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Santa Maria de la Vid Priory
Albuquerque, New Mexico

>> view the Santa Maria de la Vid Priory website

Santa Maria de la Vid Priory Santa Maria de la Vid Priory is a Norbertine priory in Albuquerque New Mexico. It was started in 1984 when two Norbertine priests, Fathers Brooks and Olson, from St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, Wisconsin wanted to go help the Hispanic and Native American populations in New Mexico. They were allowed to go to New Mexico and started to work at the University of Albuquerque, the only Catholic liberal arts college in the region (which has unfortunately closed since) under Father Alfred McBride, also from St. Norbert Abbey. Afraid that the men would get too wrapped up in their individual ministries, the Norbertines started to discuss the formation of a priory in Albuquerque.

In 1985 Fathers Brooks and Olson were joined by Fathers Richard Mulroy, Ed Sdano and Joel Garner. They hoped to enlarge the new community by attracting New Mexicans especially from the Native Americans and Hispanics to the order. The priory continued to grow by attracting both professed Norbertines from Wisconsin as well as other vocations from New Mexico and around the country.
   
The priory they founded was named Santa Maria de la Vid, after the first Norbertine Abbey in Spain which was in the city of La Vid. The name means Saint Mary of the Vine. The founding and current prior is Rev. Joel Garner, O. Praem. The chapel was built in the pueblo style. It has a church, a center for hospitality and spiritual conversation, a support building with a sacristy and rest rooms, an outdoor and indoor gathering space, worship space, small indoor and outdoor cloister walks, meditation garden, and a separate blessed sacrament chapel.

Their primary ministry is to be a community and they have three other outreaches: parish, educational and pastoral. The parish outreach is with Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary and its 3600 families. Here they have helped renovate the family center and build a new church. Norbertines also serve in other area parishes such as St. Augustine Parish on Isleta Pueblo, Our Lady of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Holy Ghost Parish, St. Anne’s Parish and San Jose Parish.

Part of their educational outreach was to establish a New Mexico campus for the Masters of Theological Studies program at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. One man is also in St. Pius X High School helping with their campus ministry. Within the high school Norbertines have helped with the development of the theology curriculum, and have acted as chaplains to the students and the staff along with acting as teachers. It is the only Catholic high school in Albuquerque and is located on the campus of the former University of Albuquerque.

The pastoral outreach consists of providing retreats to ordained and lay ministers and all who seek a place for spiritual nourishment, interfaith dialogue and action, ministry to the poor, immigrants, imprisoned, and sick and dying.

Norbertines also currently serve as full time hospital and prison chaplains in the area. It is hoped that Santa Maria de la Vid will become a cultural center for the Hispanic population and for the diverse population of central New Mexico. Members of the priory have been recognized by the larger New Mexican community through various awards for their dedication to ecumenical dialogue, education and prison ministry.
   
Recently the Norbertines have built a new library and a spiritual learning center which will focus on scriptural, theological and spiritual resources that this area of New Mexico had been previously lacking. It is the largest theological library in the state and is dedicated to the search for wisdom for those of all spiritual traditions. The planning began in 2004 and was realized in 2008. The building was dedicated on August 25, 2008.
   
Future goals for Santa Maria de la Vid Priory are to one day become an independent abbey. There is also a strong dedication to theological exploration, ecumenical dialogue, higher theological education for the purpose of mutual understanding. The Norbertines strongly desire to respond to the needs of the local community as their time and talents allow.

Compiled by Lindsay Koeppel using documents from St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, WI. Special thanks to Graham Golden and John Tourangeau O.Praem.


Center for Norbertine Studies

Phone: (920) 403-3919
Fax: (920) 403-4076
E-mail: cns@snc.edu


St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181