St. Joseph Abbey

Saint Benedict, LA

The renovation is a unique renovation project. The project was done with virtually no construction of new walls and no demolition of existing walls. The only new piece is the plaster reredos in the apse behind the presider’s chair. The plan was modified to locate the monastic choir under the central dome and move the altar to the apse.

Since four of the VE services each day are Benedictine Hours of Prayer, the altar is used once a day. This prioritized the setting for the monastic choir in the central space of the Latin plan church. The original translucent glass windows were replaced with new thermal frames and ‘Remy” art glass from Germany. New lighting was installed to control the light for various liturgical settings and improve the energy efficiency. All the original tile floor was replaced with terra cotta tile and granite trim as accents. A new tracker pipe organ was designed and installed by Lynn Dobson. The custom granite font and altar are the focal points at both the east and west ends of the church.

The extended crossing on the north side of the church will be renovated to create a small reservation chapel as a future phase of construction. A new accessible ramp is planned at the exterior entry on the west façade. The original balcony at the narthex was removed to provide more volume and better day lighting in the narthex.


Historic Building


  • 2002 AIA – Religious Architecture Design Award
  • 1998 AIA – Minnesota Chapter – Honor Award

Industry: Religious