Sunday at the Abbey

In February 2007, Saint John's Abbey began a series of presentations which are free and open to the public on monastic culture, spirituality, and history to inaugurate the newly renovated Abbey Chapter House and the newly constructed Guesthouse.

The presentations take place in the Abbey Chapter House at 7 p.m. and are usually on the second Sunday of the month. There are as many as eight lectures a year, from January to April and from September to December. They are given by monks of the abbey and by invited speakers.

The presentations run approximately 45 minutes in length, with a break for light refreshments, followed by 10 to 15 minutes for questions and comments. Although most of the presentations are in lecture format (making use of PowerPoint or other visual aids when possible), a variety of formats and media are often used.


Sunday at the Abbey Series


October 16, Peggy Roske

PRoske.jpgFaith, Civilization & Education: Establishing a Benedictine Culture on the Frontier

150 years ago this year the monks dedicated their first building on the shores of beautiful Lake Sagatagan and established “Saint Louis on the Lake.”  These pioneers, motivated by faith, set out to serve and to educate.  Learn about the earliest years of Benedictinism in Minnesota, when they laid the foundation – literally and metaphorically—for this place now called Saint John’s.

Peggy Landwehr Roske grew up in St. Cloud on the edge of what was once the Rothkopf claim. She was in the last class from St. Ben's High School ('73), graduated from CSB ('77), and received her Master's at UW-Madison. She served CSB/SJU as a reference librarian for 25 years, and has been the CSB/SJU Archivist for the last 10 years. Like the Benedictines', her family's roots are also deep in Stearns County and stretch back to Bavaria.

November 13, Annette Atkins

photo_of_ama.jpegThe Abbey Comes to Indian Bush

Benedictines moved out from Saint Cloud in 1856.  They went with such hopes and faith.  They met an unfamiliar landscape with a past they didn't know and a future that they couldn't quite imagine.  In this talk we'll explore these early years of the Saint John's Abbey community.


January 22, Br. Robin Pierzina


Vision and Values: A Design History of Saint John’s

Even before Saint John's Abbey was founded, Abbot Boniface Wimmer expressed a commitment "to have our monasteries [be] nurseries of the fine arts." Since Saint John's humble beginnings in the mid-nineteenth century, the arts have animated and formed the lives, lifestyle, and vision of the monastic community. During this Sunday at the Abbey presentation, through commentary and eye-statements Brother Robin will trace the history of Saint John's through the lens of design and architecture, drawing on the work and stewardship of the Campus Planning and Design Committee.

Br. Robin Pierzina, O.S.B., a graduate of Saint John’s University, professed vows as a Benedictine monk in 1977.  For thirty-one years he was an editor at Liturgical Press.  Since 2011 he has been the editor of Abbey Banner, magazine of Saint John’s Abbey.  He has also served as the chair of Saint John’s Design Committee (now Campus Planning and Design Committee) since 1984.


February 26, Tom Kroll

tom.jpgThe land, the forest and the place of agriculture at Saint John’s.

Tom Kroll will speak about the acquisition of acreage with a focus on the shift that has occurred in the past 50 years; the sale of the farm, the reclamation of wetlands, and attention to the hardwood forest.

March 19, Gary Jorgensen, Tom Vogel

Gary_J.jpgTom_V.jpgSaint John’s Energy Evolution: A look at changes in Saint John’s energy production and use across the span of 150 years on this site

Tom Vogel has worked at the Saint John's Power House in various positions since 1981. He currently serves as the Chief Operating Engineer, overseeing a staff of 6. Mr. Vogel's years of service make him a phenomenal resource on the Power House's "energy evolution" and a wonderful storyteller with firsthand knowledge of the changes that have occurred over the years – including the challenges faced and the progress made.

Gary Jorgensen has worked at Saint John’s since 1986 and has served as Physical Plant Director since December 2014. Prior to being appointed Physical Plant Director, Mr. Jorgensen served as Building and Facilities Manager for 7 years, where he managed the electrical, HVAC, carpentry, paint, and plumbing trades and gained an extensive knowledge of the campus’ building systems and infrastructure. Gary’s experience provides much insight into the operations of the Power House and the campus’ utility distribution system.