If you haven’t yet made a trip to Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey and the sisters’ Trappistine Quality Candy factory and gift shop here in Wrentham – it’s high time you do!
There you’ll discover the remarkable story of a remarkable community who have devoted their lives to prayer for the world, and thrive in a very unique way.
A few years ago, the sisters learned that their former factory, built in 1956 – was not up to code.
Lacking the funds required to build a new factory, the sisters decided to run a “contemplative fundraising campaign”. They reached beyond their monastic “borders”, and appeared in public for concerts, and auctions.
The drive started in September 2007 and was completed in March 2011. Through this period of outreach, the sisters became better known and understood by the community, who were very generous in their support. They were able to build a factory that allows for growth and expansion of their candy offering.
Today, the sisters are working on doing just that – and on continuing to spread the word about their delicious candies – to help them expand sales to cover increased costs of running the factory, and to continue to support themselves by the work of their hands. They hope to build their wholesale and business gifting sales to help achieve this.
What makes them so different than your average, run of the mill candy business?
While some businesses and individuals hold their technology as their “lifeline”, the sisters of Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey, and their fellow Trappists and Trappistines around the world profess a different lifeline: prayer.
They live frugally, avoiding all excess, self-indulgence, and waste. They take care of the land that has been entrusted to them through the work of their predecessors and the generosity of benefactors. And they thrive!
Living according to the rule of St. Benedict, the Trappist order must “live by the work of their hands”, and here in Wrentham, the sisters do this by running a candy business, making their reknowned Butter Nut Munch, (chocolate covered toffee covered with hazelnuts), as well as Chocolate covered Almond Squares, Plain Chocolates, Fudge, and Penuche.
However, candy production is not what dominates their day. The sisters rise at 3 a.m. daily, and begin a regimen of individual and communal prayer that runs throughout their day. Work hours are compressed to accommodate their prayer schedule, which prevails as their most important activity. The sisters pray together 7 times/day.
So, their work hours must be super-productive, and advance planning helps them keep their prayer schedule intact, even through the busiest season of the year – around the Christmas and Chanukah seasons.
With the increased factory capacity, the sisters are looking to grow sales throughout the balance of the year - through retail stores, school fund raising program and other means. To this end, the sisters are currently re-designing their packaging, to make it more suitable to present as a gift, and make it more noticeable on a retailer’s shelf. They are also in the process of testing some new flavors, and have enlised the help of customers in doing so.
Their long-time customers say that their candy is the perfect gift for Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Thanksgiving, in addition to other holidays. This year, the sisters produced single long-stem chocolate roses elegantly wrapped in a florist box for Valentine’s Day, and lovely mini Nantucket-style Easter Baskets, suitable as gifts for children and adults of all ages.
And, many business owners have found that a combination of Trappistine candies makes a wonderful customer or vendor appreciation gift – at any time of year.
But don’t take our word for it – come and see for yourself what the sisters have to offer.
“Made with love and prayers” most literally –you can taste the goodness in every bite!