The Benedictine Abbey at St-Benoît-du-Lac was undergoing an expansion, and it was “friends of the monks — Roman Catholics, Protestants and Jews — who have sought rest and solitude in the old abbey” who were making the building program possible, we reported on Aug. 11, 1956.Work on a new guesthouse had started, and a library and work on additional cells for the monks was expected to begin soon.“The new Benedictine Abbey rising above the wooded shores of Lake Memphremagog in the Eastern Townships may well be called the monastery that hospitality built,” we said.Welcoming visitors interested in a quiet stay was only one of several activities at the abbey, where the 80 black-robed monks who made up the community devoted themselves to liturgical and musical studies, particularly Gregorian Chant, we reported.St. Benedict took a dim view of idleness — he called it the enemy of the soul — so it perhaps was no surprise that the monks worked hard. There were also wine and cider operations. And the Abbey was particularly famous for its Ermite cheese, shown in this photo, which appeared with the article. Production of the blue cheese began in 1943, and it continues to this day, though now several other types of cheese are also made, in a new, more modern cheese factory that was opened and blessed in 2017.As well, the Abbey still welcomes visitors — whether they are believers or not — for contemplative stays.
The uncropped photo.
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