Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Our Lady of the Prairies

St. Norbert Art Centre :: Info :: History:

"The Trappists made many efforts over the years to preserve their peaceful solitude. However, by the 1960s, encroaching urbanization increased traffic in and through St. Norbert. In 1975, the Trappists decided to relocate to a more secluded location near Holland, Manitoba, 145 kilometres (80 miles) southwest of Winnipeg. By 1978, most of the outbuildings had been taken down or moved. Only the chapel and monastic wing, guest house and gate house remained. The property was sold to Genstar Corporation, a Canadian land development company.

Local residents acting through the non-profit organization Heritage St. Norbert Inc., set out to preserve the site’s historical and cultural character. In 1980, the group secured from the City of Winnipeg a historic building designation for the chapel and monastic wing. The group began to research possible uses for the site.Tragedy struck in 1983. Vandals lit a fire which gutted the vacant chapel and monastery. Fortunately, the Guest House, located some distance away, was spared.

The fire did not destroy the beauty and dignity of the site, however. Heritage St. Norbert’s efforts turned to preserving the only existing monastic ruins in North America. In 1987, through the cooperation of Genstar and three levels of government, the property was set aside as a provincial heritage park"
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