In 1892, the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (called Trappists) arrived in St. Norbert, Manitoba. They called their community Our Lady of the Prairies. The monastery and church (which we now know as ‘the Ruins’) were built between 1903 and 1905.
The Trappists follow the basic tenets of St. Benedict – charity, obedience and humility. For 86 years, the monks lived at the monastery pursuing a life of prayer, hard work and peaceful contemplation. In 1978, the order moved to a new site due to urban encroachment into their life of solitude. A few years later, the church and monastery burnt to the stone shell you see today. In 1988, the Province of Manitoba designated the area as a provincial heritage site. The building was stabilized in the late 2010s, and since 2012 we have been lucky to once again be producing theatre in this beautiful and magical place.
We would like to thank photographer Clarence Abrams for sharing his amazing photos of the Ruins in the Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park with us.
All photos copyright 2012 Clarence Abrams