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Sunday, 01 September 2002
Certification in the Benedictine Tradition

The overall philosophy of the Benedictine Monks at Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN fits with the philosophy of the FSC. So the Abbey recently had all 2400 acres of its forestland certified by Smartwood as an FSC well-managed forest.


Saint John’s Abbey was established in 1856 by the Order of St. Benedict, and its forestland is comprised of primarily red oak and northern hardwoods with scattered conifer plantations. Most of their oak lumber is used internally. In 2001, the harvest was 298,000 board feet. While most of the wood goes for saw logs, the campus has a wood shop that makes furniture for the Abbey, Saint John’s University, Saint John’s Preparatory School and The Liturgical Press. If you visit Saint John’s and sit in one of its chairs, chances are it was built from a tree on the property.

According to Tom Kroll, Saint John’s Land Manager and Arboretum Director, the oak stands are an oasis of what the entire region’s timber stands used to look like. “The oak forests at Saint John’s Abbey are a living relic of the past, and it’s not by chance," said Dave Bubser, SmartWood Northern U.S. Regional Manager. “The Benedictine’s balanced approach to life carries over directly into the management of their forests. After more than a century of responsible stewardship, FSC certification is a fitting acknowledgement of the Benedictine’s tradition."

“The Benedictine tradition of land stewardship is reflected in this certification. Even after 150 years of constant use, the forest continues to produce beautiful, big, old trees, abundant habitat, pristine lakes, and wonderful recreational and educational activities," said Kroll.

The FSC certification of Saint John’s Abbey represents well the social aspect of the FSC. Another religious institution active in the FSC is the United Methodist Church.