Hands of the Monks

Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey is a Benedictine community belonging to the Solesmes Congregation. It was founded in 1999 from Abbaye Notre-Dame de Fontgombault in France and is located in the diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Having been erected as a simple priory in 2000, Clear Creek became an abbey in 2010. The community currently counts 50 monks.

Like the other monasteries of the Solesmes Congregation, Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey, having devoted itself from the outset wholly to the service of God in the hidden life, is to be counted among the institutes entirely ordered towards contemplation. By virtue of their vocation, the monks devote themselves to God alone in silence and in solitude, in constant prayer, and willing penance.

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Horarium

Daily Schedule
Rise
4:50 AM Rise

...and rising to the Work of God, let them gently encourage one another... The Holy Rule, chapter XXII

Matins
5:15 AM Matins

...and let us rise at night to praise Him... The Holy Rule, chapter XVI

Lauds
6:15 AM Lauds

Therefore, let us consider how it becometh us to behave in the sight of God and His angels, and let us so stand to sing, that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.
The Holy Rule, chapter XIX

Low Mass
6:50 AM Low Mass

And let us be assured that it is not in many words, but in the purity of heart and tears of compunction that we are heard.
The Holy Rule, chapter XX

Prime
8:00 AM Prime

"Seven times a day I have given praise to Thee" (Ps 118:164).

Lectio Divina
9:00 AM Lectio Divina

Idleness is the enemy of the soul; and therefore the brethren ought to be employed in manual labor at certain times, at others, in devout reading. The Holy Rule, chapter XLVIII

Terce, High Mass
10:00 AM Terce, High Mass

Let us, therefore, always be mindful of what the Prophet saith, "Serve ye the Lord with fear" (Ps 2:11). And again, "Sing ye wisely" (Ps 46:8). And, "I will sing praise to Thee in the sight of the angels" (Ps 137:1).
The Holy Rule, chapter XIX

Study or Work
11:15 AM Study or Work

If, however, the needs of the place, or poverty should require that they do the work of gathering the harvest themselves, let them not be downcast, for then are they monks in truth, if they live by the work of their hands, as did also our forefathers and the Apostles.
The Holy Rule, chapter XLVIII

Sext
12:50 PM Sext

Let the oratory be what it is called, and let nothing else be done or stored there.
The Holy Rule, chapter LII

Recreation
2:00 PM Recreation

Let them practice fraternal charity with a chaste love. The Holy Rule, chapter LXXII

None
2:35 PM None

In the first place, beg of Him by most earnest prayer, that He perfect whatever good thou dost begin, in order that He who hath been pleased to count us in the number of His children, need never be grieved at our evil deeds.
The Holy Rule, Prologue.

Manual Labor
3:00 PM Manual Labor

If there be skilled workmen in the monastery, let them work at their art in all humility, if the Abbot giveth his permission.
The Holy Rule, chapter LVII

Vespers
6:00 PM Vespers

But as we advance in the religious life and faith, we shall run the way of God's commandments with expanded hearts and unspeakable sweetness of love...
The Holy Rule, Prologue

Silent Prayer
6:30 PM Silent Prayer

But if perhaps another desireth to pray alone in private, let him enter with simplicity and pray, not with a loud voice, but with tears and fervor of heart.
The Holy Rule, chapter LII

Lectio Divina or Conference
7:00 PM Lectio Divina or Conference

For what page or what utterance of the divinely inspired books of the Old and the New Testament is not a most exact rule of human life? Or, what book of the holy Catholic Fathers doth not loudly proclaim how we may go straight to our Creator?
The Holy Rule, chapter LXXIII

Compline
8:25 PM Compline

Monks should always be given to silence, especially, however, during the hours of the night.
The Holy Rule, chapter XLII

Rest
9:00 PM Rest

Let them sleep clothed and girded with cinctures or cords, that they may be always ready...
The Holy Rule, chapter XXII

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Even for monks playfulness may become a moral virtue.

The Right Rev. Dom Paul Delatte, Third Abbot of Solesmes

...let us so stand to sing, that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.

In keeping with the traditional motto of the Benedictines, Ora et Labora – Pray and Work, the monks come to the church seven times each day and once at night to praise God in liturgical prayer. Much of this liturgical prayer is sung in Gregorian chant. At other times they engage in manual labor at the ranch or in the various workshops of the abbey.

 

 

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Origo

History and Origins
The Integrated Humanities Program
The Integrated Humanities Program

The Integrated Humanities Program

In the 1970s, at the University of Kansas, three professors inaugurated a Great Books program (Pearson Integrated Humanities Program, or PIHP) with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through their study of Western Civilization, a number of these students became interested in monastic life and found their way to Notre-Dame de Fontgombault Abbey in France. Some entered the novitiate, hoping to be part of a new monastic foundation in America some day.

Blossoming of Vocations at Fontgombault Abbey

Blossoming of Vocations at Fontgombault Abbey

When the American university students arrived at the French abbey, they found it flourishing with many vocations, despite the crisis of vocations going on almost everywhere else. There were so many vocations that Fontgombault had to found new monasteries. As the American novices needed to get a solid formation, the project to found in America was put off for many years, but not forgotten.

Long-Awaited Foundation in America
Long-Awaited Foundation in America

Long-Awaited Foundation in America

Beginning in 1991, Dom Antoine Forgeot, abbot of Notre-Dame de Fontgombault Abbey began to make exploratory trips to the United States, accompanied by Dom Francis Bethel. After visiting many sites in several states and after many hesitations, a property was found in 1998, in the diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, that struck the abbot and many others as very well suited for the American foundation. It was a ranch located along Clear Creek. The idea was approved by the Chapter of the French abbey and on the feast of the Assumption of that same year 1998, a charter was signed between the abbot of Fontgombault and the bishop of Tulsa formally recognizing the existence of the new foundation.

Monastic Life begins at Clear Creek

Monastic Life begins at Clear Creek

On September 15th, 1999, the main group of founders arrived in Oklahoma by plane from France. A pilot group had preceded them to get things set up to receive the main body of founders. On the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11th, 2000, the little Priory of Our Lady of Clear Creek was officially inaugurated in the presence of Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, of Bishop Basil Meeking of Christchurch, New Zealand, of Abbot Antoine Forgeot, and of a host of priests and friends of the new community.

“Cowboy Bethlehem” of Early Years
“Cowboy Bethlehem” of Early Years

“Cowboy Bethlehem” of Early Years

The first monastery was established, partially, in a large log cabin and, partially, in a barn and stable, where the previous owners had kept their saddle horses.  The horse stalls became monastic cells, and the barn became the first chapel.  Small wooden tool sheds were added as additional cells for new postulants as they arrived.  Larger accommodations had to be provided for.  A professor of Notre Dame University, Thomas Gordon Smith, was selected to be the new monastery’s architect, and plans were drawn up for a spacious monastery of Romanesque inspiration to be built of stone and brick on a hill above Clear Creek.

The Big Move

The Big Move

By the morning of January 2, 2008, much had been accomplished.  In 2003 a stone bridge had been erected over Little Clear Creek; the foundations for the church and a residence building had been poured; the first stone had been blessed by the bishop of Tulsa. Then, in 2007, the crypt of the church and the first residential building had been completed.  It was time to move into the permanent monastery.  Despite the cold temperature that morning (12 degrees F.), an army of monks, neighbors, and friends, driving every imaginable type of vehicle, was on the move, under the guidance of a monk with a walkie-talkie.  Teams in trucks and tractors took load after load up to the community’s new site.  By the end of the day the monks were entirely exhausted, but the monastery was installed in its new and definitive home (at least this side of Heaven).  On May 12th of the same year, Bishop Slattery and a great number of friends were on hand for the blessing of the new monastery.

Elevation to the Status of Abbey
Elevation to the Status of Abbey

Elevation to the Status of Abbey

Once installed in its definitive location, the community continued to grow.  On February 10, 2010, having gathered the community in the Chapter Room, Dom Antoine Forgeot, abbot of Notre-Dame de Fontgombault, announced to the monks the canonical elevation of the simple Priory of Our Lady of Clear Creek to the status of abbey sui juris.  The next day, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Father Philip Anderson was named the first abbot of Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey. The blessing of the new abbot took place on the following April 10th.

The Building of the Abbey Continues

The Building of the Abbey Continues

Thanks to a large gift received in 2009, construction on the church was able to move forward in 2011.  The west façade, the nave, and the transept were raised to half their intended height.  A roof was put over this new structure, allowing it to be used already as a church.  In 2013 the schematic architectural plans for the remaining buildings were completed.  A contract for the construction of the church’s eastern portion, or chevet, was signed on March 10, 2016.

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We shall run the way of God's commandment's with expanded hearts and unspeakable sweetness of love.

From the Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue

Patriarch of the Monks of the West

Saint Benedict, the patriarch of western monks, lived in Italy in the 6th century. He was heir to a monastic tradition that dates back to the first centuries of the Church and has its source in the Gospel: “As for yourselves,” says Jesus, “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience are means recommended by Christ for speeding the reign of love in souls, in which Christian perfection consists. To help them become perfect, Saint Benedict proposes to his disciples to seek God by living these counsels in monastic community under the authority of the Rule and of an Abbot who will be their spiritual father.

clear-creek-abbey-benedict-medal

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