Benedictine Monks

Assumption Abbey

Assumption Abbey is a Benedictine Monastery.   We are located in Richardton, ND, which is in southwestern North Dakota.  Our monastery was founded in 1893 by Vincent Wherle, OSB, who was from Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland.  This monastery was first located at Devils Lake, ND and called St. Gall’s Priory.

In 1899 the monastery was moved to Richardton, ND, because moving into this area were Germans from Russia and from the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.  Since the monks were German speaking, this was a natural place for the monastery to take root.  The monastery was renamed St. Mary’s Priory, and in 1903, St. Mary’s Abbey.  By the end of 1910 the quadrangle and the Abbey Church were built.

The monks operated a school and staffed parishes as best they could.  The needs were great.  Vocations came and the monastery grew.  In 1910 Abbot Vincent Wherle, OSB, was named the first Bishop of Bismarck, ND.

What did not grow in sufficient supply was money.  In 1924 the creditors wanted their money, but there was no money.  Thus the monastery was forced into bankruptcy.  The monks lost their home and had to disperse to other monasteries.  Some of the priest-monks stayed on their parishes.  Their salaries helped to buy back the Abbey in 1928.

In the fall of 1928 monastic life resumed at Richardton. They Abbey was renamed Assumption Abbey.  The school was reopened, vocations came and again the monastery grew.

In 1960 Assumption Abbey sent four monks to Bogota, Colombia at the invitation of Archbishop Cardinal Concha.  A bilingual school was started for grades one through twelve.  Later a second school was started for the poor of the nearby area.

Central to the founding of these schools, is the founding of a monastery in Bogota.  It is named Monasterio Benedictino de Tibati.  It has 17 monks. This monastery in Bogota is still dependent upon the monks of Assumption Abbey.  But one day it will be an independent monastery.

Due to the decrease in the number of young people growing up in southwest North Dakota, our high school closed in 1968 and the junior college in 1971.  These events enabled the monks to begin living a life that was more monastic, with a gentler and more prayerful atmosphere.  The monks continue to staff parishes. Others serve as chaplains and university professors.  At the Abbey we continue with our ranch, we have a good Gift Shop, sell wine, welcome visitors for private retreats and spiritual direction and host groups of many kinds, plus many more things.  The ministry of pastoral and educational work continues.  At present, thirteen monks serve in that capacity.

We welcome you to consider being a Benedictine priest or brother.  Please contact our Vocation Director at or write us at Assumption Abbey, PO Box A, Richardton, ND 58652,or call us at 701-974-3315 for more information.

May God bless you as you consider and ponder the call God has for you.  You are in our prayers.