Abbatial Blessing of Sister Benedict McLaughlin, OSB

Immaculate Heart of Mary Abbey in Westfield, Vermont

Holy Mass to be celebrated at Mater Dei Parish (191 Clermont Terrace, Newport) 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 11

Hidden in the heart of rural Vermont, in the heart of the Church, the nuns of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Abbey dedicate their lives to seeking God in His infinite beauty. Remaining close to His Word by a rich tradition of liturgical prayer and Gregorian chant, we contemplate, praise, and thank Him, giving voice to the needs of all humanity and creation. Our community life is lived in simplicity, obedience and joy under the Rule of St. Benedict.

On Nov. 11, the faithful of the Diocese of Burlington will join the Benedictine nuns of Immaculate Heart of Mary Abbey in Westfield as they celebrate the elevation of their monastery to an abbey and the election and blessing of their first abbess, Sister Benedict McLaughlin, OSB. This recognition makes this a momentous day for not only the Benedictine Community but for the entire Diocese of Burlington. The abbey is a part of the congregation of monks and nuns originally founded in Solesmes, France, and present in 11 countries of Europe, Africa, North American, and Central America. The abbey in Westfield was founded as a monastery in 1981, connected with the Abbaye Sainte-Marie de Deux-Montagnes, near Montreal. This year, due to the community’s stability and growth, the monastery was elevated to the rank of an abbey. On Sept. 21, Sister Benedict was elected as the first abbess of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Abbey. There will be a special Mass that includes the Rite of Blessing of an Abbess on Nov. 11, presided over by the Abbot of Solesmes. Joining him will be the abbots and abbesses from the various Benedictine religious communities that make up the Congregation of Solesmes throughout the world, as well as other priests and members of consecrated life.

This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime blessing for both the new abbey and Diocese of Burlington, and we are grateful to invite as many as possible to experience this event.

—Originally published in the Nov. 4-10, 2023, edition of The Inland See.