Who We are
Founded in 1991 in the southern Rocky Mountains that overlook Silver City, New Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery is the home of a young community of Benedictine monks. The secluded, mountainous site, the silence of the surrounding nature, the austere beauty of the high-desert terrain all join together to bespeak the particular vocation of this monastic foundation: the primacy of contemplation, a return to the spirit of the monks of Christian antiquity who, with the blessing of the Church, established a unique way of life lived for the honor and glory of God alone.
Our monastic roots link us not only to the early days of St. Benedict who was born in the 5th century, but also to the more recent past, to the Christendom of France, in the year 1850, during the pontificate of Pope Pius IX. Living in a time of restoration in the aftermath of revolution which reduced the great European abbeys to rubble, Fr. Jean-Baptiste Muard, a diocesan missionary, was inspired by a signal grace of Providence to restore the monastic apostolate of the Church to its purest and original form, as lived by the disciples of the Apostles, the Fathers of the Church, the Desert Fathers in particular. Being led by the hand of God, he walked as a pilgrim from France to Italy, eventually arriving at the hallowed shrine of St. Benedict in Subiaco, east of Rome. He would later meet with the Holy Father still in exile at Gaëta, who under the duress of revolution still raging and tearing apart Italy in the name of unity, had made himself abbot of St. Benedict’s original monastery. This heroic intervention of Pope Pius IX to save the Benedictine Order from extinction in his overall struggle to restore the Church in the time of unprecedented crisis would become the foundational principle of our present monastery.
From Rome, Fr. Muard would bring the Rule of St. Benedict back to France at the same time as other great works of restoration were already underway. The Cassinese Congregation of the Primitive Observance was thus born and under the continued guidance of Pius IX foundations were established throughout Europe, rising from the ashes of once glorious Christendom. The restoration of the Church, in the mind of Pio Nono, would come through the Queen of Heaven, who herself would confirm his teaching through the miraculous apparitions at Lourdes, and also in the restoration of the contemplative monastic Orders. The faithful echo of this determined action would be heard again in our own day in the words of Archbishop Lefebvre, Without Monasteries, without religious consecrated to prayer, the Church will never be revived from the present crisis.
The conflict of civil revolution, the destruction wrought by World Wars, and the universal disorder of Modernism have become as the great fire that germinates the seed of the giant solitary Redwoods, and today in the critical context of restoration, the contemplative Orders are yet once again being re-founded. The sons and daughters of the saintly Fr. Muard have preserved his fervent desire for a return to the purity of the Rule of St. Benedict with its emphasis on the contemplative monastic life. In this work is found the integrity of a life, the sana doctrina, (Titus II, 1) the sane doctrine of the Church as found in the lives of her greatest saints. This newest branch of the great Benedictine tree is once again flourishing and the cause for the beatification of Fr. Muard is in Rome.
Our Spiritual Father
The last words spoken to the founders of this monastery remain forever engraved in their hearts: “Now is the time to do the impossible, you must do the impossible to establish oases of the faith, where the true spirit of the Church can be found. It is your duty to persevere in the true Faith. The impossible must be done to establish this Monastery.” (Among the last writings of Archbishop Lefebvre, extract from a personal letter to Fr. Cyprian, March 1991)
With this small taste of the magnanimous spirit that guided the entire career of Archbishop Lefebvre, the monks of this monastery as well as the other religious houses scattered throughout the world have responded to this voice of the sensus Ecclesiæ, the sense, the instinct and the mind of the Church, to do with certitude, to do now what the Church, quod ubique et semper, has always and everywhere done in times of crisis. (The criterion of the true faith, St. Vincent of Lerins Commonitorium.)
In this spirit of faith, confirmed by the teaching Magisterium of the holy popes of the recent past who warned the entire world of an upcoming crisis unprecedented and unequalled in magnitude, monasteries of Tradition have received the Archbishop’s blessing and encouragement to come into existence. History thus repeats itself, the actions of a holy pope and a saintly archbishop being but the repeated interventions of Divine Providence working through worthy intermediaries, to guide the Church in the turbulent times of crisis.