Wednesday, September 01, 2010

More on "Real Monks".

The angelic life...

I take it back - 'real' monks are springing up all over the world - the amazing video shown above is about the Carmelite monks who make the coffee in Wyoming.  (Unfortunately there is no sound)  The prior of the Wyoming group started out in our diocese with a group of Carmelite hermits in Lake Elmo, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.  Both hermitages have ambitious plans for a monastic complex not unlike what one would see in Europe.  Both began from nothing, by young - inexperienced men, who desired authentic monastic life.  The growth of the Wyoming Carmelites attests to their authenticity.
Likewise, little groups of hermits and anchorites have formed around the country - Fr. John Mary's little group, The Institute of St. Joseph is another example of the revival of authentic monastic life. 
Elsewhere traditionalists have formed deeply observant communities, such as the Benedictine's Pablo informed me about yesterday. 
This renewal has silently taken shape outside the confines of the established abbeys and monasteries of reformed groups of monks such as Trappists, Cistercians, Benedictines, Carmelites, and other groups who had been more creative as regards the recommendations of Vatican II.  While the other groups opened more to the world, often turning away vocations because they were too 'fervent', these new groups more or less formed out of nothing.  Much like the original founders and later reformers of the great orders began - seeking God alone.  It is a wonderful work of Divine Providence that these "inexperienced" though deeply fervent men, rejected the relative safety, security, and comfort of established-religious-institutional life, venturing forth in very real poverty mind you,  into the wilderness, to seek God alone in the monastic life.  I believe this is what Vatican II meant when it invited religious to return to the original charism of their founders and reformers. 
I'm convinced these little groups are the actual signs of the 'new springtime' JPII always pointed to - they sprouted without most of us even knowing about it, and if we did, the more jaded amongst us may have thought they'd never last.  God is good.


  1. Thank you, Terry.
    God is so good, loving and caring;
    we are so blessed to know Him and love Him in our very simple way.
    I am humbled and honored that you included us.
    My deepest gratitude.

  2. An apropos addendum. I thought you were perhaps overlooking many of the new groups of religious who have formed and are dedicated to a truly monastic life, aided in some ways by advances in communications technology. There is also a very small Carmelite monastery in Christoval, TX. They are the Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    of Mount Carmel, and I think there are only about 8 or 10 monks there. I keep meaning to get out to see them, Christoval is about 2 hours from some family land we have.


  4. Maria7:17 PM

    I wonder: why is it that the hidden life, for those whose mission is to adpot the same, now so public?

  5. Maria8:12 PM

    He must become greater; I must become less [John 3, 30].

  6. Us lay folks can also bring a "spirit" of the monastic life into our own simply, not being slaves to the materialism of this world, bringing more spirituality into our daily lives.

    Even though we may have individual careers and callings we don't have to get caught up in the "keeping up with the Joneses.."

    I found a real sense of joy and peace when I lived in rather austere household in Turkey and the Middle East. Even though I was lacking in many luxuries--among them dependable electric service and running water--no phone, or heat or air conditioning--that in itself enriches your life.

    Maybe that's why I like camping so much...


  7. Sara: Our charism is really to "extend" the spirit of contemplation in all the states in life.
    It is because of the witness and beautiful examples of our married and single members, as well as our diocesan priest members, that I am strengthened in living for God alone...
    The sacrifices and humble, loving service in prayer that our members give to our diocesan Church; to the whole Church, in fact, is a "gift to the Lord"...your words only confirm this!

  8. There are lots of monasteries in the established orders who have just been getting on with it all this time.

  9. Austringer11:23 AM

    I used to doante to the Carmelite monastery in Cody, but then my pastor had scathing things to say about the main people involved, the monks from Lake Elmo.

    Now I'm not so sure -- I wonder if there was some personal disagreement between my pastor and those monks which colored his assessment.

  10. Anonymous1:19 PM


    I have wondered often about this kind of life/phenomenon you speak of:

    "It is a wonderful work of Divine Providence that these "inexperienced" though deeply fervent men, rejected the relative safety, security, and comfort of established-religious-institutional life, venturing forth in very real poverty mind you, into the wilderness, to seek God alone in the monastic life."

    'Real poverty'--it's amazing to me actually one sometimes has to shell out quite a bit of money for various things, mandatory from a certain angle though they may be, in order to join certain congregations or groups. I guess that's how some end up in 'poverty'.

    "Institutional" is a good way of putting it. It's all so dull in a way. Lukewarm.

  11. Austringer - consider the source. ;)

  12. Austringer, Anonymous and y'all:
    Our poor, despicable and probably "insane" group of monastics here have lived since 1986, when I made the either 'evangelical' or 'certifiable' commitment to seek God in this new association of the faithful, as belonging completely to Him, His Divine Son, the ever-blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and Saint Joseph.
    Somehow, even though we have struggled (and are in thousands of dollars of debt, due to the horrid insurance issues) we persevere.
    We have a "new home"...the "pits" by worldly French Gothic monastery there..but that's okay...I mean it.
    nothing very shiny nor showy.
    But hopefully a place where the Lord, His Most Holy Mother and our good Saint Joseph will find a place to "rest" be at home...
    to know they are deeply loved.
    As well as His Holy People.

  13. You and your confreres are a holy example Padre of the higher good...


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