The History of Nuesrta Señora de los Angeles Cuernavaca, Morelos México

communityReligious persecutions were still underway, so he was unable to stay for very long. He returned to Mexico in 1942 and established a school, remaining for three years until he was called back to serve as a parish priest in Portland, Oregon.

In 1957 a young monk from Mount Angel who was studying for the priesthood requested permission to transfer to the Diocese of Cuernavaca. His request was granted and he encouraged his new bishop to send students to Mount Angel Seminary beginning in 1959. Gradually their number increased during the 1960's. Interest in Mexico was growing at the Abbey, and in 1960 Pope John XXIII addressed the urgent need for priests and religious to help in Latin America, including the need to promote vocations there. A year later, Bishop Sergio Mendez of Cuernavaca, Mexico wrote a letter to Abbot Damian Jengtes, O.S.B. of Mount Angel Abbey issuing a formal invitation to open a major seminary in his diocese.

The next three years consisted of negotiations, surveys, and thoughtful consideration between the monks at Mount Angel Abbey and Bishop Mendez. In December of 1964, the chapter voted to accept the invitation and establish a foundation the following summer. On August 22, 1965 Fr. Ambrose Zenner, O.S.B. left the United States for Mexico. He attended a language school for four months in Mexico City while visiting property that the bishop offered for the foundation's use. Fr. Ambrose found temporary lodgings for the fledgling priory and immediately took over the seminary program for the diocese at the request of Bishop Mendez. Brother Boniface Arechederra Arocena, O.S.B. was assigned to follow Fr. Ambrose down to Cuernavaca in December to assist in establishing the new foundation and overseeing the seminary duties.

Over the next few years more monks went to help get the fledgling priory up and running. A location was settled upon, and construction began, including the arduous process of incorporation and applying for the proper permits under Mexican law. A modest dwelling was built for the monastery that rests at the bottom of a hill where the current abbey sits. This dwelling is now used as a retreat center and guesthouse in the true spirit of Benedictine hospitality. The land was cultivated and candidates began to arrive in response to vocations.

The priory of Our Lady of Angels is growing and has become a welcoming place for contemplation and a great source of light in the community by ministering to all and caring for the needs of the sick and the poor.