~from Tulsa World: A Vision Appearing
A vision born 35 years ago on the campus of the University of Kansas and nurtured in a monastery in France moved closer to reality this week, as monks at Our Lady of Clear Creek Monastery moved into their new residence building.More
The building is the first part of a monastic complex that will include an 80-by-180-foot church with a 110-foot bell tower.
"This is a dream come true," said the Rev. Phillip Anderson, the prior, or leader, of the Benedictine community living at the monastery.
"All of a sudden, after all these years, it's happening," he said.
To a visitor driving the gravel roads of rural Oklahoma east of Lake Fort Gibson, the new monastery emerges suddenly from the landscape, tall and imposing.
The idea of establishing in the United States a contemplative community, where monks would live a cloistered life in a monastery, was inspired in the early 1970s among a group of KU students by a Catholic professor.
Most Catholic monasteries in this country are devoted to service, operating schools
and other institutions, Anderson said.
"We wanted to build a community like the ancient monasteries, a place devoted to the contemplative life and prayer."
During the 1970s, a number of the KU students went to France to experience monastic life. Some stayed. Others left after a few years and later married.
Anderson was among those who stayed, living for 24 years at the Benedictine Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault, originally founded in 1091 in the province of Berry, France.
In 1999, the dream of building a monastic community in the U.S. took root. Anderson, by then a Catholic priest, led a group of monks who returned to this country to establish a community under the authority of the Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault.
With the blessing of Bishop Edward J. Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa, the community purchased more than 1,000 acres in a picturesque valley cut by the waters of Clear Creek. The property had a large rustic house, which became their home, and they built other modest structures.
Visit Clear Creek's online construction album