Category Archives: #monastery

Abbey of the Holy Trinity Day 2 and 3

We awoke at 3:00 A.M. so that we would have enough time to make the nearly mile walk to the Abbey for 3:30 A.M. Vigils. This service is my least favorite of all the services, and not because it is held in the middle of the night (or at the start of the day for the monks), but because the tone and language of Vigils seems dark and foreboding to me, as if enemies could strike at any moment. I suppose that the language for this service was crafted hundreds of years ago when monks were actively persecuted for living by faith, and the same language is used today.

Saturday was a pretty restful day, in between services I mostly napped. My bride and I enjoyed dinner together that night, and ended our day by attending Compline services.

Sunday morning I was a very bad boy. I walked to the Retreat Center for breakfast where I ate bacon and eggs. It is a very rare occasion for me to have bacon and eggs, and not because I don’t like the taste. We pretty much eliminated that meal from my options several years ago when I discovered I have high cholesterol, which totaled 303 when tested recently. After trying for years (unsuccessfully) to lower my cholesterol through vitamin therapy, I finally gave in and started taking Vytorin about a year ago. That lowered my overall cholesterol count to 180, but my prescription ran out about 4 months ago and my cholesterol shot back up. Now I am on Lipitor. Anyways, after I ate my bacon and eggs (which I thoroughly enjoyed), I noticed that one of the other male Retreatants was eating Raisin Bran cereal. I told him how impressed I was to see him eating healthy cereal in light of the unhealthy breakfast I had just eaten. He commented that his cholesterol level is over 400, and his physician is threatening to prepare a bed for his imminent arrival at the hospital.

In any case, I survived the breakfast and met Sheri at 8:00 A.M. for morning Mass. After we purchased several items in the gift store, we packed up for the ride back to Salt Lake City.

Before we had left to go on retreat, we were both very much into March Madness and watching lots of basketball on TV. But by Sunday afternoon on our way home, March Madness did not seem as important to us.

We are grateful for our time at the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, and plan to return at least once each year for as long as we live in Utah. Thanks, God, for these men who devote themselves to you and to humankind.

Also posted in #Catholic

Abbey of the Holy Trinity Day 1

I write these words in Huntsville, UT, at the Abbey of the Holy Trinity. This monastery is home to contemplative Cistercian Monks commonly known as Trappists. Sheri and I have come here on retreat, and thus we are now officially Retreatants.

Wow! Where do I begin? I have so much I want to say all at once …

I am sitting on the front row in the Church Sanctuary. I just finished eating dinner with the other male Retreatants, and evidently they all know each other and are from the same area of Idaho. It also seems that they are all recovering alcoholics, because the dominant topic of conversation at the dinner table was 12-step meetings. Obviously they don’t feel compelled to adhere to the credo of silence practiced by the Monks and expected of the Retreatants. Usually I would help clean up and set the table, but I came in here to get away from their conversation. And one of the primary reasons I came to this monastery was to experience silence.

Sheri and I went on retreat together back East at the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, VA. It was also a Cistercian monastery, but silence was expected there. I got shushed on our first day there by the Retreat Director because I was engaged in a little too much conversation. I learned my lesson.

Another difference here in Utah is the fact that I am allowed in the Retreat Center, but Sheri is not. Women are allowed in the Church for services, and also allowed in the gift shop, but the Retreat Center is for men only. Consequently, she will stay in the Guest House owned by the monastery, which is located about a mile down the road near the entrance to the monastery grounds. We decided that I would spend the night with her in the Guest House so that she would not be alone, but we will sleep in separate rooms so that each of us can have devotional time.

Enough about the differences between Holy Cross and this abbey, it is what it is here, and it will continue to be a blessing. This monastery is situated on over 1800 acres, and is ringed by mountains. Monks from Kentucky came here in the 40’s to purchase this land and establish this monastery.

The Monks here balance prayer, manual work, and spiritual study. Seven days a week, several times a day, they gather here in the Church Sanctuary to praise God and pray for all people.

3:30 A.M. Vigils – “Night Watch”
6:00 A.M. Lauds – “Morning Praise”
6:25 A.M. Mass
7:45 A.M. Tierce – 3rd Hour Prayers
12:15 P.M. Sext – Mid-day Prayers
2:15 P.M. None – 9th Hour Prayers
5:30 P.M. Vespers – “Evening Prayers”
7:30 P.M. Compline – “Final Prayers of the Day”

Also posted in #Catholic