Monks Of The Wild West

Posted By:  Liz Goodrich
Date Posted:  5/26/2004

Deschutes Public Library is pleased to sponsor an Oregon Chautauqua presentation by Jan Emerson on Saturday, June 12 at 2:00 p.m. in the Library Admin Conference Room at 507 NW Wall in Bend. This program is free and open to the public.

In 1882, a small group of Swiss-German monks founded Mt. Angel Abbey in Fillmore, Oregon, fifty miles southwest of Portland. The monks drew inspiration, in part, from James Fenimore Cooper and his German counterpart, Karl May, to become what they considered “spiritual pioneers” in the “Wild West.” Accounts of their early adventures reflect their attraction to Native American cultures, both real and fictional, and their desire to bring aspects of European culture to the wilderness. Jan Emerson uses lecture, music, and slides to illuminate a fascinating chapter of regional history, demonstrating how cultural icons as distant as Arthurian knights and western cowboys met on a dusty hilltop in Oregon.

Ms. Emerson’s lecture draws on the Mt. Angel archives, medieval and modern German literature, and Pacific Northwest history to relate an extraordinary and unlikely series of events surrounding the founding and early years of Mt. Angel. It offers an entertaining glimpse into daily life at the Abbey and the monks’ interactions with and integration into the local community. It also explores Benedictine attitudes toward education, nature, stewardship of the land, and the call to peaceful outreach.

Ms. Emerson’s program is made possible by funding from the Oregon Council for the Humanities, an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. OCH is dedicated to providing opportunities for life-long learning in communities throughout Oregon. For more information about OCH or Oregon Chautauqua, please contact Carol E. Hickman at (503) 241-0543. For more information about this or other library programs, please call 312-1032 or visit www.dpls.lib.or.

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