A word from the Campaign Chair

Stephen and Liz ZimmerWhen the Abbey asked if I would agree to write a message on behalf of the campaign for the Saint Benedict Guesthouse and Retreat Center, I replied that I prefer to keep a low profile. But if it will help their effort to renovate their aging retreat center, I have to say “yes.”

My wife, Liz, and I became involved with the monks at Mount Angel Abbey about eight years ago. Since then, our main mission has been fundraising and providing direction for new initiatives at the Abbey.

Over these years, I have come to admire the monks and their Benedictine spirituality. Each monk is unique and has his own reasons for having joined the monastery, but the thing they have in common is an attraction to a prayerful life. Prayer is the glue that makes them a spiritual community.Visitation Garden Statue

They have a beautiful church where they gather five times a day to pray, in addition to daily Mass. They operate a seminary dedicated to the formation of priests, a world-class library, and a guesthouse focused on spiritual retreats.

Most of the facilities at the Abbey are adequate for their intended purpose, except the guesthouse and retreat center. Yet, it is needed now, more than ever, as a place of spiritual respite for Catholics, non-Catholics, clergy, and lay people. That’s why the monks have embraced the mission to transform the building.

My dear sweet wife, Liz, had a deep devotion to Mary and the rosary. She died in 2016. She would be most pleased that the renovated and expanded guesthouse will have a rosary garden with a Visitation statue (shown at right, in an architect's rendering) and quiet corners for prayer and reflection.

Right now, we have received gifts and pledges for about $8 million dollars. The total cost will come close to $15 million. My focus as a primary fundraiser is to determine how we can raise another $7 million. We are all praying the Holy Spirit will inspire the hearts of Mount Angel Abbey’s friends and supporters to complete the funding.

Please join us in prayer for this important initiative. If you have the means – or if you can influence others who have the means – consider helping with this campaign. With our help, the monks can provide a welcoming place of refuge, free of distractions, where all can encounter God and find joy, happiness, and inner peace.

Stephen Zimmer




Campaign Chair
Abbey Foundation of Oregon Trustee