ABOUT OUR MONASTERY
HOW IT BEGAN
In 1863, Rev. Father Gabriel Usell who was the parish priest of Taos, New Mexico, petitioned church authorities to establish a convent and colony of The Sisters of Loretto there to teach the youth of northern New Mexico.
The three sisters sent to Taos were the superior Euphrosyne Thompson, Sister Ignacia Mora and Sister Angelica Ortiz. On October 15, 1863, made the seventy mile trip over rough roads and along the Rio Grande from Santa Fe having to walk half the way.
A school for girls was opened on November 3, 1863 with each large classroom holding 80 to 100 students. Shorty after their 50th anniversary in Taos, the sisters began offering high school classes under contract by the school board. However, the sisters faced increased disapproval and tension in the public school system. in 1928, the property was purchased by Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Sister's of Loretto were teachers there until the school permanently closed in 1973.
From Convent to Benedictine Monastery in Pictures...
Present Day Ministry
We are a community of Benedictine Monks and Oblates living in the heart of downtown Taos, New Mexico, serving the local area in evangelizing, while balancing our life of prayer and work (known in Latin as ("Ora et Labora") The Monks and Oblates work with local non-profit organizations to provide assistance with their needs and services.
What work do we do?
For the monk the first work is that of prayer – to pray the Sacred Liturgy as fully and as efficaciously as he is able, day in day out, for the salvation of his own soul and for the good of the Church and the world, from early morning until night. That may sound daunting, but in fact it is the most natural and life-giving thing in the world for one with a monastic vocation. Rising at a ‘ridiculously’ early hour to worship God is natural for a monk. We engage in Lectio Divina – that divine reading in which we listen to, digest and contemplate the voice of God in the words of his inspired and privileged friends – sustains us. And in this space and silence as the night ends and the dawn breaks, as the world busies itself for another day, we are able to pray for all those who seek our prayers, whose vocations are elsewhere, who need our intercession to sustain their good and rightful activities in the world. This is a most beautiful element – and apostolate – of monastic life.
The brethren work at their studies at whatever level, usually in the mornings. We encourage higher studies where appropriate of course, but one’s first task when entering a monastery is to become a monk—once that is the case all that we do, from doctorates to dishes, must be in harmony with the new man, clothed in the habit of Saint Benedict. Work away from the monastery can only be justified in that context for duly proportionate reasons.
Each new member of our monastic family brings with him gifts and talents – and opens himself to the opportunity of developing more as a monk – which augment what, as a monastery, we can do for the glory of Almighty God. So long as that activity does not eclipse, but arises from, what we are called to be – monks seeking ever to be more faithful to the Rule of St Benedict in our day – we can do very much indeed.
Hospitality at the Monastery of San Juan Diego
The monastery of San Juan Diego is open to priests, seminarians, male religious, and men considering a vocation to our Benedictine life.
We cherish our silence and enclosure (separation from the outside world); at the same time, our monastery is a point of welcome for all. We welcome you to come for a long weekend, or just a few days as an escape from your daily routine. You may contact the Monastery to make arrangements.