Celebrating the community…
“Georgia’s Most Remarkable Concrete Building.” That is the caption of a published article about this monastery building in the Georgia Contractor Magazine several years ago as they celebrated “The History of Engineering in Georgia.” A fitting tribute to a magnificent building but most especially to the “builders” – a group of young monks who 70 years ago set out to build this “community” and this “place” which is now our present home. These 21 founders who were soon joined by the first group of entrants are collectively referred to as the first generation of Conyers monks. They came from all parts of the country, all in the prime of their youthful vigor.
With such a daunting construction task ahead of them, these untrained amateurs armed with the good zeal for monastic life, exceled beyond their personal limitations becoming as giants to our modern-day eyes. They learned their skills on the job and soon became artisans and skilled craftsmen – experts in masonry, carpentry, plumbing, electrical work and stained glass. They have the distinction of having built the only monastery built by its monks.
Many people now come to visit this place drawn by the contemplative silence and beauty, which speaks for itself. They capture the contemplative nature of this Medieval Gothic Church building style that emphasizes a vertical reach upwards that suggests an aspiration to Heaven. The last of the 21 founders, Father Luke, died just 2 months ago at the age of 102. God blessed him with the gift of 76 years of consecrated life and we were blessed with his joyful presence and his wisdom years. There are 60 monks buried in our cemetery who have gone to their eternal reward after persevering to the end. They have all graduated from this “School of Love.” There is still a handful of these builders, our seniors among us, the bedrock of our community of 36 monks that spans 4 generations. By God’s grace, we carry the torch handed down by our forebears.
The unique nature and spirit of our community are intricately tied to the labors of love that went into building this monastery. When our visitors hear of these early monks and their joyful labors, they see beyond the beauty of the buildings and into the hearts of these devoted men. They, like us, gain a deeper appreciation of this sanctuary – a place of communing with God.
Next: We celebrate the place