The Washington Times-Herald

Z_CNHI News Service

September 17, 2013

Atlanta vacation tip: Visit the… monastery?

The Braves aren’t the only men in Atlanta attracting travelers’ attention; monks are too.

While joyous noise defines the baseball stadium, silence permeates the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in nearby Conyers.

Silence is for listening. For personal reflection. For a day away with purpose and peace. This is silence you can visit. Silence of the ages.

“We don’t think just in hundreds of years,” says Francis Michael Stiteler, abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.

“We think in thousands of years,” he says of his Trappist brothers, and of monastic life through the centuries.

Visitors join for an afternoon, or a multi-night retreat. Monks stay a lifetime. Nearly four dozen monks live in this place of 2,300 acres, teeming with birds and butterflies, wildflowers, woods and green spaces.

The Abbot points out fluttering wildlife with authority; he’s a photographer and has documented 53 species of dragonflies and 91 butterflies.

“We conserve the lands not only for monks,” the Abbot says, “but for all who see green space as a cherished commodity and for those who hunger for spaces of solitary beauty.”

Hikers and bikers visiting the monastery can also explore the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, pristine acres of which the monastery is a part.

There are only 49 such nature, culture, historic designations in America, and this one ties the Monastery’s peaceful grounds to Panola Mountain State Park, Arabia Mountain, streams, trails, bicycle paths and more.                       

Br. Peter Damian has an artist’s eye and a chef’s taste, accessible for conversation amidst the retail in the Monastery book and gift store.

“What we eat and what we breathe is part of how we enter the silence,” he said while I sipped a cup of dark roast, organic coffee and contemplated buying monk-made biscotti. 

He was unpacking folk art nativities, pleased I noticed the Fair Trade textiles and handcrafted items. Local authors include some of the monks, sharing a bookstore with national and international writers.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Wildcats aren't champs but we're all still watching Calipari

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is a college basketball phenom for his ability to knit together championship-caliber teams of freshmen. How long will Calipari's success last as other coaches catch on?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo