Balzamo style logoBenedictines belong to the oldest order of monastic life in the Catholic Church of the West. St. Benedict lived in Italy from 480-547. Inheriting traditions from the East, he wrote a Rule which organizes communities where brothers (or sisters) pray together in church seven times a day, study and meditate on Holy Scripture and work with their hands, while offering hospitality to those who wish to enjoy an oasis of peace and recollection for short periods of time.

Benedictine life has played an important role in the religious, cultural and economic development of virtually every European country. The Benedictines have been in Lithuania since the 15th century when the Grand Duke Vytautas invited Polish monks from Tyniec to settle in his manor at Old Trakai. From then on, there were monasteries of monks and nuns until the 19th century when the Tsar suppressed all the communities of men. The sisters courageously persevered and two communities of nuns have remained uninterrupted until now, having survived underground during the 50 years of Soviet persecution. After the restoration of Lithuanian independence, the monks of Solesmes in France discerned a call to come and restore the masculine branch of the order. In 1998, twelve monks were sent to accomplish this mission. The community currently has 14 monks, including 6 Lithuanians, 5 French, 2 Americans, and a brother of Russian-Polish origin from Kazakhstan.

We are located in the north of Lithuania in Palendriai diocese of Šiauliai, halfway between two important pilgrimage sites, the Hill of Crosses which is a 40-minute drive in one direction, and Šiluva, site of the very first Marian appearances in Europe (1608) 40 minutes away in the other direction. The monastery is located in the countryside, where we enjoy a pleasant and quiet natural setting, conducive to prayer and contemplation. The park is an old meadow where we laid down paths, planted many trees, and dug a pond. The property also touches the edge of a large and ancient forest.

The popular motto of the Order of St. Benedict is “ora et labora” - pray and work. Our most important activity is the “Opus Dei” the “work of God” comprised of the Eucharist and the liturgy of the hours, the public prayer of the Church. We are happy to be able to assure the daily celebration of the Mass and the Divine Office, entirely sung in Latin and Gregorian chant. Many people attend our offices, discovering an atmosphere of peace, devotion and a sense of the sacred. They can follow the prayers, psalms and Latin chants in booklets that give the translation. If they so wish, they can also venerate a thorn believe to be from the crown which Lord wore during his Passion. The historical credentials of this relic are rather impressive.

We raise bees, and the honey from our beehives is appreciated by visitors, who also like to buy other products made at the monastery: "Palendriukai" (carrot candy), medicinal herbal tea and a cream called "Balzamas" for skin care, made with organic and mostly local ingredients according to a unique recipe created by one of the monks. The monastery has become more well known in recent years and its influence continues to grow. We receive many visitors: the faithful who fill our church for liturgical celebrations, or who ask for confession or spiritual counseling; buses of pilgrims or tourists, who visit our exhibition on monastic life and make purchases in our gift shop. We receive more than 400 men per year for individual retreats of a few days inside the monastery, and more than double that number in the guest house situated outside the monastic enclosure where we welcome ladies, families and groups.

And so please do come and visit us. We are waiting for you and also praying for you.