Things don’t last forever, but experiences can last a lifetime. I love learning about different cultures and religions around the world. The Abbey of the Genesee is right in our backyard but makes you feel like you stepped into a whole new world. If you haven’t experienced the Abbey of the Genesee, here’s why you should (the Monks Bread alone should be reason enough!).
The Abbey of the Genesee – Trappists Monks & Monk Bread
The Abbey of Genesee is located just north of Geneseo, New York which is 45 minutes southwest of Rochester New York and 1 hour and 30 minutes east of Niagara Falls NY.
What Is the Abbey of the Genesee?
The Abbey of the Genesee is a group of Roman Catholic monks that belong to the worldwide order of the Cistercians or Trappists. Their lives are dedicated to seeking complete union with God through Jesus Christ. Some of the monks are priests, but not all are. All monks answer to the Pope and only talk when they are working in the public.
Although they spend most of their time working and praying behind the walls, they keep themselves current on what is going on in the world around them. These guys pray via mass or chanting 7 times a day and they start their days early at 3:15 am! I hope they are allowed to have coffee! You can see their full schedule online.
Their way of life is an experience you don’t want to miss.
You Can Participate
As a visitor, you are able to watch daily services and chanting. Visitors are always welcome to join the community for church or liturgical prayer. They do ask you are quite as this is their prayer time.
When there is not a prayer time you are welcome to tour the chapel and trust me you will want to it's just beautiful! The back wall has all colors of stained glass windows.
The visitors are kept separate from the Monks during worship and during your tour, you can see the separation wall as well.
The stone and stained glass follow the whole chapel.
While visiting you can't go into the back, the Monks private area but you can see a few of the rooms on their virtual tours on their website.
A porter is, also, available throughout the day to assist and answer any questions you may have. Many times you will find one of the Monks in the store and public areas. They are very friendly and fun to talk to. When I was there I met Brother Christian. He is 86 and has been a Monk since he was 21 when he joined and gave up a pro baseball career to join! He has quite a sense of humor he had me cracking up as the picture was being taken.
Before you plan a visit, make sure to check the Liturgical schedule to see when the best times to visit would be.
The picturesque grounds, also, provide a quiet and tranquil setting to reflect, pray, walk, or sit. They are located outside the city with lots of farmland to grow the items needed for their Monks Bread (see below!) The view in the picture below is from one of the windows on the property.
Shop for Monk Bread
One of the best things about the Abbey of Genesee is the Monks Bread. Because Monk’s don’t use any spreads on their bread, the bread must taste good enough to eat plain. BR Sylvester was one to create that kind of loaf. As people began to try the Monks Bread, requests to buy the bread came pouring in. Because the industry became so successful, Abbey of Genesee was able to obtain financial autonomy within its first year.
Not only do they make delicious bread, but you can find fruit bars, fruit cakes, and coffee at the bakery as well. While I love their sunflower bread here are some you should try if you get the chance!
The bread store has become so popular they are having to expand! That's a good problem to have right?
Make your experiences complete by visiting the Abbey of the Genesee. It is an amazing experience of learning religion, culture, and the power of restraint.
If you have visited I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below!