Official Name St. Joseph's Abbey


Country USA

City Spencer

Address 167 North Spencer Rd

Postcode MA 01562-1233

Contact Information

Telephone [1] (508) 885-8700

Telephone 2 [1] (508) 885-8701

Community Email [email protected]

Website www.spencerabbey.org

Superior Dom Vincent Rogers, Abbot 2020-2026

Other Information

Juridical Status Abbey

Diocese Dioecesis Vigorniensis (Worcester)


Incorporated 1868


Founded by Fr. Vincent de Paul of La Valsainte in 1825 at Petit-Clairvaux, Canada with monks from Bellefontaine and Sint Sixtus;  affiliated with La Trappe in 1868; raised to the rank of abbey in 1876; transferred to Rhode Island, USA in 1901 with rank of priory; raised to rank of abbey in 1945. Transferred to Spencer in 1950.


1825: Initial foundation by Fr. Vincent de Paul.  It was located in Nova Scotia, Canada.  Fr. Vincent de Paul had stayed in North America when Fr. Urban’s group, who had repopulated Bellefontaine, returned.  Fr. Vincent de Paul therefore asked Bellefontaine for help beginning his foundation.  Bellefontaine sent him four monks.

Returning later to seek reinforcements, he found none in France and returned to Canada with monks from Sint Sixtus.  Soon discord arose: the French monks returned to Bellefontaine, Fr. Vincent de Paul retired to a house of religious sisters he had founded, leaving the Sint Sixtus monks alone.

1868: Because of their great isolation, they ask to be affiliated with La Trappe.

1892: Fires during the Chapter of Union.

1899: The Chapter authorizes the community’s transfer to Bost.

1902: The community transfers to the diocese of Providence.  The former property in Nova Scotia, having been purchased by Timadeuc to found a refuge, keeps the name Petit-Clairvaux. The new house in Providence is named O.L. of the Valley.  But the validity of the canonical erection comes into question.  An indult of sanation is requested and granted and the new monastery of O.L. of the Valley is raised to the rank of priory.

1922: Construction of the church.

1950: Monastery is destroyed by fire. The community takes refuge at Chepachet.


Guadalupe (1948), Berryville (1950); Snowmass (1956), Azul (1958), La Dehesa/ Miraflores(1960)

Father Immediate

La Trappe 1868; Gethsemani 1876; Bellefontaine 1882; Oka/ Val Notre-Dame 1898; Gethsemani 1902; Oka [Val Notre Dame] 1903; Gethsemani 1913; Val Notre-Dame 1914; Gethsemani 1920; Bellefontaine 1952-2019; Genesee 2020

Daughter Houses

Guadalupe ; Berryville ; Snowmass ; Azul ; Wrentham.
Los Andes (1960-1966).

Lay Associates

Cistercian Lay Contemplatives, Spencer, MA

Past Superiors

26a. PETIT CLAIRVAUX: March 1825 to July 1900
Vincent de Paul MERLE Superior ?/03/1825 – 01/01/1853
François Xavier KAISER Superior 01/01/1853 – ?/ ?/1857
Jacques DEPORTEMONT Superior ?/ ?/1857 – 03/05/1876
Dominique SCHIETECATTE Abbot 03/05/1876 – 23/04/1898
John-Mary MURPHY Sup. ad nutum 29/06/1898 – 03/05/1907

26b. O.L. OF THE VALLEY: 02/08/1900 à 1950
John-Mary MURPHY Titular Prior 03/05/1907 – 06/07/1913
Jean O’CONNOR Sup. ad nutum 06/07/1913 – ?/ ?/19??
Jean O’CONNOR Titular Prior ?/ ?/19?? – 25/11/1943
Edmond FUTTERER Sup. ad nutum 25/11/1943 – 01/08/1945
Edmond FUTTERER Abbot 01/08/1945 – 01/08/1961

26c. SPENCER since late 1950
Thomas Aquinas KEATING Abbot 29/08/1961 – 10/09/1981 (v.72)
Paschal SKUTECKY Abbot 30/09/1981 – 22/06/1983
Augustine ROBERTS Apotolic Administrator 21/06/1983 – 16/06/1984 (v.76)
Augustine ROBERTS Abbot 16/06/1984 – 17/06/1996
Damian CARR  Abbot 17/06/1996 – 22/07/2020

Work and Sources of Income

“Trappist Preserves” (jams and jellies), “Holy Rood Guild” (Liturgical Vestments)

Guest Facilities

Guesthouse with 11 rooms; another building “the cottage” with 5 rooms (4 with 2 beds) for candidates and postulants; the 5th room is for special visitors.


Airport : Worcester, Massachusetts.


  • San Isidro


  • Port du Salut


  • Lantao

    Hong Kong SAR