The Monks of Mepkin Abbey – Tower of the Seven Spirits
The monks have been living beside the Cooper River since 1949 caring for the land with its many layers of history. Our Bell Tower is dedicated to the spirits of all those who have lived on, loved, worked this land, and are buried in this land. Seven times a day the Bells of this tower – The Spirits of These People, call us to prayer and join us in prayer.
Our land is our greatest asset at Mepkin Abbey. Besides aspiring to be good stewards of this land, we have continually tried to use it for the benefit of others that they too may share the serenity, beauty, and peace with which God has blessed this place. The seventy plus years of monks praying here have indeed made this Sacred Ground.
In a tangible way, we are providing the opportunity to share in this peace and serenity by constructing a Columbarium Wall with niches to inurn the cremated remains of loved ones. We see this as an extension of our hospitality for those, of any faith or beyond the household of faith, who have some affinity with the life that is lived here, a reverence for the beauty of this place and who are looking for a sacred resting place of reflection and remembrance for their cremated remains, or those of their loved ones.
In addition to incorporating deceased loved ones into our prayer life and into our cherished landscape by the Cooper River, we are offering you the opportunity to help support a continued monastic presence in the Low country through the purchase of a columbarium niche.
A columbarium is a group of niches (small compartments), typically within a wall of stone, brick, granite or other materials, holding an urn that contains the cremated remains of the departed. Our columbarium offers niches 8” x 8” for single inurnment and niches 12” x 12” for companion (2) inurnment.
Do you have to be Roman Catholic?
No, the purchase of columbarium niches is open to affiliated members of any faith and beyond the household of faith. Affiliated members are those who have an affinity for the life lived at Mepkin Abbey and support the Abbey financially or with their time and talent.
May Catholics be cremated?
Yes. In May 1963, The Vatican’s Holy Office (now the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith) permitted Catholics to choose cremation. This permission was incorporated into the revised Code of Canon Law of 1983 (Canon # 1176), as well as into the Order of Christian Funerals. It then became standard practice to celebrate the funeral liturgies with the body present, with cremation taking place after the liturgy. Most recently the bishops of the United States and the Holy See have authorized the celebration of a Catholic funeral liturgy with the cremation remains present. The Church encourages placement of the cremation remains in a final resting place.
How will the columbarium at Mepkin Abbey be maintained in the future?
Mepkin Abbey will provide the services needed to ensure that the grounds surrounding the columbarium will be maintained beautifully for generations to come.
Can I purchase a columbarium niche ahead of time (pre-need)?
Yes, absolutely. When a family plans ahead of time to select their columbarium niche it allows several positive things to happen:
It allows a person, or couple to make their own decision in a more objectively financial way.
It keeps other family members from being forced at a very difficult time to make decisions for you.
It allows for the best opportunity to choose location for columbarium inurnment.
If an unfortunate accident or a long term illness occurs, your family will have fewer decisions to make.
It also simplifies the decision-making process because one price includes engraving the front piece, opening and closing the niche and one or two urns.
What if I (we) decide in the future that I (we) no longer want the columbarium niche?
If an individual(s) decides they no longer want their pre-need niche at Mepkin Abbey Columbarium, as long as the purchaser is living it may be transferred to another family member or back to the Abbey as a donation with no refunds made. It may therefore be tax deductible.
Can I pay a little over time when pre-purchasing or must I pay the full amount all at once?
We ask for the full amount at purchase since the Constitutions of our Order do not allow us as monks to finance. Farmers and Merchants Bank of SC in Moncks Corner is willing to finance columbarium purchases for up to four years after a 10% down payment. Financing with your own personal bank is also an option.
Will the Columbarium be open for future visits?
The Columbarium site will be open daily from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM.
I’m interested in making a purchase – what do I do next?
Because we closed our front gate and stopped all visitors to the monastery, no one at Mepkin has caught the virus. However, also because of this shutdown, which was necessary to keep us safe, we lost all of our income producing activities, including our mushroom production, the Retreat Center, and the Abbey Store. We have no idea when we will be able to resume these activities.
If you, too, are suffering economic hardships, please know that you are in our prayers. If you are in a safe financial position, perhaps you would consider making a donation to Mepkin to help us sustain our life of prayer, so we can be ready to welcome visitors, guests and retreatants back into our midst when all is safe.