Holy Resurrection Monastery, St. Nazienz, WI
This was a great trip. So some time ago I've set my sights on visiting Holy Resurrection Monastery. The abbot appeared on EWTN a couple years ago, which is well worth the watch.
A friend and I drove over on a Wednesday after work, stayed all day Thursday and left the following Friday. We arrived late, and it was dark but we knocked and Br. Isaac came to the door and let us in and showed us to our rooms. They have I think around 20 guest rooms. The building used to be a sort of retirement home for a religious order at one point. Br. Isaac and all the monks were very hospitable and friendly. However, I didn't realize the Nativity Fast (Advent) started 40 days before Christmas (this was the week before Thanksgiving). The monks do have group guided retreats but also they support themselves by having guests stay (suggested $60/night). So this was not part of a retreat, just a pilgrimage and a peek into the monastic life.
The monks are Greek Catholic, but most of the liturgy is in English. Although Abbot Nicholas was out of town (at the annual USCCB meeting), they arranged to have Divine Liturgy(Mass) for us as well. Some differences, but was possible to follow along (attending the Extraordinary Form helps build up the muscle to look for those visible or audible signposts in the liturgy). I joked with the monks about praying for a chef-become-monk to join them(As you may know they do a monthly bake sale to help support the monastery). We ate our meals in the cafeteria with the monks. As some of them ate nothing but a plain potato I realized then that, yes, the Eastern Advent started already. They were permitted to converse during some of the meals, which was great. Oh, and another note, if you are not familiar with the Gift of Tears, if a monk falls down and weeps for his sins... he's doing it right. Similar to the gift of tongues it is a charismatic gift of the Holy Spirit.
I go to a lot of Catholic men's conferences and things of that sort but this truly was a retreat and a pilgrimage. Not that there's anything wrong with the conferences, but spending a day at a monastery is a traditional way to break away from the world for prayer. Let see, what else, the chapel is beautiful, Eastern, and smallish. I tried to get a sense in a couple of the panoramic shots. The closeness and intimacy definitely added to the experience. I forget which of the monks said it, but they are happy to host whole families with children in tow. Families visit and they rather enjoy hosting them. That surprised me but was really encouraging.
Wow, this ended up being a long post, in my typical incoherent style. See what happens when The Germans give me a little free time. This visit was so good it's something I plan to do annually and make it a cornerstone of my yearly prayer life. #SaveTheMonasteriesSaveTheWorld
Catholic World Report: Seeking Stakeholders to Save a Byzantine Catholic Monastery
Road Trip: Holy Resurrection Monastery
Chef-turned-monk puts baking skills to good use at St. Nazianz monastery