Queen of Angels Monastery
Queen of Angels Monastery, dedicated in 1888, is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. The center section is the oldest part of the four-story brick structure and many of the bricks used in its construction were made from the clay soil here. The north wing of the building was added in 1903 and the south wing in 1912.
The Monastery has exceptional architectural, as well as historic, significance. The elegant design and attractive detail of the front exterior make it a unique structure in this area, renowned for the feminine quality of the design and how style and function are integrated. The Monastery has undergone several renovations over the past 115 years. In 1985-86 the interior of the north wing was completely renovated and structurally strengthened. The 1993 earthquake, which had an epicenter just east of Mt. Angel, caused major damage.
The original Chapel, occupying the top three floors of the south wing had to be demolished and structural damage to the rest of the building repaired. The center section and remainder of the center section were completely renovated and retrofitted at that time. The second floor hallway of the Monastery is a beautiful glimpse into the past, while the nearby Chapter Room is a more modern design that still maintains harmony with the historic building and the Sisters' beautiful grounds.
The Queen of Angels Chapel is on the second floor of the Hospitality Center and is accessible by elevator or wood staircase. With the life of the religious community centered on daily prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist, the Monastery Chapel is the Sisters' most important space.
Designed by architect J. David Richen, the Chapel is simple and tranquil, with large windows providing natural light and wonderful views of the Monastery and grounds. It has flexible seating to allow for different arrangements depending on the liturgical season, and special liturgies and celebrations.
The Chapel contains many fixtures from the Sisters' former Chapel, which was demolished after the earthquake. The large rosette windows and the hand carved oak sections from the old communion railing, reused here in the altar and primary liturgical pieces, are prime examples of how the past has been preserved in the new Chapel.
The lantern high at the center of the Chapel provides both light and a sense of thoughts and prayers being elevated to heaven. Often lighted at night, the lantern serves as a beacon and witness to the Sisters' values of prayer, stability and faithfulness.
Agatha Hall was originally a temporary gymnasium for Mt. Angel Academy. After the Academy closed, it became a reception hall used by the Sisters and Mt. Angel community groups. It was the Sisters' only major structure that was not damaged by the earthquake. The beautiful wood floors and north and south walls are all original and the four large windows in the hall are in the original frames. The room is now used for meetings, dinners and other gatherings.
This new two-story building stands on the site of the former Howard Hall, which was built in 1912. Howard Hall was a massive, four-story brick building, which housed Mt. Angel Academy, a high school and boarding school. The Academy was closed in 1964 and Howard Hall was converted to use as offices and living spaces for the Sisters. The 5.7 earthquake on March 25, 1993 seriously damaged Howard Hall, along with several other buildings at the Monastery, and, in 1997, it was razed except for what is now known as Agatha Hall.
The grounds of Queen of Angels Monastery are an expression of the Benedictine Sisters' deep commitment to caring for the earth and all of creation. In keeping with a 1500 year-old Benedictine tradition of stewardship, the Sisters treat their natural surroundings with gentleness and reverence.
Visitors are encouraged to visit the beautiful grove, just north of the Monastery, and stroll along the quiet paths, mindful of God's presence. In the center of the Grove is a lovely grotto, dedicated to Mary. The grounds also feature a labyrinth (bottom right).
Hundreds of majestic oaks, maples, poplars, firs, dogwoods and other varieties of trees grace the grounds. Among the rare and noteworthy trees is the towering Giant Sequoia that marks the entrance to the Monastery. Over 110 years old, it was recently designated as an Oregon Heritage Tree.
Private areas on the grounds include the vegetable and flower gardens, nut and fruit orchards, the historic fruit dryer (top right) and well house (bottom left), and the cemetery where members of the religious community are buried.