Who or what are you?
The Monastery of the Ascension is a small Benedictine Monastery in south- central Idaho, near Jerome (see map below). We have about 10 members: Fr. Prior Boniface Lautz, Fr. Subprior Andrew Baumgartner, Fr. Kenneth Hein, Fr. Meinrad Schallberger, Fr. Ezekiel Lotz, Br. Selby Coffman, Fr. Hugh Feiss, Br. Sylvester Sonnen, Br. Tobiah Urrutia, Fr. Jerome Montes, Br. John Ugolik. Our monastery was founded by monks from Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon, August 3, 1965. We became an independent monastery August 3, 1998.
What do you do?
Our most important activity is our liturgical prayer which is celebrated on weekdays at 6:30 AM, 12:00 noon, 5:30 PM and 8:00 PM. We celebrate mass each weekday at 7:00 AM, on Saturdays at 8:00 AM and on Sundays at 9:00 AM. We devote several more hours a day to personal reading and prayer. All the members of our community work together to operate the Ministry Center, our guest and retreat facility. In addition, various ones among us are involved in offering counseling, scholarly work, parochial ministry, chaplaincies, and ministry to prisoners and the dying. We also have work to do to keep the monastery and retreat house up and running: maintenance, bookkeeping, administration, gardening, and cleaning.
What is a monastery?
A monastery is a home for monks. Monks are celibate, they live in what is deliberately a counter-cultural environment where they seek God, support each other, and try to help others outside the monastery. When a monk joins a monastery (after a five-year apprenticeship), that monastery becomes his home for life, even if he should live elsewhere for a time.
What does Benedictine mean?
It means following the Rule of St. Benedict. St. Benedict was a sixth-century Italian monk, who wrote a rule based on wide study of earlier monastic documents and his own experience in several different monastic settings. Some monasteries have formed their own orders, but have kept the Rule of Benedict: e.g., the Cistercians, from one branch of which came the Trappists.
Can we visit you? Absolutely. Benedict's rule says all guests are to be received as Christ. You are welcome to drop by anytime. If you want to stay overnight and/or make a retreat, contact Br. Tobiah, the guest master [ firstname.lastname@example.org]. Below is a map. Coming from the East, turn off I-84 onto US Hwy 93, go north about 7 miles and look for a turn right on Priory Road. We are on Priory Road (=100 South) about 1.5 miles from US 93. Coming from the West, turn off I-84 on State Hwy 25 (Exit 165). Drive through the center of Jerome. Five miles beyond Jerome, you will come to a blinking stoplight at US 93. Cross US 93 and continue 1.9 miles on State Hwy 25, then take a sharp right onto Priory Road (there is a small sign), go about 200 yards, then turn left on our lane (another small sign).