Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Monks are giving in...

I read a post on Palmetto Scoop yesterday as to why they disliked PETA. It was about how that organization has been protesting the Monks of Mepkin Abbey over their alleged mistreatment of chickens in their operation of harvesting eggs. It was reported in The State yesterday and today that the Monks are phasing out this portion of their Ora et Labora lifestyle that has been a part of the community for years. This is from the Monks website:

December 19, 2007
Father Stan Gumula, Abbot of Mepkin Abbey, announced today that the monastery will phase out their egg production business over the next year and a half.

While the monks are sad to give up work that has sustained them for many years, a hard and honorable work of which they are proud, the pressure from PETA has made it difficult for them to live their quiet life of prayer, work and sacred reading. The monks have also found it difficult to extend hospitality, which is their hallmark, under such conditions.

“We will be looking for a new industry to help us meet our daily expenses,” Abbot Stan said. “In fact, under Abbot Francis Kline, discussion began on our economy with the hope of finding a new industry, but this effort was cut short because of his prolonged illness and untimely death.”

The monks at Mepkin live under the rule of St. Benedict which calls for monks to provide for their daily needs by the work of their hands. Work is a basic component of the monastic life and is central to a monk's growth as a contemplative. For centuries, monasteries relied on some type of agricultural work because it is the kind of work that can foster prayer and contemplation.

“We hope to find a source of income that will respect this tradition of work on the land and care for the environment,” Abbot Stan said.

“The monks and I thank all the people in the Charleston area who have so faithfully supported us by buying our eggs,” said Abbot Stan. “We are especially grateful to the folks at Piggly Wiggly and the Charleston Air Force Base who have carried our eggs for over 40 years. We hope to have a product that they will be proud to feature as they have our eggs.

“We wish you all a blessed Christmas season and may your New Year be filled with joy and grace,” the Abbot said.
(emphasis added)

First, Mepkin Abbey is perhaps one of the most beautiful areas in South Carolina. If anyone has the opportunity to visit the community and walk the grounds and see the award winning chapel, and the voluminous library (which is one of the largest collections on the east coast for manuscripts and works on theology) I strongly encourage you to do so. Also the way this community has managed to blend human activity with conservation and protection of the environment is incredible, worth noting and worth imitating. It is perhaps one of the reason as a Catholic and an ardent supporter of environmentalism that I find the actions of Peta reprehensible.

Second... they're monks, can't you protest someone who really is endangering animals, like those people who test products on animals, or the Chinese for poisoning pet food???? Incredulous!!

It's with sincere hope and steadfast prayers that I hope the brothers are able to come up with a new industry to sustain their monastic tradition and in the mean time good people of South Carolina, the few or many that are out there, please support this community!!!

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Mattheus Mei said...

This is truly a travesty... I think PETA should purchase the chickens from Mempkin for a reasonable price for loss of income and help the Monks establish a new industry, one that is a hallmark of the Trappist Tradition.... Perhaps Beer!

City Yogin said...

I agree that this is outrageous, and also that PETA should help the Monks establish a new industry. Rather than beer, I think they should make Chartreuse like their French brothers!

Mattheus Mei said...

supporting their store is one thing, but these men will need a lot of seed money to start up some kind of new operation, and sadly they may have to sell of their land, does anyone know how to start an internet charity? I'm sure people would be willing to give at least $5 so the monks can get something started!!!