7 Amazing Monasteries To Visit In Iowa, USA

monasteries in iowa
Nadine
Nadine
Updated

It is exhilarating to check out the quarters of the nuns, monks, or monastics since most of them are simple yet grand in their own ways. Since these are religious buildings, expect nothing but serenity resounding throughout the property. Here in Iowa, USA, there are plenty: Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Sioux City, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ryumonji Zen Monastery, and much more. Exploring these buildings is often an activity that many tourists yearn for. Since the state of Iowa has lots of historic buildings, you will find all kinds of them here. Read this article to learn about the amazing monasteries to visit in Iowa, USA.

1. New Melleray Abbey

New Melleray Abbey
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user NancyHeise used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Founded in 1846, the New Melleray Abbey is of the Trappist origin, which is related to a branch of the Order of Cistercian. It was reported that the New Melleray Abbey houses about 28 monks. Here, you will find a beautiful building with a spacious landscaped garden laden with trees, grass, gardens, and some sacred statues. Inside, the building is designed with grey brick walls and at certain schedules, a congregation. You will find the place fantastic because of how serene it is. The rolling fields surrounding the area keeps the venue peaceful. The monastery also holds various events including Lunch and Learn, which includes a free lunch and a chance to talk with one of the monks.

New Melleray Abbey

Address: 6632 Melleray Cir, Peosta, IA 52068, United States

Website: New Melleray Abbey

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

2. Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey

Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey Dubuque
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user NancyHeise used under CC0

Another abbey of Trappist origins is Our Lady of the Mississippi. However, in contrast to New Melleray Abbey, you will find nuns here. Get to know the engaging community of Roman Catholic women who are warm and welcoming to anyone entering the premises. Every day, their schedule consists of singing gospel songs and conducting liturgies that are open for all. Our Lady of the Mississippi also offers a guest house in a peaceful setting, for those who want a day off for contemplation. To get to know more about the way of living of the nuns, you can ask for a visit to their workshops! They have simple yet interesting ways to make a living on their own. All around, the setting is everything peaceful and tranquil. Feel at ease as you visit this beautiful and friendly monastery.

Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey

Address: 8400 Abbey Hill Ln, Dubuque, IA 52003, United States

Website: Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

3. Ryumonji Zen Monastery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Located in the northwest of Iowa, Ryumonji Zen Monastery believes in rediscovery through soulful journeys. That is why the setting is in the stunning rolling countryside. With this rural setting, you can truly feel the difference while witnessing how the place flourishes in every way. While you’re here, get the opportunity to meet Rev. Shoken Winecoff, one of the permanent residents of the monastery, among many other remarkable people.

The Buddhist temple holds many ancient artifacts while the interior is simple and relaxing all throughout. Take a moment to just breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the scenery from here: lush forests, various forest trails, vegetation, and the places of worship. It is a great idea to get to know the interesting lives and backgrounds of the people here since they are friendly.

Ryumonji Zen Monastery

Address: 2452 Ryumon Rd, Dorchester, IA 52140, United States

Website: Ryumonji Zen Monastery

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

4. Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The lovely monastery of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary warmly welcomes you to a fruitful visit. To make your visit noteworthy, learn from the nuns as they gladly share information about anything - from fighting for social justice to making homemade caramels! Community gatherings take place here and anyone can take part in their celebrations. Every day, there is a mass schedule at different schedules (do check out their website for more information) starting in the morning. The Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary are open to all, so anyone has the chance to witness their lives and the ways they help others.

Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Address: 2360 Carter Rd, Dubuque, IA 52001, United States

Website: Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

5. Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Sioux City

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Sioux City takes you to a rejuvenating natural scene that helps put you at ease. The wonderful surroundings and the inviting atmosphere of the religious venue complements the humble way of living of the nuns. They believe that through desire and calmness, you can feel renewed. Take a moment to wander around the place - inside and outside - because you will find hidden venues like a shed by the forest trail. Nestled in the Loess Hills, find peace and amazement as you discover the life of these wonderful nuns.

Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Sioux City

Address: 2901 S Cecelia St, Sioux City, IA 51106, United States

Website: Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Sioux City

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 7am - 6pm; Mon - Fri: 6am - 6pm

Price: Free

6. Sisters of St. Francis - Dubuque

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The sisters of St. Francis - Dubuque are not only women of peace but also of conscientiousness and conviction. Advocating for the environment and social justice, these sisters hold a principle that keeps them contemplating ways to help those in need - welcoming the public during the liturgy, hosting special projects such as Sister Water, which is aimed at bringing safe water to the people of Tanzania and Honduras, and much more. They are all about giving back to society and taking action with much thought. Step into the grounds of the monastery with delight as you become aware of the nuns’ way of living and manners of playing a role in the community.

Sisters of St. Francis - Dubuque

Address: 3390 Windsor Ave, Dubuque, IA 52001, United States

Website: Sisters of St. Francis - Dubuque

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

7. Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Known as simply BVM, this congregation was founded by Mother Mary Frances Clarke. The gigantic venue is nestled in Carmel Drive, near the serene Mississippi River. Because of its strategic location, the monastery is visited by many, thus, various events are held here for any ages. It is not just all about seriousness and quiet here since the nuns themselves like to be active! There are Advocacy Days, which are focused on campaigning against oppression, Immaculate Conception Masses, and even tours around the building. Interesting fact: The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary are passionate when it comes to fighting for the rights of the oppressed.

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Address: 1100 Carmel Dr, Dubuque, IA 52003, United States

Website: Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

Friendly and peaceful monasteries of Iowa

Mount Carmel - Dubuque, Iowa 02
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Farragutful used under CC BY-SA 4.0

What makes these monasteries in Iowa lovely is not just about the tranquil setting, but also on how friendly they are. They are open not just to fellow strict believers, but also to the general public. That is due to their remarkable ideology of being a true neighbor. What can make your visit more interesting is learning the ways that these monks or nuns live: how they make a living, their schedules, and their thoughts on life from years of contemplation. Taking a moment to sit down and talk or even just listen to them can offer you a renewed perspective.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Film photography, entrepreneurship, and the performing arts are my interests. I adore meeting friendly people, trying exotic cuisines, and exploring places the local way. I live to experience the...Read more

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