Blue Cloud Abbey, Marvin to close
by - 6/15/2012
(Photo courtesy, Blue Cloud Abbey, Marvin).
On May 29, 2012 the Benedictine monks of Blue Cloud Abbey, Marvin, South Dakota voted to close their monastery.
The reason for closure of Blue Cloud Abbey is the lack of vocations and the aging of the community members. Although the abbey has been successful as a retreat center for various groups and individuals, the monastery has not been able to draw a sufficient number of new members. After August 5, there will be no public liturgies celebrated at the abbey and all scheduled retreats will be canceled.
The public will be invited for a farewell gathering on August 5.
Abbot Denis Quinkert, OSB, issued the following statement regarding the closure:
“This is not an easy message to write. As a community we have been discussing our situation for some time. However, because of all the hoops and hurdles which come with such a discussion, we were unable to mention it outside the community. Though it has not been an easy decision we have come to the conclusion that it is a necessary one. At present Blue Cloud has fourteen members. Three are in their nineties, two are in their eighties, seven are in their seventies, one is in his fifties and one is in his forties. If we were suddenly to get an influx of candidates, it would take years before they would be full fledged monks. Hence, Blue Cloud Abbey will close formally on August 5th 2012. Over the next few months the task is to help each Blue Cloud monk settle into another monastery of his choice.
“Does our closure mean that as a Benedictine monastery Blue Cloud has been a failure? Certainly not! Blue Cloud has been a wonderful community, and the monks have been very effective in many areas for the past sixty two years. Then why has Blue Cloud not received the needed vocations throughout the years? That is not something we can answer. We have been praying and been open to God working in the life of our community. Now, regardless of any other concern, the main concern has to be getting each monk settled into a new monastic home.
“Your friendship through the years has been greatly appreciated. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”
Sincerely in Christ,
Abbot Denis Quinkert, OSB
The Most Reverend, Paul J. Swain, Bishop of Sioux Falls also issued a statement on the announced closing of Blue Cloud Abbey. It said:
“We give thanks to God for the presence for more than 60 years of Blue Cloud Abbey in the Diocese of Sioux Falls. The diocese was born with the Benedictine influence of its founding administrator and bishop, Martin Marty, OSB. Benedictine spirituality, rooted in labor and prayer, permeates our diocese and richly enhances us.
“Blue Cloud Abbey, founded and built in the late 1940s and early 1950s has been a blessing for all, but in particular for the Native Americans, to whose ministry the monks were especially dedicated. In addition, the priests have well-served numerous diocesan parishes and ministries through the years. They will be missed.
“Blue Cloud Abbey has been a welcoming and safe haven for many searching for meaning and seeking their spiritual way. Countless priest retreats, marriage encounters, private retreats and spiritual counseling have taken place there, quietly, but with profound results.
“It is with sadness and a sense of loss, and yet with profound gratitude that we receive the news of closing. The Diocese of Sioux Falls pledges our support through this time of transition. Our prayers go with all the monks as they take up new residence.
“May Our Lady watch over them.
“St. Benedict, pray for them and for us all.”