Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Silence and Culture at a Carthusian Monastery

When the film Into Great Silence came out in American theatres back in 2007, a student of mine, who is a high school religion teacher, took some of his students to see it. They had to leave about half way through. The students, accustomed to fast paced entertainment, couldn’t handle the presentation of the life of the Carthusian monks of the monastery of the Grand Chartreuse in France. I don’t think this is an indication of the quality of the film. Rather, I think it has to do with our inability to appreciate monastic life and culture. It reminds me of a family member’s remark about my retreat at a Benedictine monastery: that sounds like hell. Indeed, in our culture it would seem like hell for many of us to enter into prolonged periods of silence without distraction or entertainment.

Into Silence MovieFor my money, Into Great Silence is the best modern, artistic presentation of monastic culture. The film is superbly contemplative, lacing the life of monks with their beautiful setting in the Alps, taking the viewer through a year of their life with the four seasons as a backdrop. Not only was I struck by the use of the monastery grounds in the film, but also the camera’s focus on the faces of the monks, or hermits, at prayer and also during still shots, profiling each of the monks. You truly get a sense of the silence at the monastery, as you can perceive each small sound, while entering into the prayer of the monks, in their cells and at chapel during the night. From the cosmic sense of the seasons to the small shots of minute details, the film is a tour de force of monastic culture.

There is a scene in the film where the prior is sitting at his desk buried in paperwork. The camera zooms in on one particular paper and it is possible to see the writing on it. It is a receipt for the candies and liqueur, Chartreuse, made by the monastery. In these lives completely dedicated to prayer and silence, the business of the world enters, though almost imperceptibly. They must still provide for their livelihood, but in the process they also make a serious contribution to the culture of the world at large. A few lay brothers are shown working hard in the garden and the kitchen, but the majority of the monks dedicate their lives exclusively to prayer as hermits, forgoing common meals (except on Sunday) and even most of the divine office in common, so as to enter more exclusively into holy silence and solitude. And yet that silence is supported by the products of the monastery, which those of us outside should be happy to consume (think of it as part of your tithe!).

chartreuse-green-yellow-V.E.P.-liqueurThe reader will have to forgive my title’s use of Clinton’s now abandoned policy on homosexuality in the military. It seemed apropos in light of the cheeky line on the bottle of Chartreuse describing their recipe: “Protected by vows of silence” (I say cheeky, because no such vow actually exists). Indeed, only two monks know the recipe, composed of 130 Alpine herbs. There are two main varieties, Green (110° proof), which gives its name to the color chartreuse, and Yellow (80° proof), which has less alcohol and is a little sweeter. The monks are serious about its production, having specially designed fermentation tanks and the largest liqueur aging cellar in the world. Chartreuse, with its unique and even “beguiling” taste, could be one of the best drinks on the face of the earth—a sheer ecstasy of taste. It is worth the high price tag, if sipped over prolonged periods. I think it must be a sin to mix it with other liquids, though the label recommends it on the rocks (as it should be consumed cold), with tonic, or even in a cocktail.

Cave-de-la-ChartreuseNot all of us can enter into the silence of the monastery. Some of us, indeed, wrongly consider it akin to eternal torment. The film Into Great Silence is an important witness to genuine monastic culture, although the reaction that many have toward it may be just as significant. This reaction shows us that we cannot live without the constant distractions in our perpetual rat race. Real life, the contemplative life, our eternal vocation, is scorned. Silence enables us to pull back and offers the possibility to see things more clearly. It heightens our perception and awareness of reality. This fact hits home at the end of Into Great Silence, when the silence is finally broken as a blind, old monk offers his reflections on death. His words hit hard and profoundly as it seems that the silence has prepared the viewer to hear them as the culmination of the film.

Ironically, the silent life nestled in the French Alps is also the source of a great cultural achievement, the outstanding liqueur, Chartreuse. In the Bud Light culture of less calories and less taste, where everything is mass produced and devoid of distinctive culture, the monastery of the Grand Chartreuse is also a witness to doing things right on the human level. At the end of the day, it may take their life of silence to really help figure out the human thing too. Silence and culture: do tell!

R. Jared Staudt


R. Jared Staudt works in the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries of the Archdiocese of Denver. He earned his BA and MA in Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and his PhD in Systematic Theology from Ave Maria University in Florida. Staudt served previously as a director of religious education in two parishes, taught at the Augustine Institute and the University of Mary, and served as co-editor of the theological journal Nova et Vetera. He and his wife Anne have six children and he is a Benedictine oblate.

  • Pingback: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Silence and Culture at a Carthusian Monastery | Catholic Canada()

  • Ramon Antonio

    This is an excellent article dammed by an atrocious title. As a business development watching consultant in real estate projects I have devoted years of work in the marketing of products. One of the first lessons anyone is teached is the utmost importance of a name for the product. The name is the presentation card of the product. It MUST create, reflect and sustain an attachment to the product.

    In this case, with the equally egregious mistake of the editor who approved the tittle,(seems that both were drunk in Chartreuse when evaluating the article) the result is that the review charges and tarnishes the movie and the monastery with a not subtle charge of homosexuality that, I think, may probably be absent form the movie or the intention or the reviewer. But the prevalent and easy use of irony and mockery prevailed over sound judgement.

    This is how libel and damages suits start, and in this case, we are talking about a centuries old monastery that has to protect their spirituality, their reputation and the product of their hard work which as you state, is practically their sole income. And now come this article in a foremost Catholic media that directly suggests in its tittle that watching a documentary movie about them suggests that the tittle is appropriate. In fact, the author’s own explanation that: …”The reader will have to forgive my title’s use of Clinton’s now abandoned policy on homosexuality in the military. It seemed apropos in light of the cheeky line on the bottle of Chartreuse describing their recipe: “Protected by vows of silence” (I say cheeky, because no such vow actually exists).” constitutes the nail in the coffin of the judgement. You can’t judge clearer about a statement about homosexuality than those words.

    The phrase “Don’t ask, Don’t tell…” is unequivocally and universally a cultural taxation of closet homosexuality. To tittle the article with such a phrase is a direct reference to that situation in the context of a Cartushian monastery which produces liquor. There is no mistake possible on the meaning of the use of that phrase. And I must presume that this was not the intention of the author or the editor. But it is indeed a gross mistake of the kind that destroys reputations and institutions. The use of that phrase may be acceptable in a stand up comedy act or by one of those buffoon priests and theologians that now make themselves famous for their public irreverence of the Catholic Church in Comedy Central like interviews. But as the title of a review in Crisis Magazine it may prove its doom.

    I suggest an immediate and prompt apology which expressly clarifies that there was no intention directly, suggested or implied with the use of this phrase to title a review of a movie about a Cartushian monastery which produces a world renowned liquor. Accept that you made a gross mistake and go on. You’ll need the help of God and the Holy Spirit not to pay the consequences.

    • R. Jared Staudt

      Thank you for you comment. Although I think it is clear once you get into the article that it has no connection with homosexuality, I do regret that the title gives this impression initially. I certainly did not intend to imply that. I chose the title as an attention getting cultural reference to silence. It may be attention getting, though along with some baggage.

      • Ramon Antonio

        I appreciate your response and sincerely believe you in that it was not anyone’s intention to imply anything. I am not one of the guys with any agenda. However, my concern is that that phrase is too charged and should have been avoided.
        I appreciated the excellent article an hope to buy that liquor in the future. But we must be cautious when using extreme statements that have a life of their own and cannot be controlled when discharged.
        I have made some comparable (maybe even bigger) mistakes myself by my mouth and in writing also. Life teaches us! in reality those are the moments we really grow and become wise.

        • Bob

          Ramon, lighten up. The phrase “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has been around far longer than the Clinton administration’s usage concerning homosexuals in the military. Its meaning is Immediately known by the second part of the title “silence and culture at a Cathusian monastery.” Great article, R.J. I enjoyed the movie very much.

          • Ramon Antonio

            That may be your opinion and I respect it. But the phrase ignited around the world not because it was used in the Clinton Administration under its flamboyant President, but because its use was a direct recognition that its real meaning was actually the “de facto” policy of the Armed Forces in relation to homosexuality issues within the corps, i.e., its happening, don’t ask, don’t tell.
            This is exactly what constituted the biggest scandal in the Church and we are still witnessing its effects: Its happening, don’t ask don’t tell. Thousands of CHILDREN have paid the price of this policy with their ruined lives. Billions of dollars have almost broke some dioceses paying to try to cover the cost of the immense damage caused to those lives.
            My point is that to use this phrase and pretend that it doesn’t convey a direct reference to homosexuality may be a naive interpretation of reality, as if its just a side issue. The meaning of this phrase is letter perfect: consult a lawyer or a linguist. The phrase is a direct reference to hidden homosexuality. The phrase means that, plain and simple. There is no other meaning by using it in this society.
            For me, there were many better phrases to use IF THE INTENTION WAS NOT of conveying an implied homosexual reference in the article. I take at face value that there was no intention whatsoever and the response of the author to my comment is clear and sufficient for me.. But my point is, the reference is there, the phrase is tarnished with homosexual charge and it is the title of a review of a movie about a Trappist monastery and its liquor published in a major Catholic media organization.
            For me it was a mistake, a bad judgement and that;s all. But a serious editorial mistake that should never be the norm. If issues as homosexuality are to be discussed, and we must, they should not be addressed from the standpoint of vague references and implications.
            I consider myself lighted to reality, as crude as it is.

            • Breezeyguy

              I agree with you Ramon. It was a silly and crude title. By the way, the article was about the Carthusians not the Trappists. And the Carthusians are less silent than the Trappists. So the title is not only silly and crude, but ignorant.

              • Ramon

                Je, je… Ignorant data on my part. Touché!

      • Facile1

        Dear Mr. Staudt,

        I agree with Mr. Antonio. Your article did the Carthusian monks a disservice.

        If the Carthusian monastery was located in the Philippines instead of in France, they could sue you (and ‘Crisis Magazine’) for libel, which is considered a crime and carries penalties of imprisonment and punitive damages under the new Cyber Crime Law here. And, unlike the United States, truth is NOT a defense for libel under Philippine Law. One should make it ‘standard operating procedure’ to check on one’s exposure to international LIBEL laws if one chooses to publish.

        However, I must admit I read your article because I was wondering what evidence of homosexual acts was discovered in Carthusian monasteries. I believe (like Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) that we should be vigilant about protecting the lives of our Catholic religious from this ‘filth’.

        One can imagine my surprise to discover your article has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the issue.

        Would I have read your article without the ‘bait and switch’?

        I don’t know.

        I did enjoy your article. I want to watch the movie. I would drink the product if my threshold for alcohol poisoning were not so low.

        But I agree with Mr. Antonio. Your article did the Carthusian monks a disservice (though they’ve suffered worse).

        I’m sure that was not your intention. An offer to compensate for any material loss may be in order (and may be foolish on your part). An apology may only distract from the monks’ prayer life (and may not be welcome on their part). But NO apology may only distract from YOUR own prayer life.

        So search God for the answer. Rest assured, He loves you as much as He loves the monks and go in peace. AND next time you publish, be wiser.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          I suppose you were similarly disappointed, when reading Susan Signe Morrison’s famous paper, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The Wife of Bath and Vernacular Translations”

          Needless to say, it has nothing to do with the Clinton usage.

          • Facile1

            Dear Mr. Paterson-Seymour,

            Please do not suppose anything about me in print. I find it offensive. You do not know me — what I read and what I think. Your statement only comes across as a thinly veiled ‘ad hominem’ attack. Stay on topic.

            What is “needless to say” is usually better left unsaid.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              Well, let me rephrase it; “Your remarks suggest that you were similarly disappointed…”

              That is not an ad hominem argument, but parity of reasoning.

              • Facile1

                THIS is an improvement to an ‘ad hominem’ attack?

                I guess, one can now call it an ‘ad hominem’ fallacy.

                And what parity of reasoning are you talking about?

                The headline of Susan Signe Morrison’s paper (“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The Wife of Bath and Vernacular Translations”) does not refer to a male Catholic religious order on the SAME line.

                When an author feels compelled to explain/apologize for the use of a ‘double entendre’ in the headline of his article, he knows the ‘double entendre’ may confuse his readers. So, why should it surprise anyone that I (correctly) misunderstood the headline? It was, after all, the author’s intent.

                And YOUR speculations on what I read or feel about an entirely separate and irrelevant article has NOTHING — NONE whatever —- to do with the subject at hand.

                Drop any reference to me and you turn your ‘ad hominem’ fallacy to a prime example of an ‘ignoratio elenchi.’

                OR you can quietly withdraw now and I will ‘suppose’ you’re sorry you got me started.

        • R. Jared Staudt

          My main response to your comment is that I am glad the article was successful in encouraging you to watch the film and would have encouraged you to try the liqueur. Libel would only apply if I did in fact state a connection between the monastery and homosexuality, which I did not. Though I am certainly getting some grief for the title, I am glad it led you read the article.

          • Facile1

            Dear Mr. Staudt,

            It is for the LAW to say whether LIBEL applies or not, not for you or your publisher to say. And as I made clear, different countries define LIBEL differently.

            Philippine Law is written in English, so go figure.

            Thank you again for an interesting movie review.

        • Augustus

          Are you completely mad? Nothing in the article claimed or accused the monks of homosexuality. Is your judicial system that backward and corrupt that it would prosecute publications for saying what they did not say or intend? Your politicians are obviously looking to protect themselves against a critical press. Thank God U.S. law values freedom of speech and rejects the tyranny of lawyers and politicians who seek to enrich themselves and persecute their enemies. Your law has no jurisdiction in the U.S. International readers should be thankful for that.

          • Facile1

            I am offended by your first sentence, sir. It is unfair. I believe an apology is in order.

            I have opposed the NEW Philippine Cyber Crime Law in print since it was passed (without public debate by the Philippine Congress) half a year ago. You can read some of my objections in DISQUS if you are really that interested. I believe libel should not be criminalized in ANY country.

            The headline of this article does not reflect the article (as I made clear in my comment.) Libel does not as a rule exclude headlines.

            The judicial system does not write the law here in the Philippines or in the US (for that matter.) So this sentence is unintelligible.

            US Law does not value the life of the unborn. Abortion is still ILLEGAL in the Philippines as of this writing. So I do not believe US politicians are exempt from corruption.

            There are Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties between the US and the Philippines that allow bilateral extradition. I do not know how these apply to the new Philippine Cyber Crime Law.

            It is good to be thankful. But be thankful first to God. Then perhaps you will avoid “bearing false witness” against the innocent such as myself IN PRINT.

            Of course, you have nothing to fear from me. I do not believe in criminalizing sin.

    • Robert Rogers

      Wow, did Ramon go off the deep end!

      • Stephanie

        Honestly, homosexuality in the monastery and a cover up is the first thing I thought when I saw the title also. Ramon is right. Whether or not a phrase used to have another meaning, writers must be cognizant of what it means to most people now. Ramon made a valid point.

      • Facile1


  • poetcomic1

    I’ve watched this depressing film twice. Depressing because this magnificent monastery where many hundreds of monks once lived is now almost an empty shell. 1) In the outdoor views, look at the SIZE of the place 2) When all the monks are gathered to welcome the new members notice how pitifully few they are.

    • Ohio Person

      This “shell” reflects the decimation of Catholicism in France, once one of the most Catholic countries.

    • R. Jared Staudt

      The monastery has had to deal with some difficulties throughout the years, not the least in that the French government seized the property a number of times (beginning with the French Revolution into the twentieth century), including the rights to make Chartreuse (which was later restored). It is sad to see the monastery largely empty, which has followed the decline of monastic orders more generally, but at the same time we can be hopeful about a renewal going on there. The young African monk is an example of this in the film. My pastor also has a very good friend from the University of Kansas who is a monk there, helping to build it back up.

    • John J. Popp

      I don’t think this film is depressing at all! After living in a former Carthusian Monastery in Gaming, Austria, I can tell you that the size of the monastery is necessary for the lifestyle of the monks. There are certainly fewer monks living in Le Grande Chartreuse than there were decades or centuries ago, but the populations of these monasteries were never enormous. The architecture has many roles to play, firstly, to bring our eyes to the grandness of God. Secondly, it helps to facilitate a contemplative and silent life, as the monks need a good deal of room to move around without bumping into each other.

      • poetcomic1

        The last line is just plain silly on so many levels.

        • John J. Popp

          I agree! It is a silly way to put it, but I meant what I said. The lifestyle of these men require a certain level of space that they can have to themselves. They live privately in their cells, which are actually little houses, but communally through prayer in the chapel.

          • poetcomic1

            “The convents of St.Theresa were placed wherever she could obtain a spot within four walls. While proposing to commence the reform of the Carmelite order, she set out in June, to examine a house which had been offered to her. She was accompanied by one nun and Father Julian d’Avila. They lost their way and no one could direct them to the place, which was called Durvelle; the name being hardly known. The intense heat rendered this the most painful of her journeys. At last, about nightfall, they arrived there and found it a poor isolated peasant’s house, near a stream, unprotected from sun or wind. This place, nevertheless was sufficient for her purpose, and to supply all that was wanting for her first monastery: she destined the porch for the chapel, the garret for the choir, the chamber for the dormitory, and half of the kitchen divided for a refectory. Such was the building that served for the celebrated reform of the order. To this house retired Father John St. Mathias and one laborer, and they made the alterations she pointed out, living meanwhile on the alms which people of the neighboring village gave them. It was in this house that St John of the Cross made the solemn dedication of himself to the imitation of the sufferings of Jesus, putting on the habit prescribed by St. Theresa. To his poor chapel flocked crowds of devout peasants, who beheld everything about him with surprise and reverence. St. Theresa speaks of this place with rapture: “The poverty of this house did not displease the holy father; but on the contrary delighted him.”
            Digby, -MORES CATHOLICI: Vol. 4, Pg 113

            • Ben Dunlap

              If I remember correctly, St. Bruno and his companions made do with caves when they founded the Grande Chartreuse. Conversely, you will not find many Discalced-Carmelite houses today that meet that extremely modest description of St. Teresa’s first convent.

              In any case, who cares? Discalced Carmelites live a different charism from that of the Carthusians. Both are legitimate and both lead many good people to God.

  • jcsmitty

    Sadly, I agree with the first analysis. Not only the title of this article, but the beginning where the class left halfway through. My first impression was that the documentary was salacious in some way or anti-Catholic.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    I spent 10 days in solitude with the monks of Bethlehem and the Assumption of the Virgin in St. Laurent du Pont France in the Alps and which is located just ‘down the road’ from La Grande Chartreuse. These monks live the same life of solitude as the Carthusians and follow the same rule of St. Bruno. If you strip away all the ‘things’ to which our lives are tethered, you have a chance at really coming face to face with the essential questions of life.

    My guess is, though, that most in the current generation would become psychotic after a day or two in such an environment so dependent are they on TV, ipods, ipads, iphones, music, idle chatter, texting, sexting, and all the other distractions that manage to keep our society alienated from oneself. It’s a brave new world.

    • Marc L

      Rather, are they unaware of they constant state of psychosis in which they now live?

      • John200

        Yeah, I caught that, too. Deacon Ed writes “become psychotic” about people who are already greatly advanced down that unhappy path.

        To try to reverse their decline would be a worthy apostolate. Hmmmm…

  • Lompocgal

    The student’s unease with silence seems to me to be a reflection of most of the Church today, at least as reflected in the ongoing noise and constant motion of today’s celebration of the Mass. There is no time for prayer or reflection, either before, during or after Mass. No atmosphere of calm or peace, just lots of meeting and greeting and incessant chatting. Frankly I’ve been in movie theaters that were more quiet before the start of the film than any given church is before Mass. I have recently returned to the Church after a hiatus of nearly 40 years and the main reason for the delay in my return was the atrociousness of the liturgy and the casual and informal behavior and dress at Mass. And that’s not to mention what passes for music.

    • Bubba

      With respect, that’s a pretty lame excuse for skipping mass for 40 years.

    • Marc L

      A shame you allowed externals, ugly though they may have been, to keep you away for 40 (!) years, but +1 for the “movie theaters” comment.

      • Guy Est

        With regard to liturgy, it’s impossible to separate the externals from the internals. That’s the very essence of sacramentality. And that’s why the liturgy must always be worthily celebrated. Woe to those who have abused the liturgy for the last half century!

    • Facile1

      Believe me, Mass in the Philippines is noisier than Mass in the US. I’m a dual citizen who lived 37 years in upstate NY before retiring to Metro-Manila. I skipped Mass in the US for other reasons than the noise. Now, I go to the Mass here which is said in Tagalog. The change of language has taught me that noise is more within than without.

      In the ‘Screwtape Letters’, C.S. Lewis has Screwtape (the master devil) say “We will make the whole universe a noise in the end.”

      Screwtape is wrong, of course. The universe will not end in noise. That’s only for the here and now (NOT for later.) And Screwtape won’t be there for the end either.

      When all is said and done, language is a human invention. The TRUTH is NOT. And TRUTH begins with GOD and cannot exist outside of GOD.

      I am looking forward to the quiet of heaven; when language will neither be facetious nor necessary; where one will be enveloped in GOD’s LOVE.

      • Josemaria

        Go read the pinoy catholic blog. I am sure he (and so do I)shares your frustration.

    • Ben Dunlap

      If your screen name indicates your location, you might try trekking down to Thomas Aquinas College from time to time for mass. It’s off highway 150 in the hills between Santa Paula and Ojai. You can’t miss the chapel’s bell tower from the road. Three peaceful, reverent masses a day during the school year, and at least one each day when school is out, and the first mass of every day is in the Extroardinary Form.

      • Ben Dunlap

        Oh, I just remembered that as far as I’m aware, at least two alumni of the College are Carthusian monks.

    • Breezeyguy

      Welcome back to the church Lompocgal! Ironically, a poor liturgy is kind of like a crucifixion, isn’t it? The more you can’t stand it, the more you have to offer up!

    • patriot173

      Thank you for stating exactly what is going on in our post-Vatican II parish churches! As for silence and prayer it is necessary to go to a very early week-day Mass and a visit to Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in the afternoon….difficult but doable….

  • Skip

    I’ve often wondered about contemplative life like that. I can imagine the peaceful atmosphere. But with my talkative nature….I wouldn’t last the first day!

    • Breezeyguy

      Actually the Carthusians go on a long 4-hour walk called a “spatiamentum” every week. They talk freely in pairs. There’s also a recreation on Sundays (about an hour). One recreation is shown in the movie.

      The Trappists are very silent, and they even have a sign language. The Carthusians not so much, and they tease the Trappists about their signs.

  • redfish

    “Speech is silvern, Silence is golden.”

  • M P Ryan

    Have you read Patrick Leigh Fermor’s “A Time to Keep Silence”?
    A wonderful evocation of the monastic life.

    • R. Jared Staudt

      I had not heard of it. Thank you for the suggestion.

  • Andy

    I have to admit I tried to watch this film a couple of years ago and quit halfway through because I was bored… However, I heard about and tried chartreuse a few months ago. Chartreuse is fantastic stuff! A very little lasts a long time. Straight up, no ice. Now I want to see the film again just to see more about it 🙂 It’s on the neltflix queue.

    • Breezeyguy

      There’s a little featurette on the DVD about making the Chartreuse.

  • DeaconJohnMBresnahan

    Deacons, like priests, are required to spend some days on retreat each year.
    And each year I spend 3 or 4 days at Holy Trinity Monastery in Petersham , Ma. (in the “wilderness” western part of Ma.)
    Holy Trinity is a Maronite Catholic monastery and lives a hermit lifestyle. Maronites use the Syrian Rite of Antioch. Rarely do I say or hear a spoken word for those days.
    I found the movie wonderfully awe-inspiring. There is not enough silence in our noisy,busy, frantic lives. Thank God there are men and women who offer us a share in their silent search for communion with God. Each year I feel as if I have climbed a mountain (Tabor?Sinai?Carmel?Alvernia?) and hope I am bringing down spiritual nourishment for my parishoners.
    But I don’t like seeing a phrase associated with homosexuality used as a title for the article.

  • Bono95

    Before following in his father’s footsteps in law, St. Thomas More contemplated becoming a Carthusian Monk. He lived for a while at a monastery engaging in several of the monks’ practices and penances, including sleeping on a board with a log for a pillow, getting up often for prayers and chant, fasting, flagellation, and wearing a shirt of hair. In the end, he realized he was being called to the married life, but he continued several of the penances he’d practiced at the monastery and maintained a great lifelong respect for these extraordinary monks.

  • Breezeyguy

    I was disappointed with the movie: No explanations at all.

  • Uuncle Max

    There was a monastery wherin the Monks could never talk to one another, they could only chant, and that was in the evening.

    One evening 2 monks were out walking and one chanted to the other – “evening”

    The Abbott heard this and he in turn chanted “Someone chanted evening.”

    Get it?

    I’m outta here

  • jones

    it is like a calm walk into the embrace of God. Silence is quickly becoming extinct, with people feeling the need to text, chat everywhere. Lovely movie and would certainly consider joining this order if they accepted foreigners.