Fr. Raphael Vinciarelli, OSB
Prior, 1955-1965

1955 In China the Chinese monks, Fr. Paul and Bro. Peter, are imprisoned.

In California the Hidden Springs Ranch in Valyermo is purchased.

First Mass:  November 30

First overnight guests:  December 30-31

1956 Sung monastic prayer begins again on October 10th, on the Feast of Mary’s Motherhood (October 11) in the converted stable.  The community consists of 10 monks.






1957 The Spring Bazaar of June 1957 evolves into the Fall Art Festival of September 1958.

1958 The new retreat house is blessed for its first guests, November 21-23.

1959 The first summer workshops begin.

1961 The retreat house is expanded to it present size (17 rooms for 34 guests).

1964 The new monastery is blessed.




FR. WERNER, artist.











Fr. Philip Neri Verhagen, OSB
Conventual Prior, 1965-1973

1965 Following a canonical visitation by Theodore Ghesquière, Abbot of St. André /SintAndries Zevenkerken the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Annunciation raises Saint Andrew’s Priory from the status of dependent priory (i.e. dependent on the Mother-Abbey, St. André / Sint Andreisabdij  Zevenkerken in Brugge, Belgium) to the status of an independent priory. A monk of the Mother-Abbey, Fr. Philip Neri Verhagen, OSB, is appointed Conventual Prior by the Abbot President, Godefrid Dayez, upon the recommendation of Abbot Ghesquière.

1966 The Youth Center receives its first high school retreatants.

1967 The chapel is expanded by the addition of a nave, and Valyermo Ceramics begins.

Valyermo Ceramics

1968 The guest lounge is finished.

1972 Fr Raphael Vinciarelli, OSB, first Prior after the transfer to California, dies November 14.

1973 Prior Philip Neri is invited by the Queen of Belgium to become chaplain to the Belgian Royal Family.  He resigns as Conventual Prior and returns to Belgium.




1973-1974 Fr. Denys Hennessy, OSB, of St. Mary's Abbey, Morristown, New Jersey, is appointed Prior-Administrator by the Abbot President.

Fr. Denys Hennessy, OSB
Prior-Administrator 1973-1974





1974 Fr. John Borgerding, OSB is appointed Prior-Administrator for a term of two years. (He will serve as Conventual Prior for eighteen years)


Fr. John Borgerding, OSB
Prior-Administrator 1974-1976
Conventual Prior 1976-1992

1976 Fr. John Borgerding is elected Conventual Prior by the monastic community of Saint Andrew's Priory for a term of eight years.

1977 The cemetery is blessed.

1981 Brother Peter Zhou Bang-jiu is released from prison.

 Alberic Deloring OSB, died December 25

 The community celebrates 25 years at Valyermo.  Among the guests are are Abbot President Ambrose Watelet, former Abbot President Theodore Ghesquiere and former Prior Philip Neri.

Dance Vespers at various Fall Festivals

1982 Prior John Borgerding is re-elected Conventual Prior for a second term of eight years.

Fr.Thaddeus Yang An Djian, OSB died August 15.

1984 Brother Peter is reunited with his community and makes his solemn profession of vows at Saint Andrew’s Abbey in 1985 on the Feast of Peter and Paul.

1991 Fr. Wilfrid Weitz, OSB dies October 27.






1992 Canonical elevation from conventual priory to abbey.  Abbot President Ambrose Watelet, OSB presides over the election of Francis Benedict as first abbot for a term of eight years.

Abbot Francis Benedict, OSB

1994 Fr. Felix Tang, OSB dies April 14.

1996 Saint Andrew’s Abbey celebrates 40 years of service in Southern California.

Fr.Gaetan Loriers, OSB dies August 27.

1999 Saint Andrew’s Abbey celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding.  The community numbers 24 monks (14 priests, 8 brothers, 2 novices).

Fr. Vincent Martin, OSB dies November 30

2000 Sacred Art Festival celebrated in Pasadena.

Abbot Francis is elected for a second term of eight years

New Ceramics / Arts and Crafts Buildung

New Welcome Center / Conference Building

2006 New Arts & Crafts building is finished and occupied. Plans are submitted for a Welcome Center in the King David Apple Orchard.

2007 New Welcome and Conference Center completed.

New Youth Center Chapel

2008 Completion of the new youth Center chapel.




2008 Following a canonical visitation Abbot President Ansgar Schmidt appoints Fr. Damien Toilolo, OSB, Prior-Administror of Saint Andrew's Abbey for a term of two years.

Abbot Damien Toilolo, OSB
2008 -

2010 Damien Toilolo is elected second abbot of Valyermo for a term of eight years

2018 Abbot Damien is re-elected for a second term of eight years

2019 Completion of the cloister-extension: a new building for senior members of the monastic community

2020 March: Daily “livestreaming” of Lauds and Vespers from abbey chapel;

April-June: During Covid-19 lockdown, mass is celebrated in the chapel of the new cloister-extension building.

New Cloister-Extension for Senior Monks

Chapel in New Cloister Extension (during Covid)

2022 May 9 Brother Peter Zhou Bang-jiu dies.
September: Monastery guesthouse and Youth Retreat Center fully re-open.


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