Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Melleray Abbey

I thought it would be beneficial to my heart to visit a monastery. Our church has been encouraging fasting, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to practice what we'd been learning. 

It was a great experience... but I think it was a bit too much all at once. The monastery has a rule of silence in the dormitory. I thought I'd practice fasting from food as well and created some fruit smoothies to bring with to ensure my blood sugars didn't drop too drastically. 

My goal was to spend time reading and praying and just be still, but I ended up sleeping a lot. 

New Melleray is an abbey located just outside Dubuque. The building is gorgeous. 

The dormitories were very simple. 

Across the street was a cathedral and cemetery with names dating back to the mid-1800's. 

I thought I'd be a considerate daughter and pick up some caramels my mom had mentioned she liked...
do you know how hard it is for a foodie to stop eating for nearly three days straight?
I demolished them - I really should have known to purchase them upon my departure. 
I would have to say that all-in-all, the intent of visiting the abbey was great, but that my expectations were a bit too detailed. I think in order for me, personally, to find the peace of mind and heart I was looking for, I really need a weekend or so in the wild. Some hikes and good food. I'm glad I was able to visit and know what I could expect if I visited an abbey again in the future. 

I very much appreciated the reverence that was displayed for different aspects of tradition. The silence was to devote full attention on the Word and to prayer. The old Latin hymns were beautiful as well. I also realized how much I need authenticity  in my life. In every aspect of my life. I appreciate bodies of believers who dare to go against the grain to really connect and lose sight of the mundane that can often be found in tradition. 

Again, it was a great experience, but very much different than what I'd expected.

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