About forty parish members and guests gathered on June 4 for “Tapping Our Monastic Heritage.” After an opening prayer, the group heard a brief overview of the tradition of monastic brewing from Brian Balonick of our parish. The Trappists are an offshoot of the Cistercian religious order, itself an offshoot of the Benedictine order begun by St. Scholastica's brother, St. Benedict. In the Middle Ages, Cistercian monasteries were started in many unsettled areas of Europe, and they brought large tracts of European land under cultivation. As water supplies were not always healthy, monasteries usually made wine or, in more northern areas of Europe, brewed beer. We sampled eight ales brewed by Trappists in Europe or in the United States. The lineup appears in the picture below.
|The ales along with guest barkeep Chuck Wallander (left) and speaker (and pourer) Brian Balonick (right).|
|Meeting people and sampling beers.|
After sampling the ales, we tried another legacy of monasticism-- lectio divina, the prayerful reading of the Scriptures. Led by staff member Andrew Bechman, the group reflected on a passage from Isaiah about God's generous promises, and looked for a message in the passage for each of us.
|Waiting for the next round!|
Many participants commented on how they enjoyed meeting people they had not known before. “It was fun to have a cross section of people,” one said. Another noted that it “was very interesting to hear the historical background and religious connection of an enjoyable item.” “The beer tasting was very interesting and educational,” another participant wrote, “but the prayers were better!”
Thanks to all who took part, and extra thanks to those whose generous donations covered the costs of the event!