Abbey of the Genesee, Piffard

The Abbey of the Genesee is a community of more than two dozen contemplative monks located near Piffard in the town of York, New York. They are a member of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly known as the Trappists. They were founded from the Abbey of Gethsemani in Bardstown, Kentucky in 1951.
The monks' work largely consists of baking a brand of bread called Monks' Bread which is available commercially in Rochester, New York and other nearby markets in western New York. The sale of the bread helps support the abbey and its inhabitants. The bread was first prepared solely for the monks by one of the community, and a demand for loaves from outsiders gradually led to the commercial operation.
The bread is baked several times each week in the early hours of the morning. For that reason the monks go to bed around seven at night in order to rise about two in the morning. For reasons of security and hygiene, it is not possible to observe the baking process except through slides and photographs.
Several varieties of bread are baked, including white, whole wheat, multi-grain, and raisin, along with a number of other products such as jams and fruitcakes.
The abbey is open from 2:00 am until 7:00 pm. Casual visitors are able to enter only a restricted part of the abbey. The abbey is open to serious individual guests and small groups who wish to make a retreat and avail themselves of the counseling of the monks. A small fee is charged to cover expenses.
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Abbey of the Genesee Reviews
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  • I like to stop here to pick up some of the monks’ delicious bread and other baked goods and to stop in the chapel for a quick prayer or meditation. Nourishing for body and soul.  more »
  • A blessed place for anyone seeking both a retreat from the busyness of life and space and time to draw near to God. The peaceful and pastoral setting, the good food (meals are provided at the retreat....  more »
  • Truly wonderful and peaceful place. As a Catholic, I was very moved being here.
  • This is one of my favorite places in the entire world. I’ve stayed at the Bethlehem Retreat house and Mike Souter, the manager, is the best. The cooks are also so helpful and make such tasty hearty and healthy food. Going away every year helps me keep balance. This place has such an anointing, the silence and solitude I am able to have here allows me to be able to hear God clearer. I am forever grateful for this place and to these monks who live a life open to God’s presence and pray each and every day for our world.

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