About the Virgil Michel Center


The Virgil Michel Center is an apostolate of the Bethlehem Community of Benedictine Oblates  in Bathgate, ND together with associated diocesan priests, all oblates of Mount Angel Abbey. The Center wishes to promote a genuine Christian culture through:

  • Fostering the nuptial relationship between priests, religious and laity

  • Promoting beauty in the liturgical life of the Church

  • Facilitating practical, economic cooperative works as integral facets of the New Evangelization

  • Responding more deeply to Mary as Mother, especially for the sake of our children, in a culture that in threatening unborn life, marginalizes the child


The Center is named after Dom Virgil Michel, a monk of St. Johns Abbey in Collegeville, MN, because of his holistic vision that Christ in us–what he called The Christ-life—nourished by the Sacraments, was meant to feed and inform every part of life: familial, social, apostolic, and economic.

As founder of the periodical Orate Fratres and a major writer on liturgical and social issues, Fr. Virgil Michel had many noteworthy interactions with other pioneers of the Liturgical and Catechetical Movements (notably with Dominican Sisters Estelle Hackett, O.P. and Jane Marie Murray, O.P. when he worked as editor for The Christ-Life Series in Religion catechetical series for children), as well as within the Lay Apostolate. Virgil also carried on a lively discussion with Dorothy Day of The Catholic Worker and Catherine Doherty of Madonna House—as they did with each other. Both of these women were seeking—each in her own way—to apply the truth that Christ affects every area of human life. The fruit of these two women’s thoughtful and sacrifice-infused lives is still apparent today in the active outreach of their lay apostolates.

The specific content of the Virgil Michel Center website is informed by the following emphases of the Bethlehem Community:

The children’s book apostolate, Bethlehem Books, with its focus to “feed the imagination,” has been a particular (and concrete) expression of doing good so that more good can occur within our culture; a good that flows from the fount of God’s goodness and truth—received through Christ and nurtured by the Holy Spirit in the sacramental life of the Church.  Access to books filled with living ideas is formative and healing, enhancing a person’s ability to respond to the spiritual realities with an informed mind, heart and actions.

       The associated priests each offer a unique vision for a dynamic, integrated liturgical life as they labor in parishes and extend their wisdom, service and sacramental grace to the Community. This experience confirms Dom Virgil Michel's understanding of the essential role that mutuality between priests and laity plays in allowing Christ's power to infuse every aspect of daily life. A relationship of this kind between priests and laity seems to be an essential dimension for the fulfilling of fruitful apostolic works and the Community is grateful to God for these particular priests as well as other faithful priests who have worked with them over the years

 “...The liturgy understood and lived after the mind of Christ and his Church—therefore lived both individually and socially—cannot but flower out into a genuine Christian culture.”

Virgil Michel, Orate Fratres 10


Please distinguish opinions on this site from authoritative texts. If there are concerns about the use of possibly copyrighted material please email us at email@virgilmichelcenter.com