Belmont Abbey, North Carolina

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Belmont Abbey
Belmont Abbey, North Carolina is located in North Carolina
Belmont Abbey, North Carolina
Location within North Carolina
Monastery information
Full nameAbbey of Mary, Help of Christians
EstablishedApril 1876
Mother houseSt. Vincent Archabbey
Dedicated toMary, Help of Christians
Controlled churchesCathedral Basilica of St. Mary
Founder(s)Dom Herman Wolfe, O.S.B.
AbbotThe Rt. Rev. Placid Solari, O.S.B.
Important associated figuresAbbot-Bishop Leo Haid, O.S.B.
Heritage designationNational Register of Historic Places
StyleGothic Revival
LocationBelmont, North Carolina, United States
Coordinates35°15′41″N 81°02′38″W / 35.2613°N 81.0438°W / 35.2613; -81.0438Coordinates: 35°15′41″N 81°02′38″W / 35.2613°N 81.0438°W / 35.2613; -81.0438
Belmont Abbey Cathedral
NRHP reference #73001343
Added to NRHPApril 11, 1973

The Abbey of Mary Help of Christians, better known as Belmont Abbey, is a small American monastery of Benedictine monks and Basilica[1] in the town of Belmont, Gaston County, North Carolina, outside of Charlotte, North Carolina.[1]


The abbey was founded in 1876 by Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and is the motherhouse to Saint Leo Abbey in Tampa, Florida, as well as Mary Mother of the Church Abbey in Richmond, Virginia. The monks also are the benefactors of Belmont Abbey College, a four-year Catholic liberal arts school.

From 1910 through 1977, Belmont Abbey was a territorial abbey, exercising some functions of a diocese. It had authority over parishes in the North Carolina counties of Gaston, Catawba, Cleveland, Burke, Lincoln, McDowell, Polk, and Rutherford. In 1944, its territory, except for Gaston County, was given to the Diocese of Raleigh. In July 1960, Gaston County too was placed under the Diocese of Raleigh. In 1977, its status as a territorial abbey was suppressed under the Diocese of Charlotte.[2]

Belmont Abbey basilica was built between 1892 and 1894, and is a large cruciform plan, Gothic Revival style brick church. It has a steep gable roof and the front facade features two towers of unequal size.[3]

The cathedral was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.[3]

The abbey currently numbers about twenty monks.

Dates of interest[edit]

  • April 21, 1876 Herman Wolfe, O.S.B., the first Benedictine monk to serve at Belmont, arrived, accompanied by the first two students for the new college.
  • July 10, 1886 For the first time an alumnus of the college was received as a novice in the monastery.
  • July 11, 1886 The first three novices professed vows for the new abbey in North Carolina.
  • May 7, 1891 The monastery's Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes was blessed by Abbot-Bishop Leo Haid, O.S.B. It was designated as a pilgrimage shrine.
  • June 8, 1910 The 'diocesan' jurisdiction of Belmont Abbey was erected by decree of the Pope.
  • July 27, 1998 The Vatican issued a decree elevating the abbey church at Belmont to the rank of a minor basilica.
  • July 14, 1993 The central campus was entered on the National Register of Historic Places as the "Belmont Abbey National Historic District."
  • June 20, 2011 Belmont Abbey College breaks ground on a center of residences for female students with or expecting children—regardless of religious affiliation—that can hold 15 babies, 15 women (who can stay for up to two years), and 8 toddlers at a time, with a shared living room, dining room, and laundry room, called "Room at the Inn" near the campus of the Abbey and University, operated by a Charlotte, North Carolina-based maternity and aftercare center of the same name.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, Belmont, North Carolina, USA". Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  2. ^ Belmont-Mary Help of Christians Territorial Abbey
  3. ^ a b Survey and Planning Unit Staff (October 1972). "Belmont Abbey Cathedral" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2014-11-01.

External links[edit]