Our History

United in Faith

Conception Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1873 by monks from Engelberg Abbey in Switzerland. We strive to live out the Rule of St. Benedict in our lives of prayer and work so “that in all things, God may be glorified,” (Rule of St. Benedict, 57:9). 

In the effort to live out that tenet of Benedictine monasticism, we operate Conception Seminary College for the education of future diocesan priests, welcome guests at the Abbey Guest Center, and proclaim the Gospel and share the Christian faith through the creation and distribution of religious literature and artwork from The Printery House. Many of our monks also serve as parish priests, hospital and prison chaplains as well as chaplains for women’s religious communities and are involved in campus ministry at local colleges. 


United in Our Works

Our monks are involved in a variety of works that we maintain through the continued support of our friends and generous benefactors. The simple existence of a monk is succinctly defined in the order’s motto: Ora et Labora (“Pray and Work”). The monks of Conception Abbey serve and minister through our life of prayer, our ministry of education for young men entering the priesthood, and our ministry of hospitality.

The monks of Conception Abbey celebrate Mass daily. They eat together – often in silence – and they gather five times each day for the Liturgy of the Hours, services of prayer and Scripture reading.  Individual “holy reading” or lectio divina – consisting of Scripture, theology and spiritual writings – is also a scheduled part of daily life.

As administrators and members of the faculty of Conception Seminary College, the Conception monks provide spiritual, intellectual, pastoral, and human formation for young men considering a priestly vocation. Through the Abbey Guest Center, monks welcome guests to the Abbey and offer a wide array of retreats, tours and youth programs.

The monks also tend the grounds of the Abbey, work in development and finance, and the Abbey’s Printery House. We are historians, writers, scholars, teachers, musicians and artisans.

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United in Formation

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.” Rule of St. Benedict: Prologue: 45 

It is a long-standing tradition that Benedictine monks operate schools. Conception Abbey has continued that tradition since its founding in 1873.

The Mission of Conception Seminary College is the preparation of candidates for the ordained ministry in the Roman Catholic Church, through spiritual, intellectual, pastoral, and human formation in the Benedictine tradition. In order to fulfill its mission, Conception Seminary College seeks to:

  • provide a holistic approach to education, where academic, spiritual, pastoral and human formation programs complement one another; 
  • respond to the needs of the Church in preparing its prospective ministers; 
  • provide the human, financial and learning resources essential to its formational endeavors; and 
  • maintain a qualified faculty, a useful and supportive library, and effective administrative practices. 

Today, Conception Seminary College remains the resilient, focused institution that weathered the changing social winds of the past century. Conception continues to thrive, offering young men the opportunity to explore the mystery and promise of God’s call to the priesthood. 

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