You don’t have to travel to Europe or South America to visit a monastery or abbey. I don’t know how many there are in the US, probably quite a few, but I found one. By accident.
I was riding around the north Tampa area in Pasco County with a friend when I happened to see almost the exact scene below, so I had him turn around.
As it turns out, the building pictured is the Church of the Holy Cross at Saint Leo Abbey. Even though the abbey was founded in 1889 along with Saint Leo College (now Saint Leo university), the church was built much later, starting in 1936 and being consecrated in 1948.
This Benedictine monastery follows the rules of St. Benedict, which were compiled around 530 AD. So, in some ways, they are just as old as the European monasteries.
P.S. You can see other church images at fineworldphotography.com. More information on St. Leo Abbey is available at http://www.saintleoabbey.org. Visitors are welcome and you can even go there for a spiritual retreat.