Requiem for a Trappist Monk

Rest in peace, Father Luke Kot.Father Luke died tonight, at the age of 102.Father Luke was the last surviving of twenty Trappist monks who, almost seventy years ago, left Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky to take the midnight train to Georgia, arriving on a rainy day in Atlanta in March 1944 — the Feast of St. Benedict — to move into a makeshift cloister in a barn on an old plantation some thirty miles southeast of the city. From that humble beginning came the Monastery of Our Lady of the Hol … [Read more...]

On Being a Lay Cistercian

"Are you a monk?"I get asked that question a lot, especially when I'm at the monastery where I work and pray and lead retreats. Perhaps it's because of my greying hair and scruffy beard. Whatever the reason, I always see it as a compliment, but of course, I'm not a monk. So I say, "No, I'm not; I'm what is called a Lay Cistercian.""What's that?" is the inevitable follow-up question."I'm a layperson, like any other — I have a wife and a daughter and a monthly mortgage to pay. But I do … [Read more...]

The Feast of St. Benedict: Ad Deificum Lumen

Today is the feast of St. Benedict.This morning at mass, Father Tom Francis (who works with me at the Abbey Store) preached on the Rule and on his life experience as a Trappist monk for over 50 years now. During the sermon, he mentioned a conversation that he and I and another Lay Cistercian had a while back about a phrase in the prologue to the Holy Rule of St. Benedict: et apertis oculis nostris ad deificum lumen, which is often translated as "Let us open our eyes to the light that … [Read more...]