"...What matters most about the monastery is precisely that it is radically different from the world...
In a world of noise, confusion and conflict it is necessary that there be places of silence, inner discipline and peace."
– Thomas Merton
A monastic landscape set in rural Georgia where the ancient Native American Indian once thrived, the European settlers made their abode, the African slaves labored and toiled on a cotton plantation, and a war scorched its fields. A place that witnessed the fulfilled joys and hopes of many, as well as sins against nature and humanity. A place perhaps redeemed and made holy today by the labors and prayers of the monks that lift their hearts to God in praise seven times a day.
Out of the labor and toil of these monks there arose a contemplative oasis where the sounds of silence and prayer mix together with that of the birds and bees and deer and all the other creatures of the wild singing the songs of praise to God. A river runs through it, as do creeks and streams, all converging to be one flow, carrying its witness of peace to other lands.
In the early morning Vigil the monk lifts his voice and heart to God in prayer and adoration adorning the walls of his Gothic sanctuary. He later jogs along a trodden path that crosses a stream where the deer stops for a drink and locks eyes as he passes by. The monk nods a cheerful smile at a visitor retreating from his noisy world to take a quiet meditative stroll along the magnolia lane. Should he look to the ground he might just happen upon an ancient arrowhead that gives a glimpse of the past. He looks up and beholds an architecture whose spirals reach out to the heavens, where the weary traveler is bid come aside and rest awhile for here everyone is received as Christ.
The dogwood, pine and oak, deeply rooted, find strength against the raging winds as the monk plants his roots with a vow that bid him stay, pray, grow deep, find himself and his God. Here in this "School of the Lord's Service" where he practices his spiritual craft, trusting in the providence of God who has called him to this place and to this group of brothers where each new day he says "...here I will pray, here I will stay."