Abbey History

In 1882 a small group of Benedictine monks arrived in Oregon to found an abbey similar to the one they had left behind in Switzerland.

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Before Mount Angel Abbey officially began in 1882, it existed in the mind of Father Adelhelm Odermatt, a monk of Engelberg Abbey working in Missouri with the new foundation at Conception Junction.
The Early years


He lived for several years in close contact with Father, (soon to be Abbot) Frowin Conrad, a fellow monk, who was the founding superior of the new Swiss foundation. But Father Adelhelm did not like some of the changes that Father Frowin made; they were, after all, supposed to found a monastery that would serve as a place of refuge, should their own abbey in Switzerland be suppressed. So, with a companion, Father Nicholas Frei, he began searching for a site to make yet another foundation, this one less influenced by the German Beuronese reform movement. He traveled and explored Omaha, Denver, San Francisco and the valleys around Santa Barbara, as well as the shores of Puget Sound in Washington. He settled on the Butte near the town of Fillmore in western Oregon and renamed the site Mount Angel, which is simply a translation of the name of his Mother-Abbey of Engelberg. More >>