November 11, 2006

On TV Sunday night: The Abbey of Christ in the Desert, New Mexico

Five men (including a former Satanist) arrive at the Abbey of Christ in the Desert, a Benedictine monastery in northern New Mexico. They ask if living with thirty monks for forty days and nights will change their lives. They soon realize it will be surprisingly tough, and they might not all make it.

"The Learning Channel" is showing a series about those men and the monastery.

In the following photograph, you see the setting of the monastery. You can just make out the church and its tower about a quarter of the way up from the bottom of the photograph and about a half inch to the right of the center of the picture.

Click HERE to go the Abbey of Christ in the Desert website.

The series has a well-done website.
Click HERE for it.


Anonymous cranky said...

It would be a great way to access more of my stash of flaws.

6:09 AM  
Blogger IR said...

Geee--I wish I could be a monk. Schade fur Mich, I don't think I can.

But I can read the Liturgy of hours.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Matthew the Curmudgeon said...

Interesting, Father. I wonder if TLC 'borrowed' this idea from the BBC. Last year they broadcast a 3 part seies called"THE MONASTERY"
followed by "THE MONASTERY-REVISITED" from Worth Abbey,Crawley. That was followed by a 4 part series
called "THE CONVENT" filmed at the Poor Clare's Monastery near Arundel. Maybe TLC will follow suite. So far none of the BBC programs are available on DVDS.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

Very interesting the way some those men's fear was manifested.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Dilexitprior said...

I watched "The Monastery" tonight thanks to you having pointed it out on your blog.

I was really struck by the abbot's comment that it's "only when we begin to forgive can we begin to see the reality of the other person."

I was disapointed though that the show seemed to fall short in showing the balance of monastic in life in my opinion.

Off to bed so that I can make it to Mass at a Benedictine monastery in the morning. . . ;-)

8:27 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

As I write, it is 8:31 P.M. in San Diego. The broadcast doesn't beging until 10. As I understand this is only the first episode of the series. Perhaps the "balance in monastic life" will be portrayed through the remaining episodes.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

I just finished watching it.

Dilecta, I understand now your observation that they didn't show the balance the life has.

If I were to do this series, I would have spent at least a part of the first episode more clearly laying out the schedule of the day in chronological order.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous dunmoose said...

I've been there. I was in the Chapter Room when the production company made its firwst pitch to the community at large. It is the same productiojn company that did the BBC series

4:59 PM  
Blogger Dwight Longenecker said...

This is my first visit to your blog. I'm an oblate of Downside Abbey, and author of a couple of Benedictine books. I know one of the guys who was in 'The Monastery' in England. It changed his life. Check out my blog when you get a chance: Standing on My Head'

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

Am I the only one that thinks it a bit odd that "Zealator" rhymes with "Skeletor"?

9:49 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Something about those deep dimples, Bob?

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

Just showed the first episode to my 8th grade classes.

We're studying the Church in the middle ages and looking at monasticism and its contribution to western civilization.

The first episode of this series is an excellent example of life in a modern monestary, as well as a kind of primer on The Rule.

The scene where John and Alex are shocked into silence by Br. Rodrigo is priceless.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Angela Messenger said...

I like the show. I love the Abbot - he has wonderful humor and common sense. I am relieved the young guy left. I found the confession scene very moving - reminded me of when I made a 14 year confession. I am happy to see that Tom is starting to understand a little bit about sacramental marriage. I think Fr. Joseph Gabriel is TOPS!!!!

8:44 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Fr. - a vocations question for you. I don't mind if this is up on the blog too, others might be curious.

I'm wondering if you can advise on any Benedictine women's communities that are known for both orthodox and orthopraxy, and which maintain the tradition of Latin/chanting of the Office and Mass. I was in Norcia last summer, and my experiences with the monks there have not left me... Also, when I was in Rome I studied with some of the St. Michael's Norbertines - another amazing group, but they freely admitted that the women's congregation "isn't quite the same".

I've never considered a Benedictine vocation before, but then again, the only Benedictines near me are a bit nuts. Anyway, I've tried doing some searching online but have thus far come up empty, or at least not sure of what I've found.

I have found a couple of the traditionalist orders, but I must say that while I respect the TLM and sacraments, I am more drawn towards the authentic fruits of the post-Vatican II reform-of-the-reform.

Any hints?

6:47 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

First a distinction.

"Nuns" technically refers to cloistered monastic women religious.

"Sisters" or "Religious Sisters" are not cloistered, but "active" so to speak.

The Benedictine Sisters in this country have mostly given in to ideologies inimical to Roman Catholicism.

The Benedictine Nuns, however, are very different.

Here are the websites of two abbeys of Benedictine nuns in the U.S.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Alcuin said...

Might I also suggest the Benedictine Nuns in Westfield, VT ( They belong to the Solesmes congregation and strike me as very traditional (but not traditionalist, as far as I'm aware).

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We think "The Monastery" is GREAT!!! I hope a lot of people see it!
Why wasn't it on last night, Sunday, Nov. 19? Will the whole series be selling anywhere?

I think the producers did manage to show some true spirituality, and also how kind and down-to-earth and REAL those monks are! It was very moving.

Christ in the Desert made a good decision in going forth with the taping; this public outreach could increase the tolerance and tenderness with which we all regard one another...

Sara R

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I know these comments were written awhile back [November 11th it would seem] but I would like to tell you of the benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. They are very traditional with Tridentine Mass and the Divine Office in Gregorian Chant [I'm just relating this from their website] Everything is on the straight and narrow, no schism or anything. They are under {Arch?} Bishop Flynn
Here's their website
Hope this helps :o)

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there. I hate to be the one with disappointing news for any discerning women out there like myself, but the Benedictine Monasteries of nuns (Walberg, Regina Laudis, and Westfield) that were suggested as being traditional, are not particularly.

It's too bad that it's gotten to the point of having to be so clear on what you mean by a certain word. I'm seeking a "traditional" monastery of contemplative Benedictine nuns, but by that I specifically mean that they are devoted to the Tridentine rite of the Mass, and the fullness and beauty of our Catholic traditions, etc.

From what I could tell, these monasteries mentioned may or may not celebrate some or even all of the Mass in Latin, but the Novus Ordo Mass. I'm sorry to say that I've been converted completely to the old Mass and can't consider the Novus Ordo at all.

On a bright note, the Benedictine Oblates of Mary are the real deal - God bless them!

Merry Christmas!

2:31 PM  

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