If you ever find yourself in Nelson County near Bardstown KY ,You will want to go to a Catholic Monastery There. The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani is a part of the Order of Cistercians, also known as the Trappists .Established in 1848 It is the oldest monastery in the United States that is still in operation .
|Be prepared to only communicate via hand gestures|
The Abbey is a mostly self-sufficient farm by producing cheese, Fruitcakes and candy for the Gift shop and mail order sales . Trappist monks speak only when necessary and visitors are to also not speak or make noise of any kind while there.
You will clearly see a sign posted near the gates to the church and gardens that reminds the visitor to now observe strict silence.
Visiting is encouraged even if not Catholic and you can go online and book a retreat.The Gift shop and bookstore are located in a section where it is an authorized speaking area, however the entire property has an extremely peaceful quiet resonance .It is a good thing to go to the gift shop and help keep the Monastic tradition going. They have all of Thomas Merton’s books ,A Catholic Mystic of the Abbey who wrote his biography The Seven Storey Mountain . His book was extremely popular after WW2 with veterans searching for meaning. There also are books on Eastern and comparative religion, Meditation and Mysticism, and historical religious figures such as Joan of Arc ,The Dalai Lama, Padre Pio and More.
|Crucifixes and Icons of varied sizes available Inside along with the books ,|
soaps,candles,Food,Clothing and craft items
|I purchased Handmade soap and wanted to eat these Hildegard|
cookies made by the sisters of ST BENEDICT.The package indicates
the cookies have healthful benefits .They tasted like ginger snaps and were great