Swiss-American Congregation

The Swiss-American Congregation is an association of Benedictine monasteries founded in 1881 in the United States, as a part of the international Benedictine Confederation of monasteries.


During the 19th century, a number of Benedictine monasteries had been founded in the United States by monks coming from monasteries in the German-speaking region of Switzerland. The fortunes of Roman Catholic institutions in Switzerland were turbulent, especially in the 19th century. All were dissolved as a consequence of the French Revolution in 1798, but were restored by Napoleonic decree in 1803, with the exception of the Abbey of St. Gall, where the Prince-Abbot refused to make the necessary political concessions. The anti-monastic policies of the Swiss cantons, however, later brought about the dissolution of monasteries in Pfäfers (1838), Muri (1841), Fischingen (1848) and Rheinau (1863).<ref name=SC /[1]

The outlook for Swiss Roman Catholics during the Kulturkampf was so bleak that the ancient Abbeys of Einsiedeln and Engelberg began a program of establishing new monasteries in the United States, so that the remaining Swiss monasteries would have a refuge if they were all exiled. Those pioneer monks also were to serve the large number of German people who had emigrated there. As their offshoots, these new communities remained a part of Saithe Swiss Confederation of Benedictine monasteries.[2]

By 1881 the number of such communities had grown that it was felt appropriate to separate them from the authority of the mother country. Accordingly, Pope Leo XIII authorized the creation of this congregation, under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.[3]

Current status

The Congregation, as of 2013, is composed of 15 abbeys or monasteries throughout the United States, British Columbia and Guatemala. There are also two dependent priories in Mexico and Guatemala. The Congregation numbers about 500 monks.[4]

Current members


  1. Schenker, Lukas, Abt. "400 Jahre Schweizerische Benediktinerkongregation". Kirche in der Schweiz (in German).
  2. "Home". The Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation.
  3. "Catalog of Monasteries". The Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation.
  4. "Catalog of Monasteries". The Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation.
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