in Canada from Belgium. Their leader, Dom Paul Vannier, had found an ideal spot in the Eastern Townships. With the blessing of the Bishop of Sherbrooke, he purchased an old farm on the shore of Lake Memphremagog. Ironically, the spot he chose was on the very site chosen by the Quaker pioneer of Bolton Township, Nicholas Austin, 120 years before. Great men think alike.

For the first years of its existence, the tiny monastic community struggled. Poverty, isolation, and hard work took their toll. Making things even worse, Dom Vannier drowned in a boating accident on the lake. At one point, the monastery (then a mere "cella" occupying a simple farmhouse) was nearly closed. When two Canadian monks went to Europe to plead for support, the group was granted a reprieve.

In the years that followed, the situation improved and the community began to grow. In 1935, St-Benoît was granted the status of an autonomous monastery. St-Benoît was by then a sprawling three-storey wooden building, but in 1938 the monks decided to construct a more substantial, more ambitious monastery. They enlisted the help of a French Benedictine architect, Dom Paul Bellot. The new buildings were inaugurated in 1941. In 1952, St-Benoît became an abbey, and since then several additions have been made, including a hostel for visitors and in 1994 a splendid new church.
19 Comments
mystic1 Beautiful captures love all the tile work perfect lighting , good reportage
mystic1 · 2011-06-25: 23:37
liveandletlive Such a beautiful set. Thanks for taking us along.
liveandletlive · 2011-06-25: 23:42
anggrekfoto incredible
anggrekfoto · 2011-06-25: 23:57
Patricia132 Breath taking ... the inside the the monastery in amazing; the colored tiles and long halls enchanting!
Patricia132 · 2011-06-26: 00:02
Keryl I love the organ shots. Such a beautiful, amazing instrument!
Keryl · 2011-06-26: 00:29
Annbramwell It looks like part of it has been made with Lego! great looking building though, and the gardens must be amazing!
Annbramwell · 2011-06-26: 02:48
danrav The brickwork and colors are absolutely stunning! Wow!
danrav · 2011-06-26: 09:15
mallusatish Awesome post,the place looks so heavenly,very very nice~!~
mallusatish · 2011-06-26: 09:48
armando very nice!
armando · 2011-06-26: 17:35
djnana Interesting images and interesting information, H! I liked the color, composition and clarity of the abbey and the flowers. But I adore the symmetry of #3!
djnana · 2011-06-26: 22:35
tcalbaz What an exquisite set!
tcalbaz · 2011-06-26: 22:42
tomie very interesting place and nice shots!!
tomie · 2011-06-27: 05:16
veronicainheels what an amazing place. love those floors . thanks for writing about it a bit.
veronicainheels · 2011-06-27: 11:24
DancingDolphin Terrific buildings! I love all those bold colors. Must have been fun, great shots!
DancingDolphin · 2011-06-27: 13:04
ldalmau it's an impressive building. I like it.
ldalmau · 2011-06-27: 17:07
Nukke All beautiful photos but that colourful church in fist photos looks most interesting!!!!
Nukke · 2011-06-29: 10:08
lmxg2011 wow such a wonderful set each and every picture is fantastic well done
lmxg2011 · 2011-07-01: 01:49
BorneImagePhoto Fabulous images ... such amazing architecture! Beautiful flowers, as well! I enjoy learning about faraway places ... thank you for sharing!
BorneImagePhoto · 2011-07-01: 03:08
stabeez The architectural design is wonderful and you've made nice captures of them.
stabeez · 2011-07-02: 15:49
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Views: 660
Category: ARCHITECTURE
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Tagged: church nature flowers architecture
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