This past week our family made a trip to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. For us this was a full day trip, with a significant portion of it spent in the car. But boy, o boy, was it worth it! The Monastery operates as a retreat center. There were some folks there on a retreat during our visit. There is also a bonsai garden center, cafe & bookstore.
As recommended by their website, our family started our trip at the Welcome Center:
The Welcome Center is a fantastic walk through the history of monasticism. I was really surprised to see so much history outside of the Catholic/Christian tradition. Certainly I know there are monks outside of the Catholic religion, I’m just very impressed that the presentation was so extremely well rounded. After the general history lesson, there is the barn. This barn is the original location where the monk’s lived and worshiped early on. It has been transformed into a center that illustrates the life of a monk. Many of the exhibits offer an interactive feature which is always a blessing when touring with kids.
This is a cell. Cell is how their ‘rooms’ are referred, which must make their mother’s proud 🙂 We were introduced to all aspects of their living, especially their commitments to prayer, silence, solidarity, and community. There’s a whole wall that shares the schedule of their day. Following the Welcome Center, we followed the Prayer Walk to the Abbey Church. The Prayer Walk is a nice stroll through beautiful, peaceful scenery. About half way, there is a marker explaining the history and practice of contemplative prayer. It was just fantastic and a great opportunity for our family to spend some quiet time enjoying our faith.
So your thinking… um.. food destination? That’s right, I said it. Food destination. Because while the monastery is worth the trip just for the quiet contemplation and history, the perk is in the fudge… or many other food stuffs available. These monk’s commit to financially providing for themselves through work. They do a wide variety of things from Bonsai trees to food. All of which, I might add, are located in the most wonderful BOOK STORE or at their online gift shop! While I’m sure the fudge would have been equally tasty without the visit, it was definitely worth the trip.
I’ve portioned these out to share. We selected two varieties: Maple Walnut is at the top. This is perfect for our family members that can’t have chocolate. It’s a maple-vanilla fudge with walnuts. It’s as smooth as velvet. The one at the bottom is the Southern Touch. The base is chocolate with ‘peach morsels and a touch of peach brandy.’ I think it is absolute heaven.
We enjoyed our day and ran into a monk from Ohio! ~ This was absolutely fantastic. I wish we would have had the opportunity to learn more about his journey to the Holy Spirit Monastery but will just be grateful for having made the trip at all.
Listening to NPR yesterday, I heard of The Jampot in Michigan. I agree whole-heartedly with this blogger, Monk’s are inherently cool. In addition to inspiring me to a higher commitment of service to our Lord, they offer us little earthly delights as well!