Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain at the Abbey of Gethsemani

by William Caverlee

Today, those on retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky stay in a shiny new visitors' facility. However, in the 1970s/80s, when I used to visit there, the retreat house looked like an antiquated college dormitory. Amenities were sparse - it was men only, as well - with showers and bathrooms down the hall. In the cold months, only a few brave pilgrims made the long trek to the backwoods of Kentucky, especially in winter when the rooms were icy and extra blankets got snatched up fast.

Gethsemani is a Trappist monastery near Bardstown, Kentucky, perhaps best known...

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