Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Auctioning off the abbey.

I hate stories like this.
The alienation of church goods - selling off art and statues and vestments from a suppressed abbey is really sad.  I'm not as upset that the monastery was suppressed and the monks disbanded, as I am that sacred furnishings are sold off.  What am I talking about?  The Cistercian Abbey of Spring Bank, Sparta, Wisconsin, of course.  There is an online auction of estate furnishings - going on now until October 27. 
What kills me is that the abbey was most likely mismanaged and fell short of the religious ideal they cracked themselves up to be.  Granted there must have been 2 or 3 fervent members of the community - but from what I'm told, something was off.  My original understanding was that the former prior left to become a chaplain to a monastery of nuns in Ireland, but now I'm told he is in Switzerland on sabbatical at the mother house.  At any rate, he appears to be out of the country as the monastery is dissolved in silence - no public announcements or explanations of what went on that I know of.  In the meantime, they are digging up the dead monks and transferring their remains to a Canadian monastery of the same order.  Pity.
I say pity for the sake of the faithful, because this abbey solicited funds for their foundation - they accepted bequests and estates from the faithful to support the monastery.  As a religious house they accepted countless Mass stipends and requests for prayers and suffrages.  Throughout the 20th century, faithful American Catholics have helped build monasteries such as Spring Bank, as well as numerous churches, monasteries, seminaries, schools, and convents - only to have them sold off to the highest bidder when something went wrong, or as population shifted and vocations dwindled - and not infrequently, at the whim of an unscrupulous Church official - if not just poor stewardship by religious superiors.
Today religious people keep asking for money and donations to build extravagant, fantasy monasteries in the mountains or the desert, or to replace great cathedrals and churches that were torn down or renovated beyond recognition, or sometimes, just to make their personal life more comfortable. 
Fortunately, Canon Law governs the alienation of Church goods.  See here.

Art:  Amplexis of St. Bernard, 19th Century, Falknbah.  Estate of OL Spring Bank Abbey.  Sold.
H/T to Badger Catholic for the auction story.


  1. I visited about a hundred former Catholic Monasteries, Convents, and Seminaries on the East Coast.

    The overwhelming majority of those sold were to mortal enemies of Holy Mother Church; the Moonies, Buddhists, and many others too numerous to list herein.

    One group that these Holy Places was not sold to, with a passion in not doing so, were Faithful that remained true to the teachings of Holy Mother Church.


    Mary Immaculate Center is open to all 'faiths' except the true Catholic Faith.

    This is an American tragedy.

    Enemies of Christ in the Philadelphia Archdiocese would rather burn the place down then take a bulldozer to it and trash all its holy objects than to have a traditional Catholic group have use of it to fulfill the Supreme Law of Holy Mother Church.

    When Churches were shut down in Philadelphia, a controlled auction was held, controlled meaning Faithful Catholics were excluded from purchasing.

    Altars were sold to heathens that installed them in bars, to use as a station for mixing drinks; confessionals were sold as booths to have dinner in.

    One Tabernacle was being sold as a jewelry box.

    Does this sound like Church law was followed?

    A portion of the Shrine of the Martyrs in Auriesville, N.Y. was sold to the Buddhists.

    They now trample the graves of about three hundred Jesuits buried there, while reciting their satanic verses.

    We should not have anything to do with the sale of religious objects in this cause.

    The stewards should place them in storage, catalog them, then allow Bishops and Priests to access them for use in their Parishes.

    They should allow laypeople to view this catalog, that they may requests their Priests appropriate some of them.

    I have a former altar crucifix that was disposed of in the Modernist tradition; it was thrown into the trash.

    Interesting enough, it was saved from final desecration by a non-believer, who had enough respect for an object depicting our crucified Lord to pull it out of the trash and give it to 'some traditional Catholics' he knew.

    May God our Lord in His infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us His abundant grace, that we may know His most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.


  2. 2nd that. I used to pray before this very painting. I'm so saddened. Hopefully it fell into good hands.

  3. The "Amplexis of St Bernard" was won at auction by a priest of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, where it will soon be on display.


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