During the 19th century, a number of Benedictine monasteries had been founded in the United States by monks coming from monasteries in the German-speaking region of Switzerland. The fortunes of Roman Catholic institutions in Switzerland were turbulent, especially in the 19th century. All were dissolved as a consequence of the French Revolution in 1798, but were restored by Napoleonic decree in 1803, with the exception of the Abbey of St. Gall, where the Prince-Abbot refused to make the necessary political concessions. The anti-monastic policies of the Swiss cantons, however, later brought about the dissolution of monasteries in Pfäfers (1838), Muri (1841), Fischingen (1848) and Rheinau (1863).
The outlook for Swiss Roman Catholics during the
was so bleak that the ancient Abbeys of Einsiedeln (pictured) and Engelberg began a program of establishing new monasteries in the United States, so that the remaining Swiss monasteries would have a refuge if they were all exiled. Those pioneer monks also were to serve the large number of German people who had emigrated there. As their offshoots, these new communities remained a part of the Swiss Confederation of Benedictine monasteries.
By 1881 the number of such communities had grown that it was felt appropriate to separate them from the authority of the mother country. Accordingly, Pope Leo XIII authorized the creation of this congregation, under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As you can see below, Subiaco is a foundation of St. Meinrad as our mother abbey, although the "grandmother" Abbey of Maria Enseideln adopted Subiaco in order to sustain it in the earliest years of our foundation.
Provided on this page are documents for the monasteries of the Swiss American Congregation. They include the primary constitution and statutes governing our monasteries, the most recently published Congregational Calendar (known as the ORDO) for our congregation, the Declaration of Benedictine Monastic Life (which provides a really nice overview of our way of life), and the detailed catalogue of our monastries. Listed below are the respective foundations that had been formed by the two main Swiss Abbeys:
St. Meinrad (1854) St. Meinrad, Indiana
Conception (1873) Conception, Missouri
Mount Angel (1882) St. Benedict, Oregon