Guesthouse - St. John's Abbey
Below is an outline Fr. Geoffrey Fecht used for a presentation to the SJU Administrative Assembly on November 8, 2006, Q264, which was followed by tours of the as-yet unfinished Guest House.
1. The Abbey Guesthouse has been in the works, one might say, since shortly after Abbot Jerome Theisen’s election in 1979. Other abbots had talked about it, but it wasn’t really until Abbot Jerome that something more serious began to take shape.
2. In 1998, Abbot Timothy put together a program committee and serious work on the project began.
3. Abbot John continued the process and also involved himself in the all important fund-raising effort, which was spear-headed by Br. Dietrich and Institutional Advancement.
4. It was determined that this abbey enterprise would be a place of spiritual respite, a place for people to come for spiritual renewal. Not a hotel/not a monastery for lay people.
5. Past guests asked for three primary things:
a. Close to church – pray with monks
b. Close to parking
c. Close to lake/woods/trails
6. The architect was asked to consider this as we went through site selection, and was subsequently asked to make sure that the building fitted well within the family of buildings that were nearby, i.e., Abbey Church, Science Building, Prep Building, Library
a. Layering, flashing, block coloring was intended to match the bell banner
7. Review the site plan
a. North exposure = back of building
b. Grove of trees – unexcavated
c. Water garden
8. The Guesthouse has 30 rooms and suites.
9. Two programs: guests and retreatants – it is also ecumenical
10. As a consequence, Vincent James Associate Architects was presented the serious challenge of separating these two groups (guests/retreatants) within the building.
11. Top floor: active guests: alumni, parents of students, families and friends of monks, guest speakers or performers, interviewees, regents, and the like – take note of the views from these rooms. Each room is furnished by product that was made in our Woodworking Shop: desk, chairs, floor, bed, night stands, Saint John’s Crosses; Bible prints
12. Lower floor: retreatants, people on a spiritual quest of some kind – view is more contemplative
13. Middle floor: activities floor
14. Channel Glass and Perforated Block
15. Pavilion piece
- Abbey website page for the Guesthouse.
- "Building Itch," Abbey Quarterly, vol. 2 no. 2, April 1984, p.8.
- "Guest Quarters Considered," Abbey Quarterly, vol. 4 no. 4, October 1986, p. 8.
- Culhane, Alberic, OSB."Architect Chosen for New Abbey Guest House," Abbey Quarterly, vol. 18 no. 3, Summer 2000, p.3.
- "SJU alumni donations boost Abbey guesthouse plans: Graduates," St. Cloud Times, November 4, 2003.
- "St. John's Abbey fetes guesthouse groundbreaking: $8 million project is ahead of schedule," St. Cloud Times, May 13, 2005.
- "Abbey Breaks Ground for Guest House," St. John's Magazine, Fall 2005, p. 21.
- "Guesthouse and Church Pavillion to be Dedicated on October 22," St. John's Magazine, Autumn 2006, p. 28.
- Durken, Daniel, "The new Abbey Guesthouse is now receiving guests," Abbey Banner, vol. 7, no. 1, Spring 2007, pp. 12-13. [Includes photos].