the visit of the abbey
The first contact with Maredsous for the visitor takes place on the esplanade, the place of welcome. For St Benedict, hospitality is a special concern for monks :The visitor’s first contact with Maredsous takes place on the esplanade; reception place. Pour saint Benoît, l’accueil est une mission essentielle des moines :
“All guests to the monastery should be welcomed as Christ, because He will say : «I was a stranger, and you took me in», and let fitting honour be shown to all, but especially to brothers in faith and pilgrims. Special care should be taken of the poor and pilgrims, for Christ is truly made welcome in them”
St Benedict’s Rule 53, 1-2,15
The welcome which monks extend today is always in the spirit of St Benedict : establishing a genuine contact between the one who comes and the monks who live here.
A guided tour of the church and the surroundings of the monastery is offered at the Center d’accueil Saint-Joseph.
Passed the threshold of the abbey, one enters the gatehouse, open every day from 8 am. at 21h. There the door-keeper welcomes the visitor and guides him where he wants : guest-house, pilgrimage, contact with a monk.
Past the gatehouse, you are in the west wing of the cloister. The cloister forms a square of 50 meters on each side. It links together all the buildings of the abbey. In the center, the courtyard of the cloister, where a fountain rustles. The north wing of the cloister gives access to the church .
The eastern side is made up of 2 important rooms which are also very beautiful : the sacristy and thechapter house.
We arrive then at the southern side which includes various community rooms and the refectory. The latter is a large room with harmonious proportions, lit by high windows. The monks have their meals there, and guests can participate in the meals. Most of the meals are taken in silence, but at lunch, a monk reads a work of history or spirituality.