Religion: Blessing at Buckfast

In the hills of Devon, in western England, some 30 years ago, "Black Monks"† of the Benedictine order pulled aprons over their rough black robes, began a task which would have stumped most men. They undertook to rebuild Buckfast Abbey, crumbled to ruins in the 360-odd years since Henry VIII had dissolved England's monasteries.

Laying up stone by stone under the direction of their German-born Lord Abbot, Dom Anscar Vonier, the Benedictines—never numbering more than a half-dozen at a time—labored for 25 years. Their abbey was consecrated in 1932. But the scaffolding on the...

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