OUR LADY OF THE VALLEY (1900-1950)
N 41° 56.030 W 071° 24.210
19T E 300735 N 4645223
Quick Description: One of the first Trappist monasteries in the United States was located in Cumberland, RI.
Location: Rhode Island, United States
Date Posted: 10/1/2005 10:50:23 PM
Waymark Code: WM23J
The Cumberland Public Library is situated on the site of the former Trappist Abbey/Monastery. The story began in Nova Scotia in 1892, when a fire destroyed the Abbey of Petit Clairvaux. The monks then re-located to 530 acres of land in the Town of Cumberland, Rhode Island in August of 1900.
The name of 'Our Lady of the Valley' was selected because the nearest village was named Valley Falls and the site overlooked the Blackstone River. The monks themselves quarried the granite stone on the property to erect the many buildings. The Abbey was self-sufficient, growing and raising their own food. They also sold items in the gift shop of the Porter's Lodge.
Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance are under a rule of perpetual silence, which was conducive to regular discipline. While they were allowed to speak with superiors and sometimes others, they developed a system of sign language that contained simple verbs, nouns and adjectives for all other conversation.
On March 21, 1950, a terrible fire destroyed their Guest House and most of the church. All of the 140 monks inside were able to escape, some of them by using ladders and others dropping 20 feet from the windows. After the fire, the monastic community decided to build on a larger piece of property they owned and had been planning for a second community, St Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts.
LOG YOUR VISIT when you come to walk the public grounds, find 9 men's misery, look at old photos in the Public Library or attend a special event.