The Trappists

Twice in the last six months I’ve visited Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, a Trappist Monastery in Conyers, not far from where I live near Atlanta. I had only been there two or three times previously, in all the years that I’ve lived here; never mind all my interest in contemplative spirituality and mysticism. Here is one of the most dedicated living traditions of Western mysticism, a tradition with a documented lineage of over 900 years, and I’ve basically just ignored it. To my own loss, to be sure!

Well, better late than never, and so one of the threads I want to follow given my current spiritual adventure is to seek out a spiritual director, either from the Trappist or the Jesuit communities (there’s a Jesuit retreat center in north Atlanta). So today I wrote a letter to the office of the Lay-Cistercians, a community of lay contemplatives associated with the Trappists. I asked if the Lay-Cistercians have any programming that I could explore, and I also inquired about a spiritual director.

Here’s what’s funny: no email address is provided on the monastery website for the Lay-Cistercians. Only a snail mail address is given. So I am writing to them using the old fashioned letter/envelope/stamp method! It feels so odd. And yet, in a way, it feels perfectly right. Even if the person who receives my letter responds promptly, it will be sometime next week before I receive a reply. In the meantime, I will have no choice but to exercise the supremely contemplative virtue of patience!

So… I’ll try to keep this journal updated as to whether or not I find a spiritual director among the Cistercians, or the Jesuits, or some other way. Plus, it will be interesting to explore my interfaith interests with such a director…

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  1. I’ve always loved those monks in Conyers. When I was a child, my brother was having another schizophrenic break and wound up on their doorstep. So the monks called us, his family. He wanted to join (you know, talking to God and all) but they recognized the difference between hallucinations and a divine calling. They were gentle and good to him until my parents came and got him…which took several days, as we lived in Alabama at the time. How he got all the way in Conyers in another story.
    It’s a good place. celibacy though… they do that is soooo beyond me.

  2. I know this was an earlier post and have met you recently in 2013 at that monastery where you have certainly pursued a wonderful direction and also (in the bookstore) helped to give direction to me. Through attending a program retreat, I was able to experience great learning and also to meet with a spiritual advisor. This has had a profound influence on my life, led me to a nearby church and to a friend who is a monastery volunteer and ecumenical (sp?) lay person.. God bless you.

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