There’s More to the Shakespeare in the Ruins Site Than I Thought

Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park St. NorbertI’ve been to the former Trappist Monastery site in St. Norbert many times to watch productions of Shakespeare in the Ruins. But I didn’t know anything about the history of the place. I also didn’t know that behind the area where the theatre productions are held there is a garden and cultural centre.  One of my Winnipeg Art Gallery colleagues helps to maintain the beautiful green space around that cultural centre and she told me about it recently.

Ready for the play to begin

So when we attended the Shakespeare in the Ruins production of Romeo and Juliet on Friday night I made a point at intermission to go and find the cultural centre and its surrounding garden.  

The current St. Norbert Arts Centre was once a guest house for the Our Lady of the Prairies monastery which was established in 1892 for about forty Trappist monks fleeing from religious persecution in France. At the monastery they ran a bakery, greenhouse, sawmill and blacksmith shop.  They had bees and cows and sold meat, milk, cheese and honey. They also devoted themselves to prayer and contemplation. So it is fitting that the garden around the former guest house is called a meditation garden. It is a beautiful place to walk and think. 

The lilac bushes in the garden smelled wonderful

 I was all alone in the garden during intermission on Friday night. It was lovely and quiet. A century ago it was a quiet  garden too, because the Trappist monks only communicated by sign language.

I realized after reading more about the St. Norbert Arts Centre on their website that there is also a vegetable garden, orchard, ceremonial grounds with two sweat lodges and kitchen building which I didn’t see. I’ll have to look for those on my next visit. 

Other posts………

Dorothy’s Garden

Plants That Talked to Me

Home Grown in Newfoundland

 
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1 Comment

Filed under Religion, Theatre, Winnipeg

One response to “There’s More to the Shakespeare in the Ruins Site Than I Thought

  1. Interesting…like always. I had dinner there a few years ago. Not sure if the restaurant still operates. I took my kids there to roam around the ruins, back when they were young.

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