Regina Laudis is a monastery of contemplative Benedictine women living in union with the Roman Catholic Church and following the Rule of St. Benedictaccording to the Primitive Observance. Founded in 1947 in Bethlehem, Connecticut by Mother Benedict Duss.
The Abbey Crèche is thought to have belonged to Victor Amadeus the Second, King of Sardinia and is believed to have been presented to him on the occasion of his coronation in 1720. After his death in 1732, it became property of an Italian family of the nobility until it was brought to America in 1948.
The Crèche, a remarkable ensemble, contains 68 figures between 14-16 inches high. The figures, made of carved wood, terra cotta, porcelain and jute, are situated in a small village made primarily of the bark of cork trees that evokes the local surroundings of the Neapolitan artists of the time. Dressed in their original 18th-century costumes, the figures vividly portray, in addition to the Holy Family, children, old and young women bearing gifts, merchants and peddlers, a princess and her whippet, angels, the Three Kings and peasants and their farm animals. Because the figures have retained their pristine historical condition, having been spared any prior restoration that would compromise them, the restoration of the Abbey's Crèche is making an important contribution to the body of knowledge available to the public and to art historians concerning materials, technology, methods of fabrication and art-historical context."
After visiting the abbey I was curious as to what the actual definitions of abbey, convent, and monastery are. So I googled it and this is what I found... (that's wikipedia ;) )
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion.
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer (e.g. an oratory) as well as the domestic quarters and workplace(s) of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone (hermits).