Benedictines of St. Peter's Abbey (OSB)

This Roman Catholic Benedictine monastic community had its origins in the Benedictine community in Wetaug, Illinois. Prior Alfred Mayer led the community to Muenster, SK in May 1903, and named it St. Peter’s Priory, after Abbot Peter Engel of St. John’s Abbey, Minnesota. The priory became the heart of St. Peter’s Colony in Saskatchewan. In 1911 the priory became an abbey, and Bruno Doerfler, OSB, was appointed its first abbot. Subsequent abbots were Michael Ott (1919–26), Severin Gertken (1926–60), Jerome Weber (1960–90), and Peter Novecosky (1990–).

St. Peter’s Abbey had over sixty monks at its zenith in the mid-1960s. The Benedictines’ work involved founding parishes and parish schools, establishing a press, publishing Catholic newspapers (St. Peter’s Bote [1904] and Prairie Messenger [1923]), engaging in mixed farming, and establishing St. Peter’s College.

Monastic prayer remains an essential part of Benedictine daily life. The monks stop their work five times a day and gather to chant the Divine Office, and once a day they celebrate the Eucharist. Catholic lay people participate in the work and spirituality of the Benedictine community as oblates, and the abbey monastery continues to play a significant role in the community as a place of hospitality and retreat.

Peter Novecosky

Further Reading

Fitzgerald, C. 2003. Begin a Good Work: A History of St. Peter’s Abbey, 1903–2003. Muenster, SK: St. Peter’s Press.