Body and Soul: John Paul II Fitness Center

Tuesday evening is the only day of our monastic schedule that varies a little.  I described our usual haustus practice in a previous post.  This evening after Vespers, we had a community meeting to discuss certain plans in preparation for the renovation of the monastery.  It is a significant project and we have many things to consider.

Dinner usually concludes a little before 7:00pm, so there are a couple hours free and the monks spend it in different ways.  Tonight there was the usual group of four monks playing card (Bridge) in the coffee room, and a few others visiting.  I had not exercised all day, so I went to the fitness center on the south side of campus to work out.

The John Paul II Fitness Center was recently renovated and formally known as the “JFK” building.  The building, constructed in the early 1960’s, was designed to be a large scale recreation center, providing space for racquetball, half court basketball, and a swimming pool, including men’s and women’s locker rooms. Over the years structural damage occurred due to poor ventilation creating damaging levels of moisture in the masonry.

In the summer of 2013, they worked on the resurfacing of the floors throughout, redesigning some spaces to include storage for both athletic and janitorial supplies, some cosmetic wall designs, and adding flat screen televisions to the cardio area. Wood flooring was placed in the racquetball courts and a hard rubber surface was laid down on the main floor cardio area and multi purpose team sport room. Finally, a durable mat base was added to the weight-lifting mezzanine.

Members of the local community can get a monthly membership the the JP2 Center.  This evening when I went to exercise, a local man had organized a racquetball tournament and has fifteen participants.  We are fortunate to have a nice exercise facility to stay in good shape so that we can minister to the needs of the Church.

Conception Seminary College has had a health and wellness element as part of their formation program for years in order to promote healthy lifestyles.

Below:  Seminarians make good use of the fitness center’s cardio area.


Below:  One of three racquetball courts, with a beautiful new wood floor.  No more slipping and sliding on concrete.20140401-205157.jpg

Below:  The weight room upstairs, where I do my heavy lifting.20140401-205209.jpg


Published by Fr. Etienne Huard, O.S.B.

Fr. Etienne is a monk and priest of Conception Abbey. Currently he serves as the monastery's Vocation Director.

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