monasteryMonk-in-Training wanted to know more about the monastery David and I visited in MO before we moved to OK.
We visited the Trappist Assumption Abbey, located in the Ozarks just outside of Ava, MO. Basically we drove to Rolla, took a left turn (onto Hwy 63) and drove down to Cabool. Ava is very close to Cabool, also Mansfield, where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House series (a worthwhile side trip in itself).
The monastery has a nice little guest house run by a local Irish woman named Brigid. We were well fed, attended many services (but let's just say David has more of a monastic temperament than I for some of those early morning services). We read and walked and did the Stations of the Cross. We weren't really there long enough but we were privileged to get both a tour of their fruitcake bakery (very rummy, one might add) and a small hermitage just down the road.
I was very moved by their way of life and found myself questioning the need for all the stuff we have when we got back. It sure made it easier to make some trips to Goodwill. I don't think the monastic way of life is more privileged (that's the Protestant in me)--I think marriage is a holy calling, too, but I do think we Americans have gotten pretty pretty messed up about how much space we occupy in the world and a few days at a monastery are a good reorientation.