Trappist monastery vandalized near Jerusalem

Details, from Haaretz:  The Catholic Church condemned the so-called “price-tag” attack against an Christians monastery on Tuesday, with high-ranking church offices denouncing the “teaching of contempt” against Christians prevalent in Israeli society. Earlier Tuesday, the door of a Christian monastery in Latrun, near Jerusalem, was set on fire on morning, and anti-Christian slogans were found [Read More...]

“Listen…”

“Listen  carefully, my child, to your master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20). Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father’s advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience. To you, therefore, my words are now [Read More...]

South Dakota monastery announces it’s closing this summer

It’s the Blue Cloud Abbey, and the abbot posted the following message on its website today: This is not an easy message to write. As a community we have been discussing our situation for some time. However, because of all the hoops and hurdles which come with such a discussion, we were unable to mention [Read More...]

How silence works: “It is an aid, not an end in itself”

What’s it like to live with a vow of silence? Writer Jeremy Mesiano-Crookston wanted to find out, and so began an e-mail exchange with several monks at Oka Abbey in Quebec, the oldest Trappist monastery in America. It’s a fascinating dialogue, and sheds light on a world many of us don’t know: Are all your [Read More...]

“Whatever slender thread is holding our planet together just might stem from these monastic women…”

An alert reader sent this my way: a reflection by broadcast journalist Judith Valente about lessons she’s learned from visiting a Benedictine monastery. From USA TODAY: To arrive at Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, Kan., you must cross Contrary Creek and bypass Last Chance Road. Eventually, you will see a red brick structure on [Read More...]

Building a monastery the medieval way

It’s an ambitious undertaking that will be launched in Germany next year — and will take decades to complete. Details: What did a medieval stonemason do when heavy rainfall interrupted his work? Umbrellas are impractical at construction sites. Gore-Tex jackets weren’t yet invented, nor were plastic rain jackets. “He donned a jacket made of felted [Read More...]

Silence 101: College course teaches how to live like a monk

You have to go to school now to learn?? Details: Looking for a wild-and-crazy time at college? Don’t sign up for Justin McDaniel’s religious studies class. The associate professor’s course on monastic life and asceticism gives students at the University of Pennsylvania a firsthand experience of what it’s like to be a monk. At various [Read More...]

Remember this? A classic Super Bowl ad from 1976 starring a monk

With all the buzz these days about the upcoming Super Bowl ads, I thought this one was worth a second look.  The quality isn’t the greatest, but it’s awfully clever. [Read more...]

What the modern world could learn about compassion from monks

A British writer just back from a monastic retreat shares some insight into welfare and charity that he learned from the world of monks: It occurred to me while on my retreat that the modern welfare system could learn a lot from the abbeys. Until the Reformation, the monastery offered alms to the poor and [Read More...]

December 10, 1941: “I was enclosed in the four walls of my new freedom…”

It was 70 years ago today — December 10, 1941 — that Thomas Merton arrived at the gatehouse of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky (pictured above much the way it looked then).  He wrote about that moment in “The Seven Storey Mountain”: “The Bardstown bus was half full, and I found [Read More...]


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