Craig Stauffer’s monastic guest experience
Monastic Guest Experience
March 10, 2020
If you have an adventurous spirit and are looking for something very unusual to do for a month then this is a place for you. The rhythm of life here is designed to promote stillness and quiet but it would not be accurate to say that it is restful. Getting up at 3:40 am to begin the first of seven daily periods of chanting and praying is quite challenging. Throw in Bible study, Mass and 4 hours a day of farm work and you’ve got a full day.
The relentless pace of prayer and the silence can at times be on ordeal but I never felt alone here. I almost immediately felt welcomed by everyone I met. In our silent interactions the monks guided me through this strange and lovely place and at the few times when it was appropriate to speak, some of the monks approached to learn more about me and to tell about themselves. All of the monks seemed grateful that I had come to live with them. It requires some sacrifice and discipline to live here but what you get for your effort is a chance to really be a part of something that is more than just about yourself. And you get to chant, which for me was a moving and unexpected pleasure. If my work schedule permits it, I hope to come again someday.