Friday, November 26, 2010
Monk with Single Ox and Cart
The monks at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Valley used oxen to work on their 530 acres of land in the town of Cumberland R.I. The monks were of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance founded in 1098. After a fire destroyed their abbey in Nova Scotia in 1892 they migrated to R.I. around 1900. I wonder if they brought their oxen with them, as oxen were frequently used in Nova Scotia.
Stone was quarried from the monastary property, by the monks, to erect buildings. Oxen moved materials from place to place and helped with the farming by plowing the fields; hooded monks could be seen laboring in the fields along with the oxen.
They also sold items in their gift shop; I expect that may be the source of the postcards from which this photo of the ox originated. In 1950 much of the monastery was again destroyed by fire. The Cumberland public library now occupies the site of the previous Monastery of Our Lady of the Valley.