Notable Visitors of Conception’s History


Empress Zita of Bourbon-Parma

Empress Zita, born in May of 1892, was the wife of Emperor Charles I and the last Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. Her husband, Emperor Charles I, was named Blessed by St. Pope John Paul II, with Empress Zita being named a Servant of God by Pope Benedict XVI. After the Empire’s collapse, Charles and Zita fled Austria, with Charles exiled and eventually dying in 1922 at the age of 34. Zita, who had sisters as Benedictine nuns, came to the United States in 1940. As she toured the United States, visiting various religious houses, she visited Conception Abbey in 1946. While here, she had a throne erected within the sanctuary—her right as a consecrated sovereign, where she attended Mass. During her visit, she gifted the Abbey with a rosary, which is still in our possession today.



Blessed Stanley Rother

Hailing from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Blessed Stanley Rother attended Conception Seminary College to learn Latin in the summer of 1959. Of his time, he wrote to his vocation director, “There is so much to learn in this short time, but this school can’t be beat for good teachers and methods. My grades are not the best, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn much this summer…” (cf. The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run). In his priesthood, Fr. Rother was martyred while serving God’s people in Guatemala. Fr. Rother, whose relic is reposed in the seminary chapel, is currently under consideration for sainthood; he is an inspiration for our seminary students.




Von Trapp Family

Immortalized in the movie The Sound of Music, the real von Trapp family from Salzburg, Austria, fled in 1938 after Adolf Hitler annexed Austria. After traveling through Europe shortly, they came to the United States. After their immigration, the family began performing through the United States as the Trapp Family Singers, performing a mix of liturgical, folk, madrigal, and ballad music. They performed nationally and internationally until 1957. One stop of this famous family was Conception Abbey in the 1940s. Fr. Norbert, our most senior monk, who arrived at the Abbey in the 1940s, remembers them coming and performing.




Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Archbishop Sheen was an American prelate known for his skill in oratory and teaching. Hosting the famous radio and television shows, The Catholic Hour on NBC (1930-1950), Life is Worth Living (1952-1957), and The Fulton Sheen Program (1961-1968), Archbishop Sheen became one of America’s first “televangelists.” His skill, fervor, and faithfulness as an orator and teacher had him traveling across the country, delivering lectures, and supporting the Church through his teaching. One of his stops in 1974 was Conception Abbey, where he spoke to the monks and seminarians. Pope Benedict XVI declared Archbishop Sheen as venerable in 2012, and Pope Francis in 2019 approved a reputed miracle to allow him to be beatified.

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