Last monk leaves landmark Utah monastery that opened in 1947

HUNTSVILLE, Utah (AP) — The last monk has departed a Utah monastery, shuttering a 70-year-old landmark.

The Rev. Patrick Boyle left the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville to join his brethren at St. Joseph Villa Catholic nursing home in Salt Lake City, The Salt Lake Tribune reported last week (http://bit.ly/2x766XK ).

Boyle, 89, who has served in the abbey for 67 years, is the last of the eight monks to leave the compound.

“I’m not threatened by the change,” Boyle said. “It’s divine providence. I believe that. I leave yesterday to God’s mercy and let him take what we call the ‘sacrament of the now moment.'”

The abbey opened in 1947 with 32 monks operating the 1,820-arce compound, and by 1960, it grew to more than 80 monks.

In the decades since, however, a lack of new recruits gradually left a relative handful of aging monks to shuffle daily into a nearly empty chapel to pray.

The abbey’s future use is not yet known. But closure of the Huntsville abbey will leave the Trappist order, also known as Cistercians, with 16 monasteries — 11 for men, five for women.

The Rev. Brendan Freeman came to the abbey in 2013 to oversee the sale of the property and the transition of the aging monks.

“It is very sad,” he said. “But I have to say this is not my monastery; if it was, I’d be really distraught, and these men have been here, many of them, most of their lives.”

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