Next time you type an email address, thank a monk

Researchers say monks invented one of the most commonly used internet abbreviations. From Huffington Post:  The @ symbol is one of the Internet’s most ubiquitous characters; and modern writers would probably be hard-pressed to think of a way that they would use it in a non-digital context. However, the “at” sign was actually invented hundreds of [Read More...]

Praise Cheeses: Trappists Keep Alive Tradition in Bosnia

Details: Three Roman Catholic monks are fighting to keep alive a monastic cheese-making tradition in Bosnia that has been passed down by word of mouth for 130 years. The pale yellow Trappist cheese made by monks of the Marija Zvijezda monastery once graced the tables of royal courts in Vienna and Belgrade, survived two world [Read More...]

Closed abbey searching for another religious group to take it over

You’ll remember that the Blue Cloud Abbey closed its doors last summer. Now, the search is on for another religious group or community to take it over. Details:  Caretakers at Blue Cloud Abbey, the Benedictine monastery overlooking the Whetstone Valley in northeast South Dakota, are looking for another religious order to occupy their vacant premises. [Read More...]

The drug dealer who became a monk

A remarkable vocation story from Vancouver, British Columbia: After years of a life of hedonism and drug addiction, he returned to the faith and for about a dozen years now he has been serving as a hieromonk (pastor-monk) in the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Father Taras (Terry) Kraychuk, who currently lives the monastic life in the [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...]

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...]

These monks want you to friend them on Facebook

Like many monastaries, the Benedictine house at Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island is seeing its enrollments dwindle down to next-to-nothing.  And they’re trying to reach a new audience using new technology. From the New York Times: The Benedictine monks at the Portsmouth Abbey in Portsmouth, R.I., have a problem. They are aging — five are [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...]


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