Santa Rita Abbey 2021 Summer Update–part 2

Santa Rita Abbey 2021 Summer Update–part 2

Well, it is already October, but here at last is part 2 of our summer update. Soon we will post an October update, too!

At last we are back to a more normal work schedule in our altar bread bakery, Cistercian Altar Breads. During the shut downs in 2020 all of our parish customers put their regular orders on hold and we were virtually unemployed (not that there wasn’t plenty of other work to do around the monastery!) Now that parish life is getting back to almost-normal, altar bread production is also getting back to almost-normal. It is such deeply meaningful work to make the bread that is destined to become the Body of Christ during the Eucharistic! Our team of eight sisters and two lay employees bake 100% whole wheat altar breads and cut them into five different sizes.¬†The photos below give you a glimpse of our altar bread production. Left to right: Sister Pam operating the baking machine; Employee Lupita operating the computerized cutter; Sister Hildegard inspecting the cut breads; and Sister Rita preparing to ship out parish customer orders. (The first three photos by Tim Fuller; photo of Sr. Rita by Santa Rita Abbey.)

Learn more about our Cistercian Altar Bread bakery at

Fr. Thomas Davis, abbot emeritus of Our Lady of New Clairvaux Abbey in Vina, CA, was here the first week of August to give us our annual community retreat. Originally this retreat was scheduled for March 2020. It was well-worth waiting for! Fr. Thomas’ daily conferences focused on our monastic vows of stability, conversion of life, and obedience, all within the larger context of our baptismal call to union with the Three Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity. Profound and inspiring!

On the very last day of our retreat, a doe gave birth to twin fawns in our church garth. At this writing (early October), it’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve seen this deer family. Wildlife babies have to grow and gain strength quickly, and the record-breaking rains we received this summer resulted in an abundance of food and water out in the wild. No need for the deer to hang around on the monastery grounds.

Our Sister Esther has ten green thumbs (if there is such a thing)! This year her vegetable garden flourished as never before thanks to the record rainfall plus Sr. Esther’s good gardening zeal. We have feasted on fresh¬† lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, egg plant, and green peppers. Now that the weather is getting cooler, she is venturing into a new project: the growing of brussels sprouts.