Saint Vincent Memories

Saint Vincent Memories February 1
I entered Saint Vincent Seminary in September 1946. This was not my first acquaintance with Benedictine monks. I grew up on the North Side of Pittsburgh and the first priests I really knew were the Benedictines who staffed Saint Mary's Parish on the North Side. It was in that parish that I made my First Communion. Benedictine priests were my first confessors. It was in that parish that I attended Sunday Mass and was catechized. It was for me the Church. The monks were, for me, holy men, albeit somewhat mysterious. Coming to Saint Vincent was not traumatic. I just saw a lot more Benedictine habits than I did in the parish. Read More

Saint Vincent Parish, 1790-1846

Saint Vincent Parish, 1790-1846 February 1
Saint Vincent is situated on land that was deeded to John Fraser of Bedford in 1766, shortly after the French and Indian War. This land was soon to be called the Sportsman's Hall Tract because it was used for hunting. In 1790 Father Theodore Brouwers, a Franciscan friar, purchased the property and established on it the oldest continuous Catholic parish in western Pennsylvania. It was then known as Sportsman's Hall Parish. The often-pictured Sportsman's Hall structure of hewn logs was one built for Father Brouwers to serve as a residence and church. Read More

Saint Vincent, Reflection on the Mystery of Place

Saint Vincent, Reflection on the Mystery of Place February 1
A student or visitor to Saint Vincent campus has often remarked to me about a feeling of peace that comes by stopping to reflect in a favorite spot. My favorite is the graceful row of crosses that mark the monks' resting place in the cemetery. A view of the sprawling campus from that special sanctuary evokes a symbolic and mysterious presence, and provokes in me the deepest level of feeling. Read More

Boniface Wimmer, The Founding Story

Boniface Wimmer, The Founding Story February 1
Greeting every visitor who approaches the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica, a bronze statue of Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, founder of the first Benedictine monastery and school in the United States, stands prominently at the basilica entrance. In one hand is the Rule of Saint Benedict while the other hand points forward with outstretched arm. This pose aptly symbolizes the founder's gift for combining fidelity to tradition with boldness of vision. Read More

The Birth of a Butterfly From a Protestant's Eye

The Birth of a Butterfly From a Protestant's Eye February 1
In the beginning... Read More

Saint Vincent Prep and Saint Xavier Academy

Saint Vincent Prep and Saint Xavier Academy February 1
The story of the Sisters of Mercy in western Pennsylvania connects with that of the Saint Vincent Benedictines from earliest days. We came to the newly established diocese of Pittsburgh with its first bishop, Michael O'Connor, in 1843, and in 1845 opened Mount Saint Vincent Academy for young ladies on the land where Saint Vincent Archabbey now stands. When the Benedictine monks arrived in 1846, the Sisters of Mercy moved to the Kuhn Farm property about one mile west of Saint Vincent to a new convent and school, and renamed it Saint Francis Xavier Academy. Read More


China February 1
Benedictines from Saint Vincent Archabbey first went to China in 1925 when the country was in the midst of armed conflicts between warlords and revolutionary forces trying to unify the fledgling Republic. The Benedictines intended to begin a priory in Peking and to establish the city's first Catholic university. In 1929, with the approval of China's Ministry of Education, Fu Jen Catholic University opened its doors to Chinese students. Read More


Brazil February 1
The story of our priory in Brazil begins with the Saint Vincent community meeting of January 9, 1963. An excerpt from the minutes of that meeting reads as follows: In regard to the Priory of Santos, many capitulars were interested, and it was almost the unanimous opinion of the capitulars that this project should be undertaken as described in the last Chapter.  There is an additional note that Archabbot Denis Strittmatter ended the discussion by stating that a few men would be sent to the priory during the summer of 1963. Read More

Saint Benedict

Saint Benedict February 1
Benedict's name and tradition arrived at Saint Vincent with Boniface Wimmer and his eighteen companions. They brought with them the Benedictine way of life from Saint Michael Abbey at Metten in Bavaria and in so doing made Saint Vincent heir to a monastic tradition which stretches back to the venerable abbeys of Monte Cassino and Subiaco in Italy. Read More

A Tribute to the Sisters

A Tribute to the Sisters February 1
The Benedictine Sisters were a beloved part of the Saint Vincent community and were responsible for food service from 1931 to 1987. The first group of sisters arrived at Latrobe on February 25, 1931, under the leadership of Mother Leonardo Fritz. By 1939 forty sisters had come to Saint Vincent from their convent of Saint Walburga at Eichstätt in Bavaria. Read More

The Benedictine Sisters: They Also Teach

The Benedictine Sisters: They Also Teach February 1
No longer able to work, Read More

Outrageous Hope

Outrageous Hope February 1
He planted trees. Told he had had but six months or so to live, he planted trees. I wondered why he didn't plant flowers  he'd get to see them bloom. Or why not spend time in prayer and study, steeling his spirit for death? Now, over twenty years later, as I pause on my way to class, looking out the window over the tops of the lindens and ornamental pears he planted, I think I know. I think of Jeremiah planting trees, trees that would take years to bear first fruit, even as he prophesied the imminent destruction of Jerusalem and Judah...I think of Jeremiah: what extravagant faith, what outrageous hope. What a gift he left us, in these trees planted all around us and in this garden I now look out over, a garden named "Melvin Platz" in memory of Father Melvin Rupprecht. Read More

They Brought You Their Sick

They Brought You Their Sick February 1
Brother Cancer came to live with me in the monastery about five years ago. He arrived with an unexpected impact to tell me how important life is, my life, where I am and as I am. Eventually I got the message. He stays around to serve me in my making the decisions that define my path. Another Brother of the same name, but no relation, rushed in unannounced last year, and for months upset all my cherished plans, before retreating. "You didn't really learn all you need to, you know," he seemed to warn, "but you'd better try again." I can't escape their lurking around, but my commitment is not to them. Read More

The Challenge of Our Moment

The Challenge of Our Moment February 1
Those of us who rejoice in the Benedictine tradition see a great parallel between the age of Benedict and our own. His and ours are turning points in civilization. We, as he, are witnessing a change from one system and cultural context of life to another. Whether we name our moment as the post-modern age or as the dawning of an age of individualism spawning a new barbarism, parallels with the age of Benedict are striking. Read More


Coeducation February 1
The theme of the 1983 Orientation Program "A New Beginning to an Old Tradition" began a new era in the history of the college. That fall marked the beginning of coeducation at Saint Vincent. A freshman class of 240 students, whom 33 percent were women, enrolled. Within ten years the goal of having women represent half the total enrollment was achieved. Read More

Benedictine and American Clashing or Blending Values

Benedictine and American Clashing or Blending Values February 1
Historians studying Catholicism in the United States will note how often our generation used words like "evangelization" and "inculturation." We were fascinated, they will say, by what happened when the values found in the Catholic tradition came into contact with other ways of understanding this world and with other traditions. Read More

Passion for Christ

Passion for Christ February 1
On the occasion of the inauguration of the bicentennial celebration Read More

The Heritage of Boniface Wimmer

The Heritage of Boniface Wimmer February 1
It is wonderful to be at Saint Vincent once again, in this community that nourished me when I was young. And it is truly an honor to have been invited to speak to you this evening. I am particularly delighted to see so many friends-old and new-here tonight. Read More

Boniface Wimmer: Letters of An American Abbot (2008)

Boniface Wimmer: Letters of An American Abbot (2008) February 1
When Boniface Wimmer, the young Benedictine monk from Metten Abbey, Germany, felt a call to serve the missions in America, he was denied by his superiors three times, three years in succession. But he persisted, and finally was granted permission on his fourth request. Read More

Hart's Sleeping Place First Stop for Boniface Wimmer

Hart's Sleeping Place First Stop for Boniface Wimmer March 6
While Saint Vincent founder Boniface Wimmer eventually settled in Latrobe, where he found the fields and farmland to be more conducive to the community he wanted to establish, his first stop on his mission to America was a little log building called Hart's Sleeping Place, near Carrolltown, Cambria County. The church there, Saint Joseph's Mission Church, is the oldest existing church in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Father Peter Henry Lemke, who was pastor at the time (and who later became a Benedictine), played a pivotal role in Boniface Wimmer's coming to America. The church was blessed in 1830 by Father Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin. Father Demetrius, born a son of a Russian prince and a German countess, was known as apostle of the Alleghenies. (He is now known as Servant of God Demetrius Gallitzin, as a step in the canonization process.) Read More

Boniface Wimmer: Biblical, Catholic, Benedictine

Boniface Wimmer: Biblical, Catholic, Benedictine February 1
Anniversaries have a way of nurturing nostalgia, but they are far more important as reminders of an original vision that can be a guide for the future. And when the monks of Saint Vincent reflect on the history and future of their institution, they must come to terms with the impressive figure of Boniface Wimmer. He did more than found Saint Vincent; he gave it a direction and a momentum that we still feel today. No one would deny his achievements as a founder and a missionary, but there are still misgivings by some about the direction that Wimmer gave to monasticism at Saint Vincent and indeed to the entire congregation of abbeys and priories that derives from his foundation. This would seem to be a good time to examine this crucial issue. Read More

St. Vincent plans year in celebration of founder

St. Vincent plans year in celebration of founder March 6
It took Benedictine Father Boniface Wimmer three years and four attempts to gain permission from his superiors to sail from Bavaria to the United States, where he envisioned spreading the Order of St. Benedict and evangelizing immigrants, especially ones from his native Germany. Read More

St. Vincent ready to celebrate founder Wimmer

March 1
In the 1860s, St. Vincent Archabbot Boniface Wimmer faced crisis after crisis. Read More

The Final Word Is Love

The Final Word Is Love March 1
From the road, Saint Vincent looks enormous and remote. But once we set foot within its community, we quickly discover how close it really is, and the only thing that’s enormous about it is its heart. Read More

Fire Near Saint Vincent Archabbey

Fire Near Saint Vincent Archabbey March 1
We arrive with the long snow Read More

The Saint Vincent Touch: Reflection on Meaning

The Saint Vincent Touch: Reflection on Meaning March 1
For a quarter century, Saint Vincent has been an experience of defining importance to me as a person, a lecturer in religious studies, and a rabbi. There are the unforgettable events: when one of the nuns (pre-food service days) prepared a separate plate of food for me because she noticed that pork, a religiously prohibited food, was on the menu; a weekly lunch-time dialogue between a priest and a rabbi which began as a faith-to-faith encounter and turned into an exceptional friendship; recollections of students’ comments which make me grateful to be a teacher… “I have become stronger in my Christian faith through having taken your course”… “You taught me more about the nature of the Hebrew Bible than I have learned anywhere else”; gathering evergreen branches from around Saint Vincent to cover the harvest booth erected in my backyard in celebration of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. Saint Vincent has been and continues to be a blessed opportunity to learn, to teach, and to practice the art of growing in mind, in spirit, and in person. Read More

Saint Vincent Seminary

Saint Vincent Seminary March 1
 On March 18, 1847, Bishop Michael O’Connor of Pittsburgh ordained Father Charles Geyerstanger, the first priest-graduate of Saint Vincent Seminary. Since that day nearly 2,300 diocesan and religious priests, including 28 bishops and archbishops, have been ordained from Saint Vincent. These graduates have exerted considerable influence in Church and society through their teaching and writing, but most of all as priests serving in numerous parishes throughout the country. Read More

Saint Vincent Archabbey - 300 Fraser Purchase Road - Latrobe, Pennsylvania - 15650-2690
Telephone: 724-532-6600 or 724-805-2592 facsimile: 724-532-5052 Email: Seminaryinfo@email.stvincent.edu

All materials, photographs, content and forms contained on this website are © Copyright 2011 by Saint Vincent Seminary and may not be copied, reproduced, distributed or displayed without written permission.