Open main menu

Holy Cross Abbey (Cañon City, Colorado)

The Abbey of the Holy Cross in Cañon City, Colorado, is a former monastery of the Order of St. Benedict in the United States.[1] It existed for nearly 120 years, operating such various enterprises as a boarding school for boys and a winery. It is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Holy Cross Abbey
Holy Cross Abbey 01.JPG
Rear view of the former abbey
Monastery information
Full nameAbbey of the Holy Cross
Other namesPriory of St. Mary (former name)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Established1886 (1886)
Dedicated toExaltation of the Holy Cross
Heritage designationNational Register of Historic Places
Designated dateAugust 18, 1986
StyleGothic Revival
Completion date1925
Coordinates38°26′56″N 105°12′03″W / 38.4489°N 105.2008°W / 38.4489; -105.2008Coordinates: 38°26′56″N 105°12′03″W / 38.4489°N 105.2008°W / 38.4489; -105.2008




Two Benedictine monks were sent in 1886 from St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and traveled to Breckenridge, Colorado, to establish a monastic community in what was still frontier territory.[2] They went at the invitation of Joseph Projectus Machebeuf, then still the Vicar Apostolic for Colorado and Utah.[3] Their first foundation was the Priory of St. Mary in Boulder.[4] Other monks followed in ensuing years.

The growth of the community led the community to move to Cañon City in 1924, where a larger monastery was built in the Gothic Revival style. The house was raised to the status of an abbey at that time, and it assumed a new name. A boarding school was opened at the abbey, and initial attempts were made at establishing a winery, which were not pursued at the time.[5]

Like other religious communities in the United States, the abbey saw its numbers prosper during the 1950s and 1960s, only to see a steep decline begin after that. The abbey school was closed in 1985.[2]

By the early 2000s, the community was composed of about 20 monks, mostly elderly.[6] In an effort to find a means of income for themselves, in the year 2000 the monks decided to return to the idea of planting a vineyard again. They entrusted the production to a professional viticulturist who began to produce wine the following year.[5]


By the year 2005, however, it was determined that the monastic community was no longer viable and, in a final chapter meeting, the monks voted to dissolve it.[1] They found homes for themselves in various other monasteries, and the abbey was closed the following year in september of 2006.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Directory of Houses". The American-Cassinese Congregation. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "History". Holy Cross Abbey.
  3. ^ "Bishop Joseph Projectus Machebeuf (Macheboeuf)". Catholic Hierarchy.
  4. ^ Fellner, Felix, O.S.B. "About Us: The Wimmer Era". Saint Vincent Archabbey. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  5. ^ a b Bishop, Josh. "Holy Cross Abbey: Old Habits, New Wines". Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Holy Cross Abbey". Retrieved 26 February 2013.

External linksEdit