Abbaye de St-Benoît-du-Lac
Abbaye de St-Benoît-du-Lac
If you are looking for something to do in the Eastern Townships on a gorgeous summer day, then taking a scenic road trip to Abbaye de St-Benoît-du-Lac could be a great activity to do as a family, a couple or even alone. To get to your destination, you will take a beautiful drive along the Memphremagog lake for about 15 minutes until you arrive to a place of beauty and peace.
This monastery overlooking Lake Memphremagog has a community of about thirty Benedictine monks who live according to the monastic rule written by Saint Benedict (480-547). They seek God in prayer, work, fraternal life and pastoral ministry.
It was in 1912 that the community of Saint-Wandrille, still in exile in Belgium, planned to settle in Canada. Dom Paul Vannier is sent there with a mission to prepare his arrival. With the approval of the bishop of Sherbrooke, Monsignor Paul Larocque, he bought a farm near Lake Memphremagog. Five French monks were sent as reinforcements shortly before the 1914-1918 war, during which the small community of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac remained completely isolated from its founding abbey. The first foundation was raised as an autonomous house in 1935 and in 1938, since the community was growing they decided to start building a stone monastery.
Once you have parked your car in the main parking lot, you can start your visit by entering the monastery main doors, there you can decide if you want to visit the Abbey on your own or take a guided tour. You can visit the Abbey site for the guided tour rates The website is in french only, but basically a guided tour will cost Adults; 12$, Children 7-14 years old; 8$ and children 6 and under are free. If you decide to visit this imposing structure on your own, you will make your way down a beautiful hallway and end up inside the abbey church. This is a great time to see the beautiful architecture of the church that holds about 500 people. It is very quiet and tranquil, so take a moment to meditate and pray if you like.
Take a walk back through the hall, if you didn’t coming in, learn more about the history of the abbey and the way of life of the monks by reading the information boards on the wall. Next, make your way down the stairs to the store and discover a wide variety of homemade products such as cheese, ciders, applesauce, jelly and apple butter. Most of the products sold there are made by the monks at Abbaye de St-Benoît-du-Lac! Trust me, it is all very delicious! Especially for you cheese lovers!
Once you have stocked up on cheese and cider you can now make your way back outside, the visit is not over yet. First of all, if you are in season, you can pick your own apples in the orchard just beside the abbey. Take the opportunity to sink your teeth into a fresh apple used to produced abbey’s tasty ciders. If it is still early in the season, proceed on wards to the St-Benoît tower for another charming discovery. This small tower looks so intriguing as if it was a structure straight out of a medieval movie or television series. There is some great photo opportunities here on a beautiful sunny day. Once you have visited the inside of the St-Benoît tower, visitors are welcome to sit down and relax on the picnic tables placed on the grounds.
Thousands of tourists every year get the opportunity to visit this exceptional site of harmony and serenity. If you are visiting the Eastern Townships this is a must see destination!
Visit the abbey’s website for more information http://abbaye.ca