According to observers, this is a unique event in church history.
The Trappist were founded as a reform order of the Cistercians. Their day was marked by lengthy prayers, hard work and strict fasting and silence. In the wake of the Second Vatican, the religious discipline almost totally broke down.
The Abbey of Mariawald is located near the town of Heimbach in the Eifel in the district of Cologne. It is located in the Diocese of Aachen.
The monastery was founded in April 1795 for the first time and refounded in 1861 by the Alsatian Trappist Abbey of Ölenberg.
The monastery was also closed during the Kulturkampf and in the time of National Socialism.
Between the years 1962 and 1964, the monks adapted the monastery church to the then current liturgical fashions.
Today fourteen monks live in the Abbey under the direction of Abbot Joseph Vollberg. The hours of prayer for the monks begin at 4:00 am.
The Abbey of Mariawald is today funded by operating a restaurant, a bookshop, a liqueur factory and a monastery shop. The monastery has a guesthouse attached.
Abbot Joseph Vollberg (45) was raised in Wetzlar. He is the ninth abbot of Mariawald.
After military service and management studies in Giessen, he joined Mariawald on 1 December 1986. He studied theology in the Cistercian Abbey of the Holy Cross in Vienna.
On 26 January 1992, he was solemnly professed. In August 2003, the monk was appointed superior ad ad nutum and obtained thereby the rights of an abbot.
Then on 17 December 2005, Dom Josef received diaconal orders and on 29 June 2006 was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Aachen, Heinrich Mussinghoff.
In November 2006 the Convent Chapter chose Vollberg as the Abbot for life of the Abbey of Mariawald.
His solemn Abbatial consecration was on 26 January 2007 in the abbey church of the monastery.