A Benedictine Monastery in the Heart of Washington, DC

Rt. Rev. Dom James Wiseman, OSB

Near the north-east boundary of the District of Columbia, twelve minutes by Metro from Union Station and twenty minutes from the Capitol, is a thriving Benedictine monastery. Here, we monks live the life of prayer established by our sixth-century founder St. Benedict and where we continue that life and the aspirations of our founder for the glory of God and the sanctification of our nation and world.

Within an urban oasis of 40 acres of secluded woodland surrounding the monastery, the usual sounds of a busy city are subdued. Here, too, stands our highly regarded middle school and high school, where the values of our patrons, St. Benedict and St. Anselm, are proclaimed among our youth as we prepare them for lives of service to God and their fellow human beings.

Some have referred to the abbey as “Washington’s best kept secret”; perhaps this is because monks are not naturally given to the more ostentatious ways of projecting themselves upon the surrounding world. Monasteries are primarily places of prayer and virtuous activity, and our evangelization is precisely through prayer, spiritual direction, and education. We cordially invite you to share our secret. We invite you to “come and see.”


February 20, 2023: Announcement from Abbot James regarding the passing of Fr. Christopher Wyvill

Dear Members of the St. Anselm’s Community,

On February 20, Fr. Christopher Wyvill, O.S.B. died after a year and a half of declining health.

Born in Upper Marlboro, Maryland in 1930, he received his primary and secondary education there, after which he enlisted in the Navy for three years. Toward the end of that period, he won an NROTC scholarship to Cornell University.

Upon graduation in 1955, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Bearss, where he served as an engineering officer. After being released from active duty he entered the Benedictine community at St. Anselm’s, where he made his first vows in 1960 and was ordained priest in 1965. During his many years at the abbey he served most capably in various positions: for twenty years as a teacher of chemistry and mathematics in the abbey’s school, and in the monastery itself at various times as bursar, plant manager, cantor, guestmaster, and gardener. He also served for two years at a parish of the English Benedictine Congregation in Swansea, Wales, where he was greatly appreciated by the parishioners. Back in Washington, Father Wyvill was involved in the charismatic movement until a diagnosis of cancer in 2021 required him to curtail many of his activities.

As a genuine pillar of his monastic community, he will be greatly missed. His body will be received in the abbey church at 4 pm on Friday, February 24, with visitation available until 9 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the church at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 25, followed by burial in the abbey cemetery.

Pax in Sapientia,

Abbot James Wiseman, OSB

Dear Friends of St. Anselm’s,

As we continue follow guidelines from the D.C. government and the archdiocese, we no longer require masking on the part of those who come to worship with us, even though we recognize that many persons will prefer to wear a mask, which is perfectly fine. All of our liturgical services are now open to the public. For the time being, holy Communion at Mass will be offered only under the species of bread, and the sign of peace should be exchanged by a bow or wave and so not yet by shaking hands. This may seem to some persons as overly cautious, but we have been spared any outbreak of the virus thus far and are taking reasonable precautions so that everyone, both monks and guests, may stay healthy.

Sincerely in St. Benedict,
--Abbot James Wiseman, OSB

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