Founded in Caracas on 2 April 1923
promoted to the grade of Conventual Priory on 16 June 1947
promoted to the grade of an Abbey on 7 December 1964
transferred to Güigüe on 22 September 1990
Abadía Benedictina de San José
Apdo. 3662, El Trigal
Phone +58 245-341.10.32
Phone +58 245-341.19.16
Fax +58 245-341.16.51
The first four Benedictine Monks of the Congregation of St. Ottilien came to Venezuela on Easter Monday, April 2, 1923. Their purpose was to take over and to develop the Pilgrimage Shrine of St.Joseph and the home for poor children which had been started in Caracas by Father Santiago Machado, a Venezuelan diocesan priest. This monastic settlement was raised to the rank of conventual priory on the sixteenth of June in 1947 and became an abbey on the seventh of December in 1963. In the course of time the monks were entrusted with pastoral work in the parish of St. Benedict which had been established December 1, 1953 for the poor families which had settled in the area of the monastery. The chief tasks of the Abbey are the spiritual ministry for the pilgrims who come to the Shrine of Saint Joseph, pastoral care in the Parish of St. Benedict and the running of a school and home for the children of poor families. The Abbey has two dependent houses. The first is at Camuri Chico on the coast near Caracas where the monks run a school for children and operate a farm. The second is at El Rosal near Bogota in Colombia where the monks are in charge of a Religious Training Centre, a farm, a carpentry and metal workshop.
The community of St Joseph's Abbey, Güigüe (Venezuela), has today elected Fr Otto Lohner its third abbot. Fr Otto is 64 years old. He was professed at St. Ottilien in 1958 and has been working in Venezuala since 1966. Up to his election he was prior and bursar of the abbey. He has been elected for an unlimited period.
The election took place in the wake of the resignation on the 31st of December of Abbot José Maria Martinez Barrera upon having completed 20 years as abbot.
Güigüe, 11 January 2003
+ Jeremias O.S.B., Archabbot
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