Saint Martin’s Abbey recently began its second century of monastic life in Western Washington. The monks’ involvement in pastoral work actually began in 1891 at Tacoma’s newly established Holy Rosary Parish. At the request of German-speaking Catholics, Saint John’s Abbey, of Collegeville, Minnesota, sent Fr. William Eversmann, O.S.B. to be pastor of the new parish. Within a few years the Benedictines of Minnesota sent enough monks to found a new monastery and school about 50 miles south of Seattle in what was to become Lacey, Washington.
Saint Martin’s University, founded in 1895, is the primary apostolate of the Abbey. The school went through a number of stages. At first, there was an abbreviated grade school, a high school, and a two-year college. In the early 1940’s, the grade school was dropped and the college became a four-year institution. But by the mid-1970’s it was decided by the monks that their only educational apostolate would be the college.
At present there are twenty monks vowed to Saint Martin’s Abbey. The monks, both priests and brothers, still work in a variety of jobs in Saint Martin’s University – from teaching to staff positions. Our monks also assist at parishes and hospitals here in the Pacific Northwest.
Nevertheless, the primary activity of the monk is always prayer, especially the communal prayer of the Divine Office. The monks meet three times daily for the Divine Office, and they celebrate the Eucharist together daily.