21 December, 2018 - 170th anniversary of monks' arrival

An early photo of the abbey. Click to enlarge.


Imagine what it must have been like for them that morning of Dec. 21, 1848. The road was most likely quiet, as were the monks, with only the rhythmic creaking of the wagon wheels and the occasional cry of a wild animal breaking the silence. Who can say what emotions stirred in the French Trappists as they entered the valley that encompasses Gethsemani. Gratitude, absolutely. Trepidation, probably. Delight. Homesickness. Curiosity. Relief. Peace. Wherever they looked, they would have seen blue hills in the distance climbing toward a gray December sky. This protected place, in the middle of nowhere, was Cistercian to its core: desert and paradise inhabiting the same space.Dianne April in "The Abbey of Gethsemani: Place of Peace and Paradox

Today marks 170 years since Dom Eutropius Proust and his monks arrived at Gethsemani. After an arduous journey from Melleray Abbey in France, the 43 brothers immediately got to work on the new monastic foundation, where the simple Trappist life of ora et labora continues to this day.