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“You are a monk, you must remain a monk!”

This was the advice given by Archbishop Lefebvre to the young Fr. Cyprian who, having left his Monastery of Sainte Madeleine du Barroux because of the Faith questioned the prelate about his future. Two years earlier, at the end of the ordinations ceremony in Econe, he had promised his fidelity, his hands in those of the Archbishop. It is this same fidelity that led him to found, on the other side of the world, a Benedictine monastery, on a mountain as it ought to be, in the wooded solitude of New Mexico. “We must attempt the impossible!”, was the testament received from the founder of the Society of St. Pius X two months before his death. And the impossible became a reality: the foundation of the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe.1

Monk in meditation

Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Silver City, NM

Herculean Labors

It took twenty years of efforts, sacrifices and prayers to make it to this Saturday, October 24, when the foundation was made a conventual priory: a decisive step in the establishment of a Benedictine monastery, “school for the service of the Lord”.2

“This foundation is at the same time a final point and a beginning,” would comment Bishop de Galarreta before some 300 friends of the monastery assembled under the large tent set up for the occasion. “It is the fruit of much work, and of many sufferings and prayers, and it is a commitment to a greater fervor and fidelity.” Indeed, who can measure the sum of work of which the monastery, with its chapel, its library, its cloister, cells and refectory, is today the splendid accomplishment. The immense reservoir of water in the wells is without a doubt one of the most spectacular, and merits a whole page all to itself. From the discovery of a simple ditch presented as a well when the property was bought, to the 2600 feet drilling not to mention the two years of going back and forth to and from the city, regularly, rain or shine, to fill up the water tank.

Yet more mysterious and extraordinary is the transformation of the interior edifices, not only of the monks and numerous postulants, but also of the countless visitors and oblates who have passed through over the past two decades. If sufferings endured are the King's secret, St. Paul himself authorizes us to list them as so many proofs of God's greatness.

Monastic cloister

False brothers and critics, temptations and discouragements, deceptions and abandonments, accidents and illnesses have not been wanting! And even death herself, who came to take away the novice master, Fr. John of the Cross, during the chanting of the Magnificat, the evening of June 29, 2002.

If the grain of wheat...dies, it will bear much fruit

Eight solemnly professed monks are necessary to be able to make a foundation a priory. With the third priestly ordination last June, as well as four clerics studying at the Society's seminary in Winona, this very young3 and fervent community numbers just under 30 monks.

Monks going to Divine Office

Bishop de Galarreta

Stability, object of a special vow for the Benedictine is now acquired for the entire monastery. It is a work of the Church, recognized as such and publicly offered by her to her children as a privileged way of attaining God. “This foundation, having for a long time given testimony of fidelity to the true Faith and the Holy Roman Church, as well as to the spirit of the Benedictine family..., we...decree that this monastery be established as a Priory of the Order of St. Benedict”.4

It is with these words that Bishop de Galarreta began the ceremony, “by the power that the Holy Church gives in the case of necessity, insofar as we are able, with the intention of thus helping to procure the supreme good of the Church and the salvation of souls”.5

Then the bishop proceeded with the institution of the conventual priory “for three years, after which an election will take place, according to the Law”.6 “Remember always the souls whom you have received under your charge and for whom you will have to answer!”7 the bishop admonished the future prior kneeling before him. Then he asked him to promise his submission to the Rule of St. Benedict and that he would faithfully keep the monastic discipline in this Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe of America.

Bishop's admonition to prior

Confession of Faith and taking of oath

The nominated prior, after having confessed the Faith and taken the oath formulated by St. Pius X, was then constituted prior and given “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” to the community, who received him with a fervent “Amen”. Then, confessing his unworthiness and his weakness, he confided himself to the prayers of his brother monks and to the intercession of Almighty God, and of the Most Holy Virgin and of St. Benedict.

Then, as a sign of the authority conferred upon him, the bishop gave him the keys and the seal of the monastery. A written document was signed on the altar. “Confirm, O my God, what thou hast accomplished by thy hands, from thy holy temple in Jerusalem”8 sang the community. “Oh God, who alone hast realized great wonders, pour down upon thy servant Fr. Prior and on the community confided to his care the spirit of thy saving grace, and grant to him always the heavenly dew of thy blessing, that he may please thee in all truth”.9 Then the bishop, with miter and crosier, installed him in his place in the choir, and to the chanting of the Te Deum, the brothers, one after another, came to give homage to the beloved Father.

The Three-cord Rope
Does Not Break

The Pontifical Mass prolonged the thanksgiving on this feast of Our Lady of Good Hope, “our only hope in this crisis of the Church”, as Bishop de Galarreta declared. He also pointed out to the community the condition for remaining faithful in this torment, interpreting these words of Sacred Scripture “the three-cord rope does not break”. “These three cords whose union alone guarantees the solidity of resistance are for you today he said, “your Benedictine rule, the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, and the Catholic bishop that we are

Indeed, the decree specified, “since it is morally impossible to have recourse to the competent authority and since we are acting in an auxiliary way because of the crisis in the Church and the state of necessity...”.10 It is this union that the many faithful who are Third Order members and Oblates wish to share, understanding how vital it is to cling to this rope divinely woven by Providence. It is this same union that explained the presence, on this beautiful day, of the superiors of the districts of Mexico and of the United States, Frs. Trejo and Rostand, of the priors of Phoenix and of El Paso, Frs. Burfitt and Diaz, and of the assistant director of the seminary of Winona, Fr. Asher.

Community's homage of prior
Signing of decree of canonical erection
Giving of monastery's keys
Group photo after ceremonies
Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery

Finally, as a new fruit of this Benedictine restoration in Tradition, the next day, a new monk was made a cleric of the Church. Br. Justin received the tonsure from the bishop. He will next year join his brothers at the seminary... and by then, God willing, two new priests will have been ordained “ad titulum paupertatis” for the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Deo Gratias!


1 Fr. Matthew was sent from this foundation in 2000 to join Fr. Angel (†) and found the monastery of Bellaigue.

2 Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue.

3 The average is 25!

4 Decree of Institution, October 23, 2010.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ritus de Canonica Erectione Monasterii.

8 Antiphon “Confirma hoc”; Ritus de Canonica Erectione Monasterii.

9 Ritus de Canonica Erectione Monasterii.

10 Decree of Institution, October 23, 2010.
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