Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey is a cloistered, monastic community of Trappist nuns of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. Our main means of support is the production and sale of Monastery Candy.
We began cooking and selling our caramels in 1965, less than a year after our monastery was founded, based on the recipe received by our founding monastery, Mt St Mary’s Abbey in Massachusetts.
Soon we branched out on our own and began coating vanilla caramels with milk chocolate or dark chocolate. These four caramel candies, the two coated flavors, and the wrapped classic vanilla and creamy chocolate, are still the backbone of our candy shop, and we produce about 70 tons of caramel annually.
Around 1980 we introduced our “Irish” (green) Mints and in 1987 we added our “Swiss” (chocolate) Mints to our products. Both mints are made with fine peppermint oil, carefully balanced to be just the right amount of refreshing mint flavor.
Next we introduced one of our favorite candies, the Hazelnut Meltaways, a luscious blend of chocolates and hazelnuts—no need to say more!
Around 2000 we introduced our truffles. They are made for us by another small candy company in our area of the Midwest, with equipment we do not possess ourselves.
All of our products are made with fresh ingredients and no preservatives, guaranteeing tasty, high quality candy.
Nearly all the sisters are involved in the production of our candy. About 90% of our annual sales occur in the months just before Christmas. September 1 begins what we call "candy season," when we set aside almost all our other work, (except eating and laundry of course!) and start rolling out caramel in abundance. It is a good community-building time, the only time of the year when we are all working together at the same task. We also have a few employees and a host of volunteers (mostly retired sisters of local congregations) who pitch in during this busy time.
While it can often be challenging to balance our candy work and our life of prayer, especially as business has expanded, we are immensely grateful to God that we have a good industry that supports us. We keep our customers, and all who receive our candy, in our prayers and we hope that you enjoy our hand-crafted creamy caramels and candies.
To learn more about our home, Mississippi Abbey, please visit http://www.mississippiabbey.org.