The monastic experience demystifiedan essential guide to what its like to spend a week inside a Catholic monastery.
A life of quiet, work and prayer, monasticism has been a part of the Christian spiritual tradition for over 1,700 years, and it remains very much alive today. This book offers you a personal encounter with daily life inside the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, as you might encounter it on a one-week retreat. Including a detailed guide to the monastic places in North America that receive visitors, as well as a detailed glossary, Making a Heart for God is an excellent introduction for anyone interested in learning about monastic spiritualityand it is also the perfect preparation for your first retreat experience.
Whether youre simply curious about whats behind the mystery, or interested in experiencing it firsthand, this is the ideal handbook.
Also included are a helpful glossary of terms and a listing of monasteries throughout North America that receive visitors.
Aprile is a journalist who spent enough time at Kentucky's Abbey of Gethsemani while researching her book The Abbey of Gethsemani: Place of Peace and Paradox to earn her the rare privilege of being considered a sister to the brothers there. It is from this unique perspective that she has written a comprehensive guide to the oldest Trappist monastery in North America. Made famous by Thomas Merton, it is a place where men dedicate themselves to "God alone." Using a week-long retreat as the framework for her "insider's view" of Gethsemani, Aprile draws on anecdotes and conversations recorded in the many notebooks she has filled with her impressions over the years. She describes the monks' daily routines, their interaction with outsiders, and their struggles to live out their vows of stability, fidelity and obedience. Aprile writes with sensitivity to the secular reader who may be unfamiliar with the trappings of Catholic religious life, and her special relationship with Gethsemani enables her to sketch a balanced picture of the oft-romanticized monastic world. Her closeness with the community is evident in such charming details as the fact that the monks celebrate the feast of St. Bernard each year with pizza and beer. Although this book has the flavor of a primer, anyone who has ever visited a monastery will appreciate it for the texture it gives to life behind the monastic enclosure.