The origins of Saint Andrew’s Abbey stretch across the world to Belgium and China.
In 1929, the monks of the Abbey of Sint Andries Zevenkerken (St. Andre) in Brugge, Belgium, established a new monastic community in Chengtu, China, called St. Benedict’s Priory. Here the monks ran a seminary and a state-recognized school for non-Catholic students. Shortly after World War II, the monks established the Institute of Western and Oriental Cultural Studies, with a 10,000-volume library.
On Christmas Day 1949, the Communists took over the city of Chengtu. They dissolved the Institute, confiscated the library, and put the monks under house arrest. Then in 1952, the Communists expelled the monks from China.
In 1954 the monks were transferred to their new home in southern California. In 1955 they established a new monastery called St. Andrew’s Abbey at our current location just outside of Valyermo, CA. We have been giving retreats here ever since!
Part of a big family of
Like our “brother” communities in the Benedictine family, we can trace our ancestry back into the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, monks would be sent from their mother abbey to create a daughter house. This repeated cycle led to new independent communities all around the world. Eventually, these communities banded together to form Congregations. St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo belongs to Benedictine Congregation of the Annunciation. Other communities in our Congregation are located in Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Poland and Trinidad.
We are proud to carry on our Benedictine heritage as we preserve this sacred place for anyone to step away from their busy life to be renewed in spirit.