Today we celebrate the Anniversary of the Dedication and Consecration of the Abbey Church. This is a special solemnity that is ours alone to remember. Our church's rose window, composed as it is from fragments of glass from the large lancet window in the church of the monastery of Our Lady of the Valley is an apt symbol of the many transitions that have marked our community's history.
During the Abbey's early years, the growth of the community was remarkable. And ground was broken for our church on 19 March 1952. On 15 August 1953 the first Mass was solemnly celebrated in the newly completed church. Designed by some of the monks in collaboration with a local architectural firm, the church was built by contracted lay workers and the many monks who assisted them. We are grateful for the beauty and simplicity of our monastic church, grateful for the labor and inspiration of our monastic forebears.
Today's feast, brothers, ought to be all the more devout as it is more personal. For other celebrations we have in common with other ecclesiastical communities, but this one is proper to us, so that if we do not celebrate it nobody will. It is ours because it concerns our church; ours because we ourselves are its theme. You are surprised and even embarrassed, perhaps, at celebrating a feast for yourselves. But do not be like horses and mules that have no understanding. Your souls are holy because of the Spirit of God dwelling in you; your bodies are holy because of your souls and this building is holy because of your bodies. Saint Bernard, Sermon for the Dedication of a Church.