Clear Creek Monastery

The Abbey Church of Fontgombault
You may already know of the new Benedictine monastery going up in Oklahoma. Its a monastery of the Solesmes congregation in France, and an offshoot of the famous Abbey of Fontgombault. I haven’t been there yet, but hope to visit next Spring while on a speaking tour of Oklahoma. The monks are young, eager and very traditional. You can look and learn more about Clear Creek here. There are lots of pictures of the monks and the building work going on.

The Benedictines are so great. The ones I know are so dignified, intelligent and always with a sense of humor. Because they take a vow of stability they have an especially keen sense of place. They keep going back to their old medieval monasteries and re-building them, or at least sending a few monks to live in a house near the site. The story of Fontgombault itself is one of medieval glory, destruction through the various French revolutions, and resurrection as the monks eventually returned. Solesmes is the same…a little medieval priory brought back to life and restored to glory. Quarr Abbey in England is similar. A new abbey built just a few hundred yards from the ruins of a medieval house.

I asked a monk at Downside Abbey about this once. He smiled a monkish sort of smile and said, “We’re like weeds. We keep coming back.”

I miss visiting the monasteries in England and France, and need to get to know the ones here in the USA. For the next few days I am going to try to do some posts on the Benedictine Way. I hope they appeal.
About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • Ken

    Father, they also exclusively celebrate the Traditional Roman Mass (62).

  • Kathy

    Clear Creek is located in a quiet and rural forested area in NE Ok. Currenty the chapel is in a metal building and visitors are welcome to celebrate Mass at 10am after liturgy of the hours. It is a wonderful experience. Suggest however that you make sure that roads are open, can be a tricky drive to get there especially after the rains that we have been experiencing in NE OK.

  • Anonymous

    I told this story when I was teaching at the FSSP seminary,t then later when I was giving some talks to the monks at Clear Creek last November. In 1972 four of us from the Univ of Kansas discovered Fontgombault. After a few months there I left for a while to visit Rome, where I met Cardinal Wright. When he asked what I was doing in Europe, I said I had been staying at the abbey of Fontgombault. Puzzled, he replied: “Fontainebleau?” “No, Fontgombault.” The same exchange occurred a couple of more times in our conversation: “Did you say Fontainebleau?” “No, I said Fontgombault.”Fast forward to April 19, 2005, when the man ascending the throne of St Peter not only knows Fontgombault from Fontainebleau, but has for some years been a friend of the abbot, and has even visited the abbey.

  • okie

    FATHER! You are going to visit us okies! that is great news to hear! is there anyway i can contact you about your future visit… the reason is two fold. One, I know some great places you should visit while here, but more important, i know people who know the area better than me! second, I am teaching an intro to Roman Catholicism class, and specifically, I’m having my students read your St. Benedict/ St. Therese book, so if by providence you are in Red Dirt country while this is going on, I could suggest the students make it to one of your talks. do you have an email address where i could at least write you and receive the dates you will be here? Please let me know…this could be such a wonderful opportunity.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    okie: 12 April next year: Oklahoma City. You should be able to use the ‘email me’ link in the blog or my profile or through my website.

  • Anonymous

    Father, a religious community I know of in Massachusetts just bought (on 11/16/07) a vestment set from Adrian Hamers — a Fraefel set. Is it true that your community just acquired a similar set? Paula