When I started to prepare this article and wondered about what life in a monastery might be like, words like privacy, silence and solitude came to mind. So I took it upon myself to do a little research, and discovered that the life and work of a monk is far more rigorous and intense than I would have imagined.
The monks devote their lives to deep prayer, study and disciplined work. Their days are passed within the walls of a monastery, but that doesn’t mean that they are isolated. In fact, it seems that we who live on the outside are the ones who are disconnected.
Monks live their lives in constant prayer for the Church and for the world. And they have a particular way and very close communication with God through silence. Pope Francis tells us that “monks and nuns are not isolated; they communicate and a lot!” This different, deeper communication has to do with the true meaning of love, the deep love of God. And they are always ready to receive anyone who arrives at their doors in search of that love.
Hard work and discipline is a stark look into the life of a monk, and one highlight especially catches my attention: There are hundreds of Catholic monasteries around the world, and each of them has produced for years some particular of product for the community and for the support of their monastery. Failing to become experts, product of so many years in the trade.
In this small gallery I share with you some fruits of these monasteries’ labors. We’ve found them in a very nice presentation by Churchpop. The monks support and maintain their monasteries by the manufacturing and sale of these various products. They are goods that we can purchase or maybe even already enjoy, perhaps without full awareness of their holy origins!
I invite you to learn about these products. And take a moment to share with us any other products you know of that our brother monks (or sister nuns!) produce as labors of love.
1. Hot sauce: A bit of flavor to every meal
With Habanero seeds brought from Belize father Richard started what today is one of the best-known spicy sauces around the world. In addition to this spicy sauce, the Abbey produces sweet peanut, cured meats, books, works of calligraphy, and wooden rosaries. You can see in detail their various products here.
2. Lip balm and skin cream: To keep your skin hydrated in any climate:
These lip balms and creams are produced with beeswax and ingredients such as natural essential oils, which gives them a very special and lasting aroma. You can see their range of offerings by visiting this link.
3. Dog biscuits: A treat for your pet:
Among the many things from this monastery are specialty pet products, especially for dogs. They have cookies, belts and beds. Give them a look.
You can also find a book written by the monks about “The Art of Raising a Puppy.”
4. The best beer in the world: For those celebrations that call for a toast!
This is not new. Historically it is known that monks have produced beer of the highest quality. This tradition has been maintained to the point that a monastery produces the best beer in the world: The Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus in Belgium. Sales are restricted to a small amount. Learn the details of their production.
You can also purchase mugs and artwork here.
5. Ink and toner for your printer: Don’t miss the Monksink
Surprising but St. Andrew’s Abbey in California has been specializing in the sale of ink and toner for printers of almost all brands. Look at all that you can acquire.
6. Coffee and tea from the Abbey: Who doesn´t have their cup of coffee today?
These Carmelite monks are specialists in the growth, selection and roasting of a wide variety of coffee beans. They also have an assorted selection of teas and complementary accessories. Try their “Royal Rum Pecan Ground” or choose which you prefer here.
7. Bonsai: The beauty of a small tree
These monks have been mastering the art of Bonsai for 35 years. In addition, they open up their gardens for visitors, granting a special glimpse into the life of a monk. Watch all what they offer.
8. Fruitcake: When we have a craving for sweetness
This fruitcake is recognized around the world. The recipe, the meticulous baking process make this sweet something like no other. Visit the website and you can learn more about their history. Would you like one?
9. Fudge: A sweet for any time
Specialists make bars of chocolate with different flavors and ingredients. They use their own cows’ milk also obtained on site! Also available from the Abbey is a selection of semi soft and aged cheeses. Try their Chocolate Bourbon Fudge o choose your favorite flavor here.
10. Artisan breads: Our daily bread
These contemplative monks are experts in bread. They make breads of different grains and textures. What you like.
11. Urns and caskets: For end-of-life considerations
Caskets and urns are hand made. The wood used is renewable; designs are customized and made with great reverence. Watch the delicacy of the work.