The latest Trappist business: ice cream

They’ve given us everything from fruitcake and fudge to candy and soap and even bonsai trees and caskets.   (Of course, let’s not forget ale!) Now, the Trappists are getting into the ice cream business.  Details:  Scrumptious cookies, artisan butter, and fine butter-based candies: these are some of the products of Hokkaido’s Trappist abbey for [Read More...]

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...]

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...]

Meet the Trappists' 100-year-old monk

I had the good fortune of meeting him a few years back, when he was merely in his mid-90′s. What an inspiration: Father Luke Kot sits in the midst of the barn-turned-museum at Holy Spirit Monastery and reminisces. Stairs in the corner once led to the second-floor “cells,” as bedrooms for monks are called. Here [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...]

"Of Gods and Men" hailed as "beautiful, somber, rigorously intelligent"

The highly anticipated French film “Of Gods and Men” opened today in New York. Part of the New York Times review: In the 1990s, Algeria was gripped by a gruesome, protracted civil war between the government — which declared martial law after annulling elections it appeared to have lost — and a ruthless Islamist insurgency. [Read More...]

A movie star plays a martyr: Lambert Wilson on "Of Gods and Men"

The star of the acclaimed French film about the murdered monks of Tibhirine is talking about his role as one of the monks, and the challenges it presented. From the New York Times: These days his face looks craggy instead of boyish, and his American roles tend toward suave villains, like the sneering cosmetics mogul [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...]