Monasteries | Zundert (NL)
Abdij Maria Toevlucht
4882 KC Zundert
Maria Toevlucht Abbey [Our Lady of Refuge Abbey], monks in De Moeren [De Moeren is a nature preserve in the Netherlands].
Maria Toevlucht Abbey is located among the forests and pasture lands of Zundert in the Netherlands, near the Belgian border.
In the autumn of 1899, two monks left Tilburg for De Moeren in Zundert, where Bart Nouws, a tenant farmer on the little farm “De Kieviet” [The Lapwing or Plover], provided a place for them to stay temporarily. Construction of the first monastery was quickly begun. On the feast of the Ascension, May 24, 1900, the abbot of Tilburg dedicated this chapel and, with twelve monks led by Fr. Nivardus Muis, Maria Toevlucht officially began to function as a monastery. After a difficult period at the beginning – in 1909 the monks even had to leave the priory for six months and take refuge in Westmalle – the monastery gradually came into calmer waters and grew to about 80 monks in the 1950's. For decades, the monastery's most important source of income was their dairy farm, in addition to which the monks tried to be self-sufficient in as many ways as possible (garden, artisan products).
From the end of the 1960's, the number of guests received at the monastery increased and meditation sessions began to be held. In the course of the years, these meditation sessions found a place in the life of the brothers and the many guests. In the mid-1970's a whole new quadrangle was built at the end of the old monastery and each brother received his own room in order to be able to experience the necessary silence and solitude. In 2000 it was decided to replace the guesthouse and the gatehouse completely and to renovate the existing buildings thoroughly. In January 2005 this renovation was completed. At present 21 monks are living in the monastery.
In the gatehouse there is a large Monastery Store where we sell our own products (books, CD’s, honey, etc.) as well as religious books and diverse monastic products from other monasteries.
Recently a cooperative agreement was reached with Natuurmonumenten regarding the administration of a large part of our property (a total area of 68 hectares in forests and pasture land).