The World at Their Doorstep

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Day 29

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Abbey of Gethsemani

I came downstairs to the dining room around 10 am for a little snack.  I had some crakers and was looking for some peanut butter to go with them to smooth my growling stomach.  I was in for a treat… Fr. Carlos was in the reflectory talking to a group of monks but they were not Cistercian monks.  They were Buddhist monks from Mississippi.  It seems this group of men and women monks were traveling the United States visiting Christian monasteries and they wanted to come to Gethsemani.  They had a connection to Gethsemani.  Their monastic order was founded by Thich Nhat Hahn.   He is well know Buddhist monk and global spiritual leader. Hahn is known for his writings on mindfulness and peace.  What I did not know, and learned from listening to Fr. Carlos is that Thich Hhat Hahn and Thomas Merton were classmates. They remained friends until Merton’s death in 1968.

It is amazing to me to see all the different people that drop by or come for a retreat to the Abbey of Gethsemani. The world comes to the Abbey doorstep. For example, there was a woman on retreat during my stay who was born in Croatia. I saw old and young, male and female, Protestant and Catholic, those who have no particular religious idenity, and on this day, Buddhist monks. I found it interesting that they were visitng Christian monasteries.

Fr. Carlos took them to see Thomas Merton’s grave. When monks enter the monastery, they choose a name. Thomas Merton was known as Fr. Lewis. Pictured about is his gravesite.

I count it all joy,

Pastor Vallerie

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