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.”


December 6, 2022: Announcement from Abbot James:

Dear Friends of St. Anselm’s,

After some weeks of declining health, our dear Fr. Boniface von Nell died peacefully on Monday afternoon at Suburban Hospital, where he had received excellent care. His abbey caregiver, Rowena Corbett, and I were at his side, holding his hands as he breathed his last. Fr. Boniface was a gentle, loving person and a dedicated Benedictine monk. Within the monastery he had held many positions over the years, including those of guestmaster, novice master, sacristan, librarian, and director of oblates. He also served as the spiritual director for many persons and was a gifted iconographer, with some of his icons regularly being on the cover of our Christmas cards. He also loved our school and for many years taught classes in Latin and German, the latter a language he had learned from his parents.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held in our abbey church on this coming Saturday, December 10, at 10:00 a.m. The previous day, Friday the 9th, the rite of Reception of the Body into the church will take place at 4 p.m., with visitation possible from then until 9 p.m.

May he now rest in the Lord’s peace.


--Abbot James

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

All Masses and Sunday Vespers are streamed on our YouTube Channel.

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