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Our Story

Our Mission

Our Mission

The Abbey of the Hills fosters the rediscovery of peace.

The Abbey of the Hills Inn & Retreat Center began as a Benedictine monastery founded by monks from St. Meinrad Abbey in Indiana. The new Abbey was established on June 24, 1950 on the prairie hills near Marvin, SD, overlooking the Whetstone Valley. The monastery was a self-sustaining community with the mission of ministering to Native American tribes. Over the years, the brothers also successfully managed a popular retreat center for groups and individuals.


Originally there were 40 founding members, but by 2012 the numbers had dwindled to 14 (with three over the age of 90). In May 2012, the Benedictine monks voted to close their monastery and on August 5, 2012 the Abbey officially closed.


In December 2013, a nonprofit organization was created and named The Abbey of the Hills Inn & Retreat Center. The Abbey faced a unique challenge to transition from a place made holy by the perpetual dedication of monks, to a new definition of holiness through the guidance of a group of faithful lay people.

God's Mission is for All of Us...

The monks of St. Meinrad’s ArchAbbey came to South Dakota with a 3-part mission: to begin and establish schools among the Native American people, to share the Gospel of our Lord, and to establish a monastery. 


This region sees and can feel the tangible results of the first two parts of their mission. God’s mystery lives in part three. The monks accomplished the 3rd part of their goal in a way they did not envision; through all of us. The work that was begun by the monks now exists in the lay people who work for, and visit, the Abbey of The Hills.


In the words of Father John McMullen, OSB, “God surprises us often in life.”

The property blends Industrial Age tools with ageless philosophy in a pastoral setting of rolling hills, native plants, wildlife and livestock to achieve remarkable harmony. The harmony is not by accident, the designed balance recognizes the truth and benefits of the simple, faithful life of the Benedictine monks.


The Abbey of the Hills is committed to maintaining the harmony and holiness of this very special place in the world. The Abbey of the Hills is open to all walks of faith, whether you like to write, hike, pray or play. Some of the unique opportunities The Abbey offers are:

  • group retreats (hosted or self-guided)

  • family reunions

  • business workshops

  • musical and community events

  • guided tours

  • volunteer opportunities

  • personal reflection


Rediscover Peace in a busy world!

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