Father Cassian Folsom re-founded the Benedictine monastery in Norcia “from scratch,” so to speak, in 2000. It was/is a new foundation. The monks in Norcia (birthplace of St Benedict and St Scholastica) left in the early 19th century.
The monks that came in 2000 and those who have joined them are trying to live the Rule of St Benedict completely – prayer seven times a day and once at night. No surprise, this has meant many young men are attracted to the monastery in Italy, even though it is difficult because Italian is ultimately required and you’re in a foreign country. It is an international group with a large American presence.
It is a very joyful community. No dour traditionalists.
Watch this 6-minute video to see the Norcia monks’ life.
The community was initially located in the town of Norcia but had to flee during the earthquakes in 2016. All the churches in town, including the 13th century basilica of St Benedict, were destroyed. The monks made their new home up the mountain from the town at the site of an old abandoned Capuchin monastery. They have beautifully refurbished the church (it used to be filled with pigeons and other animals seeking shelter) and are now continuing to rebuild and expand the ruined building for the new monastery. The church opened in December, 2020.
Re-building is the optimal path rather than building from scratch because of historical regulations from governmental authorities. This is a restoration of the physical infrastructure but also the spiritual infrastructure of the town, the monastic community, and the life of the local church.
To support themselves, the monks at Norcia are brewing and selling beer, Birra Nursia. It is available online and on the West Coast at Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido and on the East Coast at Alphabet City in New York City. The idea is to limit production so the means of support does not overwhelm the spiritual journey of the monks.
The above comes from a late August email from a Cal Catholic reader who is a friend of the monks in Norcia. See the ad for birranursia on the Cal Catholic home page.
I noticed the ad. I don’t drink but it looks good.
I ordered this beer for my son, who is very much interested in good brews. He loved it.
When I click the link, I get the website, but I can’t find the 6 minute video.
Updated the video link in the story with this url:
This video was really good. “Death to self.” That is what is so hard to find these days. I am sort of in a crisis because when I tried to die to self other people with evil or worldly intentions took advantage of it. So I got lowered to their level.
It is better to be off by oneself praying 8 times a day and being with other people of the same values.
I was a little taken aback at the end of the video because they asked for help (donations maybe?) and I thought Benedictines were not supposed to do that. They are supposed to be self-supporting, hence the beer factory..
It is a wonder that this order of monks has not been suppressed by Pope Francis: TLM, pre-Vatican 2 office (in Latin) with all 150 psalms sung or recited each week. Or is this a schismatic group impervious to the rigid loathing of Francis for all things pre-V2?
This is beautiful. So glad the monks survived that terrible earthquake in 2016– although their beautiful historic church was destroyed– a heartbreak. Hope the poor people of Norcia, whose homes were destroyed, will be able to completely rebuild, and be blessed with economic prosperity. Yes, the monks and the townspeople both are in need of donations– that earthquake was so terrible. It would be terrific if they also had a monastery in California, and added a traditional Benedictine lay order, that followed the traditional pre-Conciliar regime, as the monks do, in Norcia. I bet Abp. Cordileone would be interested to help. Beautiful, so peaceful, so close to God.
The West has forgotten Christ, sadly, and nurtured all that is false, egoistic, and evil, and must be destroyed, in order to establish God’s beautiful Kingdom on Earth. The holy Saints of old, lived in joy, peace, and love, with focus on God Alone. Discarding attachment (“death” to these false attachments!) to self, worries, desires, attachments to people, to the world, to the flesh– everything. Just dwelling happily, with God Alone. “Like the lilies of the field…” (St. Matt. 6:25-34) whom God cares for– total surrender to God. “Seek first His Kingdom…” Nothing else. Love the poem, “Todo y Nada,” (“All and Nothing”) from “Ascent of Mt. Carmel,” by St. John of the Cross. It is wonderful to see saintly monks seeking this traditional, authentic, monastic way of life! Would love to see more of this– closer to home .Plant a few seeds to eventually help transform California and all America, to bring us all a little closer to Christ’s holy Kingdom.
St. Benedict’s monks tried to poison him twice. He founded Monte Cassino because he was being persecuted by a jealous priest.
Throughout Church history there have been saints and sinners inside the Church.
A raven saved St. Benedict from poisoning one time by attacking the cup or plate that contained poison.
We have many crow’s in our back yard, and they are enjoyable to watch, but I tired of seeing only crows, so I got some wild bird seed and a hanging bird feeder, put them and water out in easily managed containers, and now the sparrows, blue jays and other birds are coming back. My large birdbath is hard for me to clean, so I plan on putting smaller containers of food and water in it under a tree. That is one easy, enjoyable way we can help the environment, and sometimes make friends.
There are several Benedictine monasteries in California. I don’t know that they use the Missal and Divine Office from before Vatican II, though. Why would that matter?
The traditional monastic observance was to chant (in Latin) all the psalms in one week. The post V2 observance is often to use two weeks. St, Andrew’s Abbey (Valyermo) follows the two week schedule. To pray the psalms in one week takes literally twice the time obviously and is not suited to a monastic observance that combines prayer and apostolic work to any great degree. It does not follow that the more contemplative monasteries use a one-week schedule. The Trappists in Oregon use a two-week schedule and have more time for private prayer. My earlier comment was to wonder how the abbey is faring with Pope Francis’ animus toward the TLM.
Not a beer belly among them. Impressive.
As for the hats, was that bees or beer?
These men do not sit around in front of a computer or television all day long. (Laughter.) And they make small amounts of fine beer — quality or quantity. Let that be a lesson for all of us, better one or two classes of fine wine or brew than a whole bottle of cheap stuff.
It is the same with canned goods. I worked in the lab and on the belt of canneries in the past. When the conveyor belt ran slowly for the best fruit, the women were able to get all the peeling off and the lab workers allowed less insect parts in the product. When the conveyer belt speeded up for the cheaper brands, the women did not get off all the peeling and the lab workers let more insect parts go though, so if you want more meat (insect parts) buy the cheaper brands. (Laughter.)
Anyone who thinks they are total vegetarians and use canned goods, probably do not know this.