It may not be a staple in your diet, but it’s kept countless monasteries afloat over the years. And it may rescue another one in California.
Details, from The Los Angeles Times:
The peal of the church bell splits the predawn darkness like a summons from God himself.
The hermits of Big Sur rise from their beds, slip on white robes and emerge one by one from their quarters — concrete-block cells heated with propane stoves and adorned with third-hand furniture and framed inscriptions of St. Romuald’s Brief Rule For Camaldolese Monks.
Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it.
If only it were that easy.
The Catholic monks of the New Camaldoli Hermitage have lived a world apart in the inspirational majesty of Big Sur for half a century. They know well the power of prayer and contemplation.
Money management is another matter.
Never did they imagine their most vexing problem would be finding a way to close a $300,000-a-year budget deficit. Or reviving a flagging fruitcake business that has helped support them for decades.
The monks are like countless American families struggling through hard times. They’re working harder but digging into dwindling savings to make ends meet. Their home is paid for, but repairs are on hold indefinitely. The viability of their Thoreau-like existence is in doubt.
“I’ll be honest: I don’t understand finances at all,” said Father Raniero Hoffman, the hermitage’s prior for the last dozen years. “Our whole way of life is beyond what society today would say is practical.”
They came to the mountaintop seeking escape from the distractions of society. They found that some distractions cannot be avoided.
Check out the rest. And break out the fruitcake! Saturated in brandy? Mmmmm….