Monastery of Saint Ansgar
The Monastery of Saint Ansgar
The Unixplorian Cross


Saint Ansgar

The Monastery of Saint Ansgar was founded in 849 to honor the Apostle of the North, Saint Ansgar.

Ansgar was born in Amiens, a town in present-day France. He joined the clergy early and founded the Abbey of Corvey in Westphalia. Harald Klak, the Danish king, sent him to missionary work in the Danish province of Jutland. Harald's reign was relatively weak, and Ansgar didn't manage to do the work he had hoped. Instead, he set up a school at the German border for Danish boys to learn the Christian faith. Sometime later, the Swedish king Bjorn at Haugi asked Ansgar to do missionary work in Sweden.

Ansgar spent six months at Birka, where he was pretty successful. Among other things, he formed the first Christian congregation in Sweden with the help of a noblewoman called Mother Ingeborg, the first historically confirmed woman in Sweden whose name is known.

Beginning in 831, he was appointed Legate for the Northern Lands and spent several years in Scandinavia, setting up churches and conducting missionary work among the people there. He spent 848-850 in Sweden, where he, among other things, founded a monastery at the border between Denmark and Sweden in 849 on his way to Birka. The Church of Unixploria is the rightful heir to the monastic order. To commemorate Saint Ansgar's work, we have named the monastery Saint Ansgar to honor his word and deed.

Saint Ansgar continued his work long after his missionary to the North. He is buried in the German city of Bremen.

The Rule of Saint Ansgar

The Rule of Saint Ansgar is an essential guide for living the Christian life. Every Ansgarian monastery and convent adheres to it today. This guide has endured for almost 1500 years and is still followed by thousands of people, making it a valuable study for monks, nuns, and laypeople.

The Vows

In the Rule, Saint Ansgar instructs his monks and nuns to balance prayer, work, study, and leisure (renewal). He emphasizes that the Divine Office is their primary responsibility (opus dei) and that their commitments are reflected in the vows of stability, conversion, and obedience. These vows have profound relevance for those not living in a monastery or convent.


Stability refers to the importance of community and commitment in life. For a monk or nun, it directly relates to a commitment to the monastery where they will live for the rest of their lives. While not all of us may be members of a monastic order, we can vow stability to our families, faith communities, local and global communities, and fellow pilgrims on the journey of faith. The vow of stability also pertains to our current environmental crisis, as remaining committed to the earth teaches us how to be good stewards of what God has given us.


Conversion is not a one-time experience. For monks and nuns, conversion of life means that everything they do is from, for, and with God and that God continually converts us. Their vow reminds them to acknowledge and be open to this ongoing conversion. For those of us not in the monastery, conversion is also an ongoing process that helps us continuously walk in the presence of God. According to Saint Ansgar, to hear God's voice and see God's presence among us, we must keep our hearts and minds open to how God is moving us. Blocking the transformation that God is working within us means not living the Ansgarian Way. An open heart allows balanced practices of prayer, work, study, hospitality, and renewal to illuminate how God works within us and in the world.


Obedience originates from the Latin word for "listen." The act of attentive listening is crucial to the Ansgarian Rule of Life. Saint Ansgar emphasized the importance of listening to one another in the community, as sometimes God speaks through the youngest member. However, the final decisions are left to the Abbot, and all community members must obey him. The concept of obedience may seem heavy in today's society. Yet, a balanced perspective on obedience can be viewed as a way to lead a disciplined, intentional life that seeks obedience to God. This desire for obedience remains relevant in today's world. Obedience can encompass a healthy sense of humility, self-knowledge, and respect for and following the guidance of leaders, teachers, and fellow travelers on the journey toward God.

Five Practices


Prayer is essential to the monastic life and calling and can also be a regular part of non-monastic lives. Saint Ansgar demonstrates the importance of structuring our day around communal prayers, such as the Divine Office and incorporating regular silent prayer, meditation, and prayerful reflection on Holy Scripture, known as lectio divina.


Work includes not only paid employment but also the contributions we make to our faith communities and our families. Saint Ansgar teaches us that all work has value and brings dignity to each human being, especially when it honors God by serving the community.


Study may involve reading Holy Scripture, the Rule, wisdom writings, or studying with others to deepen our spiritual and intellectual lives. It can also include studying academic disciplines to broaden our knowledge of God's creation.


Hospitality involves inviting strangers into our lives and being welcoming to those who are already in our lives. It is essential to treat each other well and welcome each person as if they were Christ to create a healthy sense of hospitality.


Renewal can involve keeping a Sabbath, nurturing interests that remind us of God's presence, or appreciating beauty and love in our daily lives. It's a time to remember that our lives are still centered on the Divine and that God is the ultimate focus of our Rule of Life.