The Ottumwa Courier

Z_CNHI News Service

September 17, 2013

Atlanta vacation tip: Visit the… monastery?

(Continued)

“People are drawn here with spiritual hunger,” said Br. Callistus. “Our titles are timeless and traditional, topics from the Middle Ages and mysticism, spirituality and monasticism.”

I noticed yoga books and works of the Dalai Lama, Tich Nhat Hanh and, of course, Thomas Merton, who was a member of the Gethsamini Cistercian monastic order in Kentucky which launched Holy Spirit in Conyers.

Cookbooks too.  I selected “A Taste of Heaven: Guide to food and drink made by monks and nuns” and “A Continual Feast: celebrate the joys of family and faith.”   

Some of the bookstore titles reflect the focus of retreats, Friday and Saturday weekend immersion, and Monday through Thursday sessions. Topics range widely: monastic wisdom or Flannery O’Connor, image, faith and photography or divine mercy.

Expect a $30 non–refundable deposit when reserving a spot. A free will love offering of $60-$100 a night is suggested. Reservations include three meals, housing, bed and bath linens, coffee, tea and refreshments.

Don’t expect to see the monks’ living quarters.  Do expect to be welcomed at daily worship services in the Gothic church, an unadorned quiet place of substantial white concrete, monk-built, four-foot thick walls, hand-smoothed white concrete columns.

“Monks are basically practical people,” Dom Francis Michael observes. “Monastic values are also human values,” he said, “prayer, work, silence, solitude and community.

Christine Tibbetts covers U.S. and international travel destinations for the CNHI News Service. Follow her at www.TibbettsTravel.com.

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