Our Community

Santa Rita Abbey is a Cistercian monastery, a school of charity and of the Lord’s service. We follow the Rule of St. Benedict with its balance of prayer, work and sacred reading shared in a monastic community.

It is a place where love of God, neighbor, and all creation come together in a life of prayer, sincere conversion, humble service, simplicity and joy.

We were founded in 1972 in the high desert of Southern Arizona, a land of wide vistas and large sky where our monastery nestles in the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains.

Christmas Eve Story

partial group photo Santa Rita Abbey Sisters

Meet Us

Santa Rita Abbey was planted in southeastern Arizona over forty years ago. How did we get here? Well, we have a story–about people who found their way to unexpected destinies.


We call it the Prayer of the Book. The word lectio (as in lectio divina) refuses to let itself get translated. It’s too dense with meaning. You say “sacred reading” and miss the point entirely. The image is banquet. Chewing, swallowing, letting what you eat turn into your very self.

View The Abbey

Explore the Abbey and our community


If the word “Church” bothers you, the Church is not its scandals. It is the enormity of a mystery beneath any human and structural failing. It is the voice of Jesus, the human being who is God, the Great Sacrifice and the Great Night that celebrates it.


We can find advice on prayer all over the place, as if it were a problem to be solved, as if God were a problem to be solved. What we can do right here is offer a couple of the great symbols for prayer that reflect monastic experience.

Community Work

By the work of our hands, we feed and clothe and shelter your sisters who are daily holding you in prayer