Yesterday had me with a day off from work. The Man of the House and I took advantage of the situation and made a very short trip to the Abbey of Gethsemani. Founded in 1848, the Abbey is home to an Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance, more commonly known as Trappist Monks.
At present around forty monks make this Abbey their home. They can be seen walking around the property, but the monastery area itself, is marked as private. The Abbey was home to the famous monk, Thomas Merton, student of comparative religion and social activism.
Two-thousand acres make up the property and the order utilizes some outside help to work the land.
They also run a business making fudge and fruitcake with local products, including fine Kentucky Bourbon. The acreage includes hiking trails and, what looks to be, a walking stick available for the next person.
The monks are called to prayer seven times a day by the tolling of a bell. Their day begins at 3:15 a.m.
Visitors are free to participate in services.
We missed this service by a few minutes.
Silence is encouraged and felt throughout the property. Gardens have signs that indicate no talking. Even in their gift shop, it was quiet. The Abbey does offer retreats, which are quit popular.
You can check out their mail order selections here. I purchased some of their white chocolate lemon drop fudge and it was excellent.
If you live in my area, I highly encourage a visit to this beautiful property.