The Abbey of Gethsemani, Trappist, KY

The Abbey of Gethsemani is a 164-year-old Trappist monastery in the hills of Kentucky, south of Bardstown (which is south of Louisville). It is known chiefly for having been Thomas Merton's monastery, but I have known it for thirteen or fourteen years as the site of my annual (sometimes twice a year) prayer retreat. This year I am spending these four days of silent meditation and prayer in the company of my wife, the lovely Robin.

The monks here maintain silence, except in the seven-times-daily fixed-hour prayer times, and guests are asked to do likewise. By entering into their rhythms and observing the Rule of St. Benedict I have learned so much about prayer, and carried that wisdom into my daily life, to great benefit.

The rooms are Spartan but comfortable. The meals are simple (and mostly vegetarian) but adequate. But here, at least once a year, I reorient my life and jump start my prayer life. I pray and plan and prioritize. I slow down and simplify. I rest and recharge. I always gain fresh insights and inspiration, both for the big picture of my life and loves and for specific projects or challenges I may be facing.

Gethsemani is thus a special place to me. In addition to the beauty of the church and the grounds, the hospitality of the monks, and the exceptional monk-made cheese and bourbon fudge (which they sell to support their ministry), it is a Peniel to my soul, a place where God meets me, and wrestles with me, and I with him.

(You can learn more about the Abbey of Gethsemani via their website,

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

No comments:

Post a Comment