Saint Louis Abbey
The Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis, in
St. Louis, Missouri, USAwas founded at the invitation of prominent St. Louis Catholics, by monks of the BenedictineAmpleforth Abbey in York, England. The Priory, which is a member of the English Benedictine Congregation, became independent of Ampleforthin 1973, and was elevated to an Abbeyin 1989.
The founding prior (1955-1967) was the noted author, monastic leader and former titular
Abbotof Westminster Reverend Columba Cary-Elwes. Abbot Luke Rigby (1926-) was elected to be the first Abbot of Saint Louis Abbey in 1989.Fr. Thomas Frerking, O.S.B., a Rhodes Scholarand university professor, was elected to serve as Abbot of the Saint Louis Abbey, on July 12, 1995.
The abbey runs the
Saint Louis Priory School.
The Abbey Church (1962), also known as the Church of St. Mary and St. Louis and the Priory Chapel was designed by Gyo Obata of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, with the famous Italian architect and engineer Pier Luigi Nervi serving as consultant. The Abbey Church was an important landmark and name-making project for HOK, now the world's largest architectural practice (according to the 2006 edition of the BD World Architecture 200). The church's circular facade consists of three tiers of whitewashed, thin-poured concrete parabolic arches, the top one forming a bell-tower; the arches appear to float upwards from their grassy base. They are faced with dark insulated-fiberglass polyester window walls which create a meditative translucency when viewed from within. The church also contains a 14th century sculpture of the Madonna and Christ child, a 17th century holy font in the Della Robbia style, and more modern sacred art by artists from the United States, Great Britain, Spain, and France. On the grounds outside the church sit life-size sculptures of the abbey's patron saints, Saint Benedict, by Lithuanian-born artist
Wiktor Szostalo, and the Holy Blessed Virgin Mother Mary, Our Lady of Grace, by American Philip Howie. The Abbey Church also serves as the home church for the Saint Louis Archdiocese parish of Saint Anselm's.
* [http://www.stlouisabbey.org/monks/paul.php Saint Louis Abbey Website]
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