Revisiting the Benedictine Priory of Montreal

Video footage of the Benedictine Priory of Montreal is hard to come by, especially as the monastery closed in 1990.  Radio-Canada’s French language program on religion, “Second Regard,” did do two reports on the community in the 1980s.  Alas, I do not have access to those videos.

However, some footage is available of the actual physical structure of the former mansion and monastery.  After the priory closed its doors, the house was used as a film set for at least two movies I know of.

The first is a dramatization of the Nuremberg Trials, where the former monastery serves as the Nuremberg home of the chief prosecutor, played by Alec Baldwin in “Nuremberg.”  In the following clip, you see an exterior shot of the former monastery, with the actors, including Mr. Baldwin, walking through the main door and down the marble hallway.

An even more amazing use of the former priory as a movie set occurs in the Donald Sutherland movie, “The Assignment,” about the assassin, Carlos the Jackal.  The priory is now a safe-house in Berlin for Carlos, and the house is under assault in this clip.  Once the assault team has moved into the house and down the marble hallway they shoot and kill a group playing cards where the monastic community used to sing the Regina caeli.

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3 Responses to Revisiting the Benedictine Priory of Montreal

  1. Paul Geraghty says:

    Have just come across this post. As the only one of the original monastic community to remain in Montreal (as a diocesan priest) I thought you might be interested to know that this rather large mansion has reverted to its original use as a single family home! The films date from its brief life as the Unitas centre and I was actually in residence when one was being made – although neither of the above! Best wishes!

  2. Caroline Edwards says:

    I am shocked to hear of the Priory’s closure! My husband and I were hoping to visit it as this is where I studied meditation along with anoter couple from Perth, Western Australia in 1987! Where have the monks gone to reside??

  3. Caroline, I read your message having just been at the World Community for Christian Meditation Australia National Conference in Melbourne with Fr Laurence Freeman OSB who was part of the Community at the Priory with Fr John Main OSB when you visited. The World Community for Christian Meditation continues the practice of Christian meditation as you learnt it (possibly with Sam and Vesta from Perth?) and Fr Laurence now resides at the new International Retreat Centre called Bonnevaux in France . see bonnevauxwccm.org There are many meditation groups in WA and all around Australia and the world see.wccm.org and wccmaustralia.org.au
    pax

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