Former monk translates film into book about historical Wisconsin mansion-turned-monastery

J. Patrick Rick goes in-depth about invasion, seizure and history behind a Midwestern Catholic monastery in “The Abbey & Me: Renegades, Rednecks, Real Estate & Religion”

(PR NewsChannel) / February 14, 2012 / AUSTIN, Texas 

The Abbey and Me

"The Abbey and Me" by J. Patrick Rick

In his historical work, “The Abbey & Me: Renegades, Rednecks, Real Estate & Religion” (ISBN 1456491814) author, filmmaker and former monk, J. Patrick Rick, documents the story of how a mansion, converted into a monastery, was raided in a hostile takeover. The film version, “The Novitiate,” was so popular with festival audiences that it was turned into a book.

A little after midnight on New Year’s Day 1975, a band of Menominee Indian warriors took over the Alexian Brothers Novitiate in Wisconsin, seizing several hostages in the process. Rick begins his investigation by researching the depression-era construction of that rural and palatial private mansion prior to its use as a monastery.

He further educates his readers about the glory days as a remote religious institution, its role as an epicenter for civil disobedience and its date with dynamite. Modern-day photography and more from past eras thoroughly illustrates each point throughout the book.

Contrary to the norm, the documentary gave birth to the nonfiction book. Although ecstatic fans of the film documentary were the ones who wanted more details about the mansion-turned-monastery in paper form, Rick says he was motivated to write about this particular subject when he returned to find his novitiate, a.k.a. abbey, crumbling down.

“Over 30 years after leaving Wisconsin, I had the occasion to return to Milwaukee for a business trip,” Rick speaks of his memoir. “I decided to make the nostalgic half-day drive up north to the Village of Gresham only to find the monastery I remembered so fondly was in ruins.”

The author, given the name Brother Gordon in the monastery, allowed his persistence, curiosity and fond memories of a long-forgotten place to speak the praises of this once spectacular monastery and its extensive history in “The Abbey & Me: Renegades, Rednecks, Real Estate & Religion.” He believes the interesting story will attract old and young students of contemporary and Native American history, and that the book will evoke the memory and evolution of today’s Catholicism for that broad audience of curious readers.

 “The Abbey & Me: Renegades, Rednecks, Real Estate & Religion” is available for sale online at and other channels.

About the Author: J. Patrick Rick joined the Alexian Brothers, a Catholic order of men that operates health facilities, after graduating from high school in 1966. However, before he had to make a life-long commitment to the brotherhood and religious community, Rick left and pursued a family and career of his own. Over three decades after leaving, he returned to Wisconsin to find his monastery in ruins. Rick decided to make a film, which has now turned into a book.

J. Patrick Rick
Phone:             (800) 580-0731   
                           (949) 357-7425



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SOURCE:  J. Patrick Rick

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