Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

Abbey of Our Lady of the Prairies
Rue des Ruines du Monastère,
St. Norbert

Abbey of Our Lady of the Prairies rue du Monastère, St. Norbert
Designation Date: January 25, 1988
Designation Authority: Honourable Judy Wasylycia-Leis,
Minister of Culture, Heritage and Recreation
Present Owner: The Province of Manitoba

Monsignor Ritchot, parish priest of St. Norbert, and Archbishop Taché of St. Boniface invited five Cistercians of the Trappist Order from the Abbey of Bellefontaine, France, to establish a monastery here in l892. The community was named Our Lady of the Prairies. The Romanesque Revival church was built in l903-04 and the connecting monastic wing in l905. The guesthouse was erected in l9l2 on the foundations of the first church building. This self-sufficient monastery included milking barns, stables, a cheese house, apiary, sawmill, and cannery.

By l978, the Trappists had moved to a site near Holland, Manitoba, to protect their contemplative life from the effects of urban sprawl. Fire gutted the vacated church and residential wing five years later.