St. Joseph's Abbey: Spencer, Massachusetts
St. Joseph's Abbey is a monastery of the Catholic Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), popularly known as the "Trappists", located in Spencer, Massachusetts.
The Abbey was founded in 1950 by Belgian and French Trappist monks from the Monastery of Our Lady of the Valley in Valley Falls, Rhode Island, which had burned to the ground. In the rustic hills of central New England, they established a new home in which to follow an age-old contemplative way of life.
The monastery became known internationally as the origin of the Centering Prayer movement in modern Catholicism and Christianity, whose leading proponents were monks at the monastery: Fr. William Meninger, Fr. M. Basil Pennington and Fr. Thomas Keating.
Work has always been greatly esteemed in the Cistercian tradition, since it gives the monks the opportunity to follow in Christ' footsteps and share in His Divine work of creation and restoration. The monks participate in three major industries which provide for their livelihood and for the care of the poor. Since the 1950s, they have produced Trappist Preserves, their popular line of 30 flavors of jams and jellies. Since 1949, The Holy Rood Guild has created beautiful, finely-tailored liturgical vestments to enhance the dignity of the Sacred Liturgy. In 2014, with the advice and assistance of their brother Trappists in Belgium, the monks founded Spencer Brewery, producing the first and only certified Trappist beer made in the United States.