Becoming an Abbey



One year later the Priory came of age and was elevated to an Abbey. The first abbot, Father Thomas Meienhofer, was a native of Switzerland, who had entered the young and struggling American foundation as a result of some of the extensive vocation work done by the founder, Father Adelhelm. The first monks were, of course, sent out from Engelberg Abbey; the first young student monks were members of the College at Engelberg who became inflamed with missionary zeal when they heard Father Adelhelm. But with the establishment of our own college, young students from the locale began to enter the community, and thus the once Swiss-German monastery began to receive Americans of Irish, Italian, Polish as well as German extraction. The Benedictine Press played a large part in this. By its German publications it established contact with many German communities that came to send young men to Mount Angel College, some of whom stayed to be monks of Mount Angel.
The apostolates of the Abbey were diversified. Several parishes were maintained; there was the college and seminary, and there was parish assistance at diocesan parishes on weekends, and the Indian Missions of Vancouver Island.
In 1910, at the resignation of Abbot Thomas, the community elected Father Placidus Fuerst as its second abbot, and he presided over a decade of growth in personnel and consolidation of the various apostolates. Abbot Placidus resigned his office in 1921, and the community elected an Irishman as third abbot, Father Bernard Murphy, a native of nearby Portland. More >>