Gerleve Abbey

Billerbeck, Germany

Gerleve Abbey was founded by the monks of Beuron Archabbey. The community, dedicated to Saint Joseph, was established in 1899 on the farm given for the purpose by the Wermelt family. It was formally declared an abbey in 1904. The first abbot was ordained in 1906, Raphael Molitor OSB. In 1941 the community was expelled from Westphalia by order of the National Socialists, but the monks were able to return in 1946.

There is a graveyard in the abbey grounds, where among others there are buried Russian prisoners of war and deceased patients from the military hospital which occupied the premises in World War II.

Several of the monks are active in scholarly work; others work in pastoral care and the care of guests. There are two retreat-houses close to the abbey.

The Haus Ludgerirast offers room for up to 47 people taking part in different courses, seminars or retreats, of which there is a wide choice. Many people also spend their holidays near the abbey.

In the Haus St. Benedikt education centre (Jugendbildungsstätte) there is room for about 80 young people from all kinds of schools, for students or for family-groups with children (there is a playground nearby). There are also rooms for groups attending one-day events (lectures, retreats, meditation groups and so on).

The abbey itself can house about 10 (male) guests making retreats or wishing to take part in the community life of work and prayer.



Your name


Founded: 1899
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: German Empire (Germany)

More Information


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sabine R. (13 months ago)
Great place for excursions of all kinds. Ideal environment for walks and bike rides. The monastery itself is also a good place to stay. Rooms clean, friendly atmosphere.
Jodie Hallett (21 months ago)
Absolutely beautiful, calm and peaceful, warm and welcoming
Carsten Kauf (2 years ago)
I went to this venerable monastery site by bike on the way to Billerbeck. Unexpectedly, the silhouette of the building appeared behind one of the hills of the tree mountains and attracted me almost magically. The monastery lay like a mirage in the afternoon sun. Strange. Time shifted. Exalted but not powerful. I then sat on the pedestal of an obelisk for a good hour and let my eyes wander. The tower bells struck five times, and later they rang to call for Vespers. A few monks and a few guests found their way to prayer. Time passed and an inner calm spread more and more. When is the right time for the return journey? What is hidden behind the walls? What is the purpose of the other buildings in the complex? It was clear to me, "I'll go there again!" When I got home, this desire was even stronger and I did some research on the internet. In the head the monastery tavern with its large parasols and the numerous guests, and above all this historic sandstone masonry. What can I say? Mail written, got a very nice reply back. The result is that I am going to walk a good 30 kilometers with my son, who will be 30 years old, and spend two nights in the facility. Maybe some of my questions will be answered afterwards, maybe they are no longer important ...
Mi Hei (2 years ago)
A beautiful monastery in a beautiful area. You can eat very well there. Westphalian cuisine at good prices. There is also a nice playground there.
Rudy Hagedorn (4 years ago)
A gem and place of peace and mindfulness. Do not miss to visit the chant times of the monks, one of the rare locations left in Germany where you can still here Gregorian Chants, unplugged. Excellent restaurant plus one of the best specialised bookshops in this part of the country. Bed & Bike guestroom offers, not only for pilgrims. Placed in the middle of a net of nice trekking routes. Highly recommend.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg

The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.

The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.

The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.