The Ottumwa Courier

Z_CNHI News Service

September 17, 2013

Atlanta vacation tip: Visit the… monastery?

The Braves aren’t the only men in Atlanta attracting travelers’ attention; monks are too.

While joyous noise defines the baseball stadium, silence permeates the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in nearby Conyers.

Silence is for listening. For personal reflection. For a day away with purpose and peace. This is silence you can visit. Silence of the ages.

“We don’t think just in hundreds of years,” says Francis Michael Stiteler, abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.

“We think in thousands of years,” he says of his Trappist brothers, and of monastic life through the centuries.

Visitors join for an afternoon, or a multi-night retreat. Monks stay a lifetime. Nearly four dozen monks live in this place of 2,300 acres, teeming with birds and butterflies, wildflowers, woods and green spaces.

The Abbot points out fluttering wildlife with authority; he’s a photographer and has documented 53 species of dragonflies and 91 butterflies.

“We conserve the lands not only for monks,” the Abbot says, “but for all who see green space as a cherished commodity and for those who hunger for spaces of solitary beauty.”

Hikers and bikers visiting the monastery can also explore the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, pristine acres of which the monastery is a part.

There are only 49 such nature, culture, historic designations in America, and this one ties the Monastery’s peaceful grounds to Panola Mountain State Park, Arabia Mountain, streams, trails, bicycle paths and more.                       

Br. Peter Damian has an artist’s eye and a chef’s taste, accessible for conversation amidst the retail in the Monastery book and gift store.

“What we eat and what we breathe is part of how we enter the silence,” he said while I sipped a cup of dark roast, organic coffee and contemplated buying monk-made biscotti. 

He was unpacking folk art nativities, pleased I noticed the Fair Trade textiles and handcrafted items. Local authors include some of the monks, sharing a bookstore with national and international writers.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Sideshows involving Rice and Dungy stain NFL's image

    Pro football training camps should be all about, well, football. But the talk around the NFL is about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension, Tony Dungy's indelicate remarks about Michael Sam and Jim Irsay's largesse. What kind of league is Roger Goodell running?

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National