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Sunrise at the Abbey Bridge and Pond White Fawn Photo Credit Brother Paul Richards

Bethlehem and Nazareth are two of three retreat houses where men and women of all denominations are weclomed.

he Abbey of the Genesee is a community of contemplative monks belonging to the worldwide Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), more commonly known as Trappists. They were founded from the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, KY in the spring of 1951. As described in their Constitutions, the community belongs to “. . . a monastic institute wholly ordered to contemplation. The monks dedicate themselves to the worship of God in a hidden life within the monastery under the Rule of St. Benedict. They lead a monastic way of life in solitude and silence, in assiduous prayer and joyful penitence. . .�

In addition, they maintain three guest houses where individuals and groups can come for several days private retreat in a contemplative environment. Necessary to the contemplative, monastic vision is creating and maintaining an environment conducive to contemplation. To this end, they observe silence, speaking in a limited way when necessary, and exclude the use of radio and television and other irrelevant media. Prayer for the needs of the world, the Church, and for special intentions, is an important aspect of the apostolate of prayer.

Nearly everyone has a share in the common work of baking Monks’ Bread. In addition, the brothers help out insofar as they are able, with farming, cooking, maintenance, hospitality, formation and care of the infirm to mention some of the many tasks in a moderate-sized community.

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