Fourteen years ago, Benedictine monks from the French Abbey of Notre-Dame de Fontgombault (a member of the Solesmes Congregation) arrived in Oklahoma to start the new foundation of Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Abbey. In 1998, Most Rev. Edward Slattery welcomed the 13 monks who began a new chapter of Benedictine life in the United States. It was a long journey home for some of them who had actually left America years before in search of “the purely contemplative form of Benedictine monastic life that seemed to be missing in their homeland.”
It all started in the 1970’s at the University of Kansas when some professors inaugurated the Integrated Humanities Program, a study of Western Civilization as expressed in the Great Books. I know of what they speak for I was a Humanities Major in college taught by a professor dedicated to the classic truths and legacy of Western Civilization. I like to say that my Business major got me a job but my Humanistic Studies major prepared me for life. I am very grateful to my professor.
Anyway, as the students read such things as The Aeneid and The Confessions of Saint Augustine, conversions to Christianity, especially to Catholicism, abounded. A couple of the students went to Europe in search of a monastery that used the ancient Latin liturgy. They found a home at Fontgombault. In 1999, several of the Americans along with some Canadians and Frenchmen, arrived in Tulsa to found Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey under the Patronage of Mary’s Annunciation. Today, there are forty-one monks in residence living in buildings built to last the ages.
Today is a special day at the abbey as His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, will celebrate Holy Mass with the monks in Oklahoma.
If you would like to support the Benedictine monks, please visit their website. You can order Gregorian chant CDs, books, rosaries and other items. They have a beautiful monastery partially completed but more is planned to handle the growth of this young community.