The iconic bell tower shines like a beacon to the local community, a sign that you are home, and a calm in the storm of everyday life. Westminster Abbey opens its doors daily to residents and visitors who come from far and wide for a place to reflect and meditate, to see the beautiful church, attend mass and times of prayer, or to walk the grounds and take in the scenic vista. It is however foremost a Benedictine monastery and home to a brotherhood of priests and consecrated religious, who dedicate their lives to God.
Established in 1939, this is a daughter foundation from the Abbey of Mount Angel in Oregon, which has a lineage going back to the early 1880’s in Engelberg, Switzerland. Today the monastic community looks to live a balanced life through prayer & solitude, work & rest, study & reading, following the rule of St. Benedict, which offers a simple and ordered Christian life. If visiting, you are asked to respect this way of life and follow the dress code of no shorts or overly exposed skin when entering the Abbey Church.
The buildings are also the campus of a minor and major seminary which the monastic community directs. The formation taught in the seminary focuses on four strategic learning pillars which are designed to develop strong leaders and thoughtful men, through human interaction in community life, growth in prayer and worship, academic studies, and practical pastoral experience. These lessons are combined with daily and weekly chores, developing skills both inside and outside the classroom environment. With one teacher per two or three students the school invests its energy into guiding these young men, some of whom will continue beyond high school to college studies with degrees in arts and theology.
The walking trail network gives a sample of the Abbey’s grounds, from which Fraser Valley vistas or the Abbey’s own farmland can be seen from a distance, with 50 head of cattle, pigs, chickens, fruit orchards and a vegetable garden. While not self-sufficient the monks are able to cultivate key ingredients including vegetables, meat and eggs, providing daily fresh ingredients for the kitchen. Ensure you stay on the designated trails or you may come face to face with a bull or the local wildlife including bear and deer who often wander through the estate; bikes, drones and dogs are prohibited from the grounds for this reason.
If entering the church, note that the ambiance changes as the sun moves across the 64 stain glass windows, with the colors chosen to represent the four elements of water, fire, earth and air. There is also a collection of contemporary art and bas-reliefs commemorating the lives of saints, created by artist Father Dunstan who resides at the Abbey. If you hear the bells ring before Mass or Vespers, these are ten bells imported from Whitechapel in England, where the famous Liberty Bell and Big Ben were also made.
Rich in history and offering a peaceful place for contemplation and prayer, we are fortunate to have the Abbey within the Mission community, and a landmark that resonates across the Fraser Valley.
VISITING HOURS 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Morning Prayer: 5:35 am
Sung Mass: 10:00 am
Midday Prayer: 11:55 am
Vespers: 4:30 pm
34224 Dewdney Trunk Road, Mission, BC