Pinch Me Places: The Abbey of Gethsemani

Sometime in 1999 or 2000, I made my first journey to the crossroads of Trappist, Kentucky, for a four-day silent prayer retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani, a real, live, honest-to-goodness monastery. That was strange and surreal enough, but what made this a "pinch me place" was the fact that it is the monastery where Thomas Merton, author of The Seven Storey Mountain and many classics of contemplative literature, lived and served God as Father Louis (his monastic name). He is buried in a humble grave alongside his brothers in the monastic cemetery. 
The abbey has since become an annual place of prayer and pilgrimage for me. But fifteen or so years ago, it was definitely a "pinch me place." 

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