Wanted: cowmonks

A monastery that once ran one of the largest ranching operations in North Dakota is planning to stop raising cattle. Details: A Roman Catholic monastery in western North Dakota is ending a century-old practice of raising cattle because of a lack of monks with cowboy skills. The Assumption Abbey in Richardton intends to sell its [Read More...]

"I want you to live in this circle…"

Below, a gorgeously produced video celebrating one of my favorite places, the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. This holy corner of the world played a significant role in my own vocation journey, and I have many warm memories of prayers chanted, friendships forged and silences embraced in the walls of that sacred [Read More...]

Exquisite love, exquisite heartbreak: the last testament of Dom Christian

He was one of the monks beheaded by Muslim extremists in Algiers in 1996 — the basis of the story retold in the acclaimed film “Of Gods and Men.”   Heather King yesterday posted his last testament, written a couple of years earlier, when he began to sense that the monks’ mission in Tibrihine might [Read More...]

"My little job was to tell their story…"

The acclaimed film about the Trappist monks murdered in Algeria had a “monastic advisor” on set to give the movie the ring of authenticity. Details, from CNS: “Of Gods and Men,” the Cannes Film Festival grand prize-winning feature now debuting across the country, had a “monastic adviser” on the set to help faithfully depict the [Read More...]

Legendary Trappist Fr. Matthew Kelty dies

Another tall tree in the forest has fallen. I had the good fortune of hearing Fr. Matthew Kelty preach several times at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky.  He usually gave talks in the evenings for people in the retreat house, and his delightful, poetic, stream-of-consciousness ramblings, delivered in that melodious and ancient Bostonian voice, [Read More...]

A first look at "Of Gods and Men"

For my money, this is the first must-see movie of 2011.  I read the book “The Monks of Tibhirine” a few years back, and was deeply moved by this story of a Trappist monks martyred by radical Muslims in Algeria in the 1990s.  The movie tells this same story, and strikes me as carrying a [Read More...]

Mmmmmm…fruitcake?

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 [Read More...]