Saint Anselm Abbey (New Hampshire)

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Not to be confused with Saint Anselm's Abbey in Washington, D.C..
Saint Anselm Abbey
Saint Anselm Abbey Manchester NH.JPG
Caption North facade of Saint Anselm Abbey
Motto Latin: Initium Sapientiae Timor Domini
Translation "The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom" (Psalm 111:10)
Established 1889
Affiliation Roman Catholic
(Order of Saint Benedict)
Abbot Right Reverend Mark Cooper, O.S.B.
Prior Reverend Mathias Durette, O.S.B.
Subprior Very Reverend Peter Guerin, O.S.B.
Street Address 100 Saint Anselm Drive
City Manchester
State NH
Zip Code 03102-1308

Saint Anselm Abbey, located in Goffstown, New Hampshire, United States, is a Benedictine abbey composed of men living under the Rule of Saint Benedict within the Catholic Church. The abbey was founded in 1889 under the patronage of Saint Anselm of Canterbury, a Benedictine monk of Bec and former archbishop of Canterbury in England. The monks are involved in the operation of Saint Anselm College. The abbey is a member of the American-Cassinese Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation.[1]


South Entrance into the abbey's cloister garden

In 1889, Denis M. Bradley, the first bishop of Manchester, New Hampshire, requested that Abbot Boniface Wimmer send monks to his diocese to create a school for French and Irish immigrants. The bishop thought that in order to create harmony among the people of his diocese the best educators for them should be German.[2] Monks from Saint Mary's Abbey in Morristown, New Jersey, were sent to found Saint Anselm Abbey in 1889.[3] When they arrived they founded St. Raphael's Parish in Manchester, and they founded Saint Anselm Preparatory School, which would later become Saint Anselm College.

Saint Anselm College[edit]

Saint Anselm College's Alumni Hall, rebuilt in 1893 after a devastating fire, was the first monastery complex for Saint Anselm Abbey.

Saint Anselm College is a nationally ranked Catholic liberal arts college in Goffstown, New Hampshire. The monks of Saint Anselm Abbey are heavily involved in the life and operation of the college. Serving as administrators, as faculty/staff members, and on the college's Board of Trustees, the monastery's approximately 30 monks fulfill their monastic calling in the work they do.[4]

Way of life[edit]

The monks of Saint Anselm Abbey follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. Benedictine life is seeking God and responding to Him in a life of prayer. This inner dynamism is really a whole way of life ordered from beginning to end to facilitate habitual union with God. It is not simply a matter of praying from time to time, alternating prayer with other activities, but of directing one's whole life to this end. His sensitivity to God's presence leads the monk to gaze with wonder and gratitude upon the gracious deeds God has wrought, not only in history, but also in his own life. It is the monk's primary duty to seek God.

Everything a monk does is meant to be a prayer, a communion with God. Formal prayer, however, is a primary means of achieving this union. His day is centered around three vital elements: the Conventual Mass, a communal celebration of the Eucharist; the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church's singing of psalms to consecrate the morning, mid-day and evening; and Lectio Divina, the ancient monastic practice of meditative reading of Sacred Scripture and other writings from a rich spiritual tradition. Lectio, which derives from one of the earliest forms of Christian prayer, is a spring refreshing the monk in his daily quest for God and reinvigorating the zeal with which he approaches his work.[5]

Monastic horarium[6][edit]

The Abbey Church is open from 6 am to 11 pm. The monks of Saint Anselm Abbey follow this schedule while college is in session:

Choir area where the monks pray the Liturgy of the Hours and celebrate Conventual Celebration of the Eucharist on weekdays and Saturdays

Celebration of the Eucharist[edit]

  • Daily Mass - 5:15 PM
  • Sunday Mass - 11 AM and 7 PM
  • Wednesday - 5:15 PM and 9 PM
  • Saturday - 11:50 AM

Liturgy of the Hours[edit]

  • Sunday
  • Monday through Saturday
    • Morning Prayer 6:00 AM
    • Daytime Prayer 12:00 PM
    • Evening Prayer 7:05 PM - Vigil Saturday 7:30 PM


From the time of its founding in 1889 until 1927, when it became an independent abbey, Saint Anselm was a dependent priory of Saint Mary's Abbey in Morristown, New Jersey. The abbots of Saint Mary's were also the abbots of Saint Anselm. Those abbots were Abbot Hilary Pfraengle and Abbot Ernest Helmstetter.[7]

  • Abbot Gerald McCarthy, O.S.B. - Abbot Gerald was elected coadjutor abbot in 1963 at Abbot Bertrand's request. Following the death of Abbot Bertrand in 1968, Abbot Gerald became the Abbot of Saint Anselm. His abbatial blessing was celebrated on September 3, 1963, by Bishop Ernest John Primeau of Manchester. Abbot Gerald retired from his abbatial duties due to declining health shortly before Christmas of 1971.[7][9]
Bishop Joseph Gerry, O.S.B. (left) and Abbot Matthew Leavy, O.S.B. (right) walking into Saint Anselm College's 2010 commencement
  • Abbot Matthew K. Leavy, O.S.B. - Abbot Matthew, a native of the Bronx, New York, took vows as a monk in 1968. Ordained to the priesthood in 1975, and having held various responsibilities in the monastery and at Saint Anselm College, he was elected the fourth Abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey on March 4, 1986, at the age of 35, after Abbot Joseph John Gerry's elevation to Auxiliary Bishop of Manchester.[14] Before being elected Abbot, he was the Prior of the Abbey. Abbot Matthew retired from his position as Abbot and Chancellor of Saint Anselm College on June 5, 2012.
Coat of arms of the abbot Mark Cooper
  • Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B. - On June 5, 2012, Abbot Mark Cooper was elected as the fifth Abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey. By virtue of his election, he consequently becomes Chancellor of Saint Anselm College. Previous to his election he managed Saint Anselm College's finances for 33 years and was set to retire as the treasurer and vice president of financial affairs. Abbot Mark professed vows as a member of the Benedictine community at Saint Anselm in 1972 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1976. He earned his bachelor's degree in political science in 1971 from Saint Anselm College. He earned an M.S.A. in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. He studied at Saint John's Seminary in Boston and St. Albert's Seminary in Oakland, California. He taught at Woodside Priory in California and received an Alumni Award of Merit in 2003 for his contributions to the growth of Saint Anselm College.[15] Abbot Mark was officially blessed as the Abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey on September 10, 2012 by his uncle Bishop Joseph Gerry, O.S.B. in the presence of the Bishop of Manchester, Peter Libasci.[16]

Community song[edit]

On feast days and at the graveside during burial of members of the community, the monastic community sings the hymn of the American-Cassinese Congregation. The hymn is sung a cappella in Latin through once, then the final two lines are repeated.[17]

Latin Text English text German text
Ultima in mortis hora,

Filium pro nobis ora,

Bonam mortem impetra,

Virgo, Mater, Domina.

When death's hour is then upon us,

To your Son pray that he grant us,

Death, both holy and serene,

Virgin Mary, Mother, Queen.

Wenn wir mit dem Tode ringen,

Wollst, Maria, uns beispringen,

Dass wir selig scheiden hin,

Jungfrau, Mutter, Königin.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parts I and II of "The American-Cassinese Congregation: Origins and Early Development (1855–1905)" by Jerome Oetgen appear in The American Benedictine Review 56:3 (Sept. 2005) 235-264 and 56:4 (Dec. 2005) 418-454.
  2. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  3. ^ "Foundations of The American-Cassinese Congregation Arranged Historically.". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  4. ^ "Monks and the College : Saint Anselm College". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  5. ^ "Benedictine Life : Saint Anselm College". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  6. ^ "Mass Schedule : Saint Anselm College". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  7. ^ a b "Electoral History | brotherisaac". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  8. ^ "Community : Saint Anselm College". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Diocese of Portland |". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  11. ^ David M. Cheney. "Bishop Joseph John Gerry [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinal of the Order of Saint Benedict. Benedictine Monks Consecrated Bishops.". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  14. ^ "Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B. : Saint Anselm College". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  15. ^ "Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B., Elected Fifth Abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey : Saint Anselm College". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  16. ^ "The Abbatial Blessing of The Right Reverend Mark Arthur Cooper, O.S.B. : Saint Anselm College". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  17. ^ "Ultima in mortis hora: Funeral Hymn of The American-Cassinese Congregation of Benedictine Monasteries.". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°59′11″N 71°30′32″W / 42.986377°N 71.508999°W / 42.986377; -71.508999