Valley of Our Lady Monastery, a community of Cistercian nuns in Wisconsin, is raising funds for a new monastery complex following a vocations boom.
The planned monastery is being designed to house up to 30 nuns. There are presently 22 in the community.
Valley of Our Lady was founded in 1957 on a small plot of land in the Diocese of Madison. The existing buildings are both too small and in poor condition. A relocation projected was begun in 2000, and the site of a new monastery in Wisconsin’s Iowa County was purchased in 2011.
The community has a master plan for their new monastery, to be built in two phases.
According to the monastery’s winter 2019 newsletter, their Phase 1 goal is $12 million, and another $1.8 million in pledges is needed before continuing with schematic design. This phase includes a temporary chapel, living quarters, an altar bread workshop, and guest quarters. The nuns support themselves by baking altar breads.
The second phase, for which $8 million is needed, would complete a cloister with a church and guesthouse.
The contemplative community is the only foundation of Cistercian nuns of the Common Observance in the English-speaking world.
The Cistercian order was founded at the end of the 11th century to return to a literal observance of the Rule of St. Benedict by cloistered monks and nuns. St. Bernard of Clairvaux was an early abbot of the order and promoted its expansion across Europe.