Catholic Saint Leo Abbey recently completed installation of new flooring on the second floor of its Saint Leo Hall. The slideshow for this article shows parts of the installation and the completed flooring project.
The second floor of Saint Leo Hall contains the abbey’s administrative offices, reception office, and is a main destination for Catholic and non-Catholic guests who arrive for spiritual retreats.
Getting new flooring is also a good birthday present for the old Saint Leo Hall, named for a Catholic pope, Saint Leo the Great. Saint Leo Hall turned 101 years old this year. When completed in 1912, Saint Leo Hall had wood floors. Later green and tan linoleum flooring was used in the lobby and most recently all of the second floor had grey carpeting.
According to most visitors I talked with over the weekend, the new flooring looks much better and gives a more historic look and feel to the abbey. That was one of the goals of Abbot Isaac, O.S.B. The new flooring and other restorations at Saint Leo Abbey abbey have all sought to bring forward and preserve the beauty of the old abbey.
In December 2007 Abbot Isaac, O.S.B., was elected Saint Leo Abbey’s sixth abbot. He is about to finish the sixth year of restoration projects throughout the abbey. The abbey church was restored in 2009 and 2013 also saw the completion of renovated facilities for youth and teen retreats.
Restoring this Catholic abbey has proven and made visible to all visitors the well-known motto of Catholic Benedictine monks, ora et labora, prayer and work. It is not uncommon for my wife and I to see monks hard at work on the abbey property or in the old buildings. Benedictines are self sufficient. That’s one of the reasons Benedictines still exist after nearly 1,500 years. It’s their call to both prayer and work in a life that seeks to dwell with God.
Saint Leo Abbey is part of that long history of stability and independence from the world that marks the Catholic Benedictine order of monks, sisters, and nuns. The Benedictine order goes back to Saint Benedict in 530 AD and the Montecassino Abbey in Italy.
As part of a 1,500-year-old family tree, the first Benedictine monks came to Saint Leo Abbey in 1886 to begin a mission that became the first and only Benedictine monastery for monks in Florida. This week the monks got new flooring. Perhaps not a big step when seen in isolation, but like the parable of the three stonecutters, it’s all a matter of where you see the horizon.