Hilltop Walking Tour
HILLTOP WALKING TOUR
- Saint Benedict Guesthouse and Retreat Center welcomes people of all faiths to spend time in prayer and quiet reflection. To learn more, call 503-845-3025 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (The Guesthouse is open while renovation work is ongoing.)
- The Abbey Museum, on the lower level of the monastery, houses an unusual collection of historical artifacts, including a North American mammal collection. Visitors are welcome daily from 10–11:30 a.m. and 1–5 p.m.
- The Guardian Angel statue survived a catastrophic 1926 fire at the Abbey, and has welcomed guests for more than a century.
- The Bell Tower houses eight cast-bronze bells that call the monks to prayer. Each bell is named after a saint, and the largest weighs more than four tons. They are the largest free-swinging bells on the West Coast.
- The Romanesque-style Abbey Church is the center of life on the Hilltop. You are welcome to gather with the monks for prayer (schedule on back) or just enjoy the art, architecture and silence. Monks gather at night around the Blessed Mother statue near the front of the church, to sing traditional hymns in honor of Mary. The statue was carved in Austria in a 16th-century style and given to the Abbey in the 1930s. Other statues include the sixth-century Saint Benedict and his twin sister Saint Scholastica. The Martin Ott Pipe Organ in the choir loft features 2,478 pipes. The choir stalls, front corridors and sanctuary are restricted to the monks.
- Monks live in the Monastery, the largest building on the Hilltop, located behind the church. Life for the monks is a gentle and regular rhythm of prayer and work.
- The Sacred Heart of Jesus statue offers refuge in front of the monastery. On clear days, look to the northeast for some stunning views of Mount Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon (11,234 feet). In the distance are Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, all in Washington.
- Aquinas Hall houses theology students studying to be Catholic priests. Enjoy the beauty of the majestic Cedar of Lebanon tree to the left of the entrance.
- Mount Angel Abbey Library, a sleek, modernist-style building designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aälto, houses one of the most significant theological libraries in the Pacific Northwest.
- Anselm Hall provides classrooms and housing for students studying at Mount Angel Seminary, the oldest Catholic seminary west of the Rocky Mountains.
- The Old Fort is not open to the public. It was built in 1904 from rocks quarried on the hilltop and has had various uses over the years, including art, pottery and candle-making studios.
- The Abbey Book Store and Coffee House is located in the Press Building, which is also home to the Saint Benedict Post Office and the business and development offices. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with espresso available until 3 p.m.
- The Monks' Cemetery includes the oldest building at the Abbey, a tiny chapel – the first on the Hilltop – built in 1883.
- The Damian Center is home to the annual Abbey Bach Festival and other cultural events, and also hosts seminary classes and student athletic activities. (Not open to the public.)
- Annunciation Hall houses classrooms and offices for Mount Angel Seminary. Mosaic icons, including “The Annunciation” in the entrance, were designed by Brother Claude Lane, an Abbey monk. (Not open to the public.)
Fourteen Stations of the Cross line the entrance road, each recalling the suffering and death of Jesus. The statuary is from Munich, Germany, and dates to 1889. Pilgrims often walk this path in prayer, and visit the Grotto of Mary at the top of the hill.
Parking is available below the Guest House and in front of the Press Building, and handicapped parking is available on the side of Damian Center. Visitors can access the mall through a guesthouse elevator or through sets of stairs, located near the Guest House and Annunciation Hall.
Due to the renovation and expansion of the Abbey's guesthouse and retreat center, the turnaround and elevator from the south side parking level to the Abbey mall and church level will be closed from June 11 through the summer months of 2018. There are spaces reserved on the mall level on the north side of the Damian Center, #14 on this Walking Tour map, for vehicles with disabled parking permits.