There are approximately 35 Benedictine monks who live in a secluded monastery in Albiquiu, NM. Their ages range from early 20's to early 90's and they are from
all over the world.
Many of them were professionals and/or scholars before they entered the monastery. For example, one Brother used to run the National Symphony and Opera of Mexico City. One Brother was an Investment Banker - he is now in charge
of candle making!
There are three pillars to Monks' lives: Reading, Working and Praying. From 3:45AM - 7:30PM they are engaged in these three activities.
While they do have some donations, these Monks for the most part are completely self-sufficient. They work together as a community to create goods and services
in order to sustain their lives and
main goal of praying.
People of any faith or no faith can stay at the monastery and live like a Monk for days or months. Everyone from rabbis to artists to celebrities seek out this hotel as
a place of retreat.
The Monk's brew their own beer called "Monk's Ale." They are the only monastery in the US to have a working on-site brewery. They have a beer called Monk's Ale and Monk's Wit in the market place and they are working on a third one. Originally their beer was made off site at a brewery a few hours away but they just got their license to make it on site. Their slogan is "Monk's Ale - Made With Care and Prayer." They grow the hops on site. The business is run by the monks and a man named Berkeley Merchant who is an entrepreneur who gave up his life to help get this monastery and beer off the ground.
They answer prayer requests via the Internet. Abbott Phillip sends a weekly newsletter with his thoughts and views on the world and how we can relate certain teachings to our own lives via
"The Abbott's Notebook."
All of the buildings were designed by the famous architect George Nakashima. Christ In The Desert was a place that Georgia O'Keefe loved to paint.
She would go there often.
The entire facility is solar-powered and achieved a National Green Award.
In 2006 the monastery was the setting for a TLC documentary program entitled "The Monastery." The series followed the experiences of five laymen who lived in the monastery and observed the monastic way of life for forty days. The series was filmed in early 2006 and was originally broadcast in five episodes in the US on the TLC network in Oct-Nov 2006.
In 1995 the monastery published a web site -- www.christdesert.org -- that gained international fame and became one of the world's most visited web sites in the years 1995-1997. The monastery and their web scriptorium made the front page of numerous publications worldwide in feature stories distributed via the AP wire (in 1995) and the NY Times wire (in 1996). Print coverage included page one of the Sunday New York Times, a full color double page spread in USA Today, and the lead in a cover story in Time Magazine. Television feature stories ran on CNN International, CBS Sunday Morning, ABC World News Tonight and Brazil's Fantastico.
The remarkable Monks of the Desert, who spend their daily hours praying for peace, working and studying in silence, have entered the realm of major label music production with their Sony MASTERWORKS debut album Blessings, Peace and Harmony. The Monks of The Desert observe a strict daily prayer schedule called Divine Office, or Opus Dei, which takes place 7 times during the day and once at night, starting at 4:00am and ending at 7:30pm. When not praying or studying, the monks run a multitude of self-sustaining businesses including light manufacturing, brewing beer (Monk's Ale & Monk's Wit), an on-site "hotel" and community thrift store in Santa Fe and a separate retail store specializing in hand-crafted religious items, books, music, and folk art.
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The remarkable Monks of the Desert, who spend their daily hours praying for peace, working and studying in silence, have entered the realm of major label music production with their debut album Blessings, Peace and Harmony. The album compiles selections from the Monks' four independent recordings of Gregorian chant, and features four new chants recorded exclusively for this collection. "The kind of singing that we do calms the spirit and helps us live in peace with our world and with one another," says Abbot Philip Lawrence, a scholar of chant who also leads the Monastery of Christ In The Desert. The album was designed to deliver a solid overall background of Gregorian chant which Abbot Philip concludes has an "ability to allow for everyone to sing and yet also provide opportunities for monks who really love music to become more or less specialists. Thus, the whole might easily sound better than the individual voices." Such is indeed the case with the Monks of the Desert and their transcendental Blessings, Peace and Harmony, which brings out the beauty of the human voice in the most divine context.
Crossover Media Projects with: Monks Of the Desert