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Saint Martin's Abbey

The Benedictine Abbey of Saint Martin's, founded in Lacey, Washington in 1895 as a monastery of the American Cassinese Congregation, is a community of Roman Catholic men dedicated to providing Christian witness in the Pacific Northwest through its monastic life of prayer and work, education and service to the Church. Saint Martin's Abbey fulfills its mission through liturgical prayer and worship, through its support of Saint Martin's University and through its pastoral service to the local Church.
Saint Martin's Abbey
Saint Martin's Abbey
Join us for our next vocation discernment retreat in March! Catholic men ages 18-35 are invited to spend a weekend in our guesthouse, to join the monks in prayer and work, and to attend conferences on the lessons of our earliest eremetical forbearers. Contact Br. Pachomius to RSVP or inquire.
Saint Martin's Abbey
Saint Martin's Abbey
Happy Catholic Schools Week!
Saint Martin's Abbey
Saint Martin's Abbey
This school year, Saint Martin’s University is celebrating the Year of Belonging. For Catholic Schools Week, we’d like to offer a reflection on “belonging” from the Catholic cornerstone of our Benedictine charism. Although the seminal text of our religious order and the mission of our university is found in the Rule of Benedict, it would be shortsighted to ignore the fact that this very short rule is permeated with Scripture and the doctrines of the early councils (in fact, the Rule of Benedict contains more than 300 quotations or allusions to Holy Scripture!). But from where in Catholic thought does the idea of “belonging” come?

Fr. Andrew Greeley observes in his book, The Catholic Imagination, that “Catholics live in an enchanted world, a world of statues and holy water, stained-glass and votive candles, saints and religious medals, rosary beads and holy pictures. But these Catholic paraphernalia are mere hints at a deeper and more pervasive religious sensibility which inclines Catholics to see the Holy lurking in creation. As Catholics, we find our houses and our world haunted by a sense that the objects, events, and persons of daily life are revelations of grace…”

Catholics live in a world physically infused with grace—that is, with the mark of its Creator—a thought that finds its origins in the doctrine of the Incarnation. In a few days, we’ll celebrate Candlemas: according to the old Latin rite, it is the conclusion of the Christmas season (the preeminent celebration of the Incarnation) with its own emphases on the physical things around us pointing to God, such as light and even darkness (cf. Daniel 3:72). “Everything in creation, from the exploding cosmos to the whirling, dancing, and utterly mysterious quantum particles, discloses something about God and, in so doing, brings God among us,” Fr. Greeley notes.

If this is true for inanimate matter, then how much more must it be true for those beings made in the very image of God! Lest we think that by “creation”, we only mean the distant origin of the universe (as if it were a one-time event), let’s see Rowan Williams’ poignant insight from his book, Tokens of Trust: “Creation isn’t a theory about how things started; as St. Thomas Aquinas said, it’s a way of seeing everything in relation to God. Whatever you encounter is there because God chose that it should be there.” Let’s take that one step further: whoever you encounter is there because God chose that person to be there.

Our Catholic conviction drives the point home even further: for a Catholic school, this cannot be merely a nice idea, driven by a god of our own imagination, from our favorite religion among many religions. The Catholic conviction that revelation is a source of knowledge gives this belief a sense of urgency and solemnity. Catholics do not have the option to choose who is holy and who is unholy, who is a friend and who is an enemy; all must be embraced as Christ and all are manifestations of God’s love. In The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis expressively said that “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. . . it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.”

You belong here! Whether current student or staff, retired or alum, friend of the community or visiting applicant, Catholic or not, we believe that God has brought you into existence for a very meaningful and purposeful reason ("you have a mission, which has been given to nobody else but you," St. John Henry Newman once said), and that mysterious reason is behind your presence with us here today.

For all those students, staff, alumni, friends, colleagues, visitors, and everyone else who has passed through our doors, whether for a short stay or for life, the monks of Saint Martin’s Abbey want to say thank you for bringing God’s grace and charity to us. And let us continue to work together toward a more loving, inclusive, and faithful university!

You belong here!

Br. Damien-Joseph Rappuhn, OSB