History

The Monastery of Our Lady of the Desert was founded on February 2, 1990, to reflect the feminine expression of desert monasticism.  Click below to view a history of our 25 years of Blessings!                                                                                  

25th_anniv

 

Sister Julianne, former member of the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, an active community, was an educator, principal of a school, dorm mother of young women, spiritual director, accountant.  She was appointed superior of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Desert on August 30, 1991.  With her expertise and accreditation of spiritual direction, education, and theological and canonical directives, she has lead and developed a deeper stability and a clearer direction of our monastic life.  Also, during her term of office, she succeeded in raising the funds to construct a new necessary addition to house women.

View of our cells in Abiquiu
View of our cells in Abiquiu

Sister Julianne retired as Superior at the end of April, 2004, but still leads us by giving classes, acting as consultant, and formator.  We appreciate her 13 years of service as Prioress!

June 2000 we became a dependent daughter house of the Abbey of the Presentation of the Lord, Jamberoo, New South Wales, Australia.  The nuns of this abbey, founded in 1849, Benedictine Nuns – Diocese of Wollongong in Australia (Nuns), subject directly to the Abbot President of the Subiaco Congregation. – The Subiaco Cassinese Congregation is an international union of Benedictine houses within the Benedictine Confederation.   It developed from the Subiaco Congregation, which was formed in 1867 as a reform of the way of life of monasteries of the Cassinese Congregation, formed in 1408, toward a stricter contemplative observance, and received final approval in 1872 by Pope Pius IX. After discussions between the two congregations at the start of the 21st century, approval was given by Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 for the incorporation of the Cassinese Congregation into its offshoot, the Subiaco Congregation. The expanded congregation was given this new name. – Although geographically a long way from New Mexico, and with the communication technology of the 21st century, it is easy to be in regular contact with Jamberoo Abbey. We also follow their constitutions and share the same day of foundation, February 2nd, feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple (story told in Luke 2:22-29).

Altar at the Abbey of Jamberoo, Australia
Sister Benedicta, appointed Prioress on February 6, 2005 – December 31, 2016

After the readings by Sister Antonia and Sister Maureen Therese, there was one minute of silence and blessing of the Prioress designated by Sister Antonia.  At the indication of Sister Antonia, the sisters were invited to raise and extend their hand toward Sister Benedicta in the blessing.

Through the intercession of St. Joseph, Shadow of the Father, we were deeded 40 acres of property in Gobernador, New Mexico, through the generosity of Jose and Florence Florez, deeded to us on June 11, 2007 and on June 13, 2008, we moved to our temporary home in Blanco, NM, at the St. Rose of Lima Parish.  Rev. Fr. Jim Walker, and all his staff at the time were and continue to support our efforts.

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In August 2009, the sisters started moving to the Gobernador property in a double-wide and two-single modular buildings.  This has been a challenge but we are home, thanks to God.

Prioress Hilda, appointed on January 1, 2017, by Mother Mary Barnes, Abbess of the Benedictine Abbey of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, Jamberoo, Abbey.

Our Future – Continue our Journey of Trust in living the Benedictine way of Life; a Benedictine spirituality for the laity according to the Rule of St. Benedict; receive guests to come and join us to live fully the Benedictine life of prayer, work and hospitality.  Invite others to hold meetings, conferences, seminars in the St. Joseph Center.