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St. Maurice's House

St. Maurice's House is located about an hour north of Bedlam on the state roads, not far from Sturgeon Bay. St. Maurice's House was founded by Father Michael Fenstermacher, a German Lutheran who came to the United States to do "ecumenical work" in the years after World War II. An Afrodeutsche man whose mother had emigrated to Germany in 1930 from her native Southwest Africa, Fenstermacher clashed repeatedly with congregations in Bedlam (who had perhaps made some assumptions about a German-born priest eager to leave the town where he'd grown up) before beginning the construction of his monastery (something of a rarity among Lutherans) in 1956. After a fire destroyed his original building (and also his parsonage), Fenstermacher won permission to relocate his project outside the city limits. 

The main house has five family rooms for guests, a large living/dining room with a balcony that looks out across the lawn towards the towering nearby pine trees. There are bird feeders, and if they're empty, the local bird population will let you know. The buildings are down a long gravel road off the state road and rarely get accidental visitors. The chapel, still visibly the Quonset hut that was its original frame back when Fenstermacher built it himself in 1957, has been a scene of decades of prayer and is decorated somewhat eclectically. Services are held there by the small Lutheran contingent at the site, seven times a day as per the liturgical calendar, from 5:10AM to 8:30PM. Time spent in daily prayer takes about three hours, done slowly. Time between services is spent in reading and meditation, usually physical. 


St. Maurice's follows a rule of silence from about 9PM to about 9AM, with a shorter span of silence after the noon meal. While there's room for flexibility in emergencies, they value the mechanism for turning inward and achieving the full benefits of prayer. There's a comfortable lounge and porch, meals are taken with the community. 


As with many religious communities in remote areas, St. Maurice's tends to be a home for various Lutheran priests (St. Maurice's is jointly supported by all the major US Lutheran denominations) who are considered unsuitable by their parent denominations for various reasons, thus creating something of a rogues gallery among residents at the House. The current head of the institution, Father Richard Samuels, was assigned his post after uncovering a major financial scandal in the Lutheran denomination that is still technically his spiritual home, and is thoroughly disgusted by the quality of men working under him. It's time to shake things up around here... 

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