Going to the Monastery

Later today I’m going to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. Why, you may ask, is a middle-aged, constantly anxious woman going to a monastery today? The short answer is “Opposites attract.”

The longer answer is that I’m going because a kind and brilliant editor asked Cynthia Bourgeault to blurb my Cloud of Unknowing book, and amazingly, she did. I wrote her a real letter of thanks at her tellingly simple address in Eagle Island, Maine, and Cynthia then surprised me by e-mailing me back with an invitation to come to her prayer retreat this weekend in Conyers. Wanting to meet this kind, wise person AND needing to learn about prayer, I said, “Yes!” at once!

You may also be asking, “There’s a monastery in Georgia?” Yes, it’s 35 miles east of Atlanta. The Monastery of the Holy Spirit is a Roman Catholic community belonging to the world-wide Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O., for Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae)—more commonly called Trappists. Trappists follow the practical and sage, also profoundly Christocentric Rule of St. Benedict and dedicate their lives to Christian contemplative prayer.

You know I feel like a first-grader visiting college for the first time with her older sister. I’m sure the professors will be nice, though.

About Carmen

I teach English at Shorter College in beautiful Rome, Georgia.
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2 Responses to Going to the Monastery

  1. Sharon Kessler says:

    Hi Carmen,
    Over 30+ years ago the Catholic mother of a friend of mine invited me to a Life in the Spirit seminar. I was not sure what I would find there, but I was so excited about the opportunity. I am looking forward to hearing about this different, yet, in some ways similar experience.

  2. site admin says:

    I will write about it soon. It’s percolating. I agree–whenever I spend time with monastics, either in their space or in “the world,” I am blessed, immensely. It’s like what St. John of the Cross said, “God’s first language was silence.” Thanks, Sharon! Glad to hear of your experience!

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