The history of religious institutions is too often stereotyped as devoutly formulaic, excising or overlooking the inherent drama in most community histories. This is especially the case with Mount Angel Abbey. In its almost 140 years of existence, it has known triumph and tragedy. The sacrifices of a founding generation were joined to the devastation of two fires. An initially insular community of Swiss monks became Americanized and expanded to Canada and Mexico. Despite periods of financial crisis and the occasional scandal, the momentum of a unique monastic culture left its mark. In many ways, Mount Angel's history is the history of a pilgrim Church, a steady and transformative sign of God's kingdom on earth. Includes black-and-white photos.