Benedictine Monks Making Beer

A VIDEO TOUR of a new brewery, operated by the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, located in Umbria, Italy:Built above the birthplace of Saint Benedict and his twin sister Saint Scholastica — the founders of men's and women's monasticism in the Latin west — the original monastery was dissolved by Napoleon, but was re-populated by monks in December of 2000. The monks follow the Rule of Saint Benedict, and so their life is signified by both extensive prayer and by work:

...we pray the full monastic Office as laid out in the Rule. We observe the monastic fast and we have retained the patrimony of Gregorian chant. In addition, the Holy See has entrusted us with the special apostolate of celebrating the Eucharist in both forms (in utroque usu), that is, the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. We do all kinds of work (manual, clerical and intellectual) including some limited apostolic work. Monastic formation in Norcia focuses heavily on the interior life: conversion, self-knowledge, the rooting out of vices and the acquiring of virtues – all this to create the necessary conditions for contemplative prayer. We are a young international community, eager to love and serve Our Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart.

Generally, Benedictine monasteries are self-supporting, and in this monastery, by the making of beer. A description of their beer can be found here. They explain:

In complete harmony with the centuries old tradition, the monks of Norcia have sought to share with the world a product which came about in the very heart of the monastic life, one which reminds us of the goodness of creation and the potential that it contains. For the monks of Norcia, beer has always been a beverage reserved for special occasions, such as Sundays and Feast days. The project of the monastic brewery was conceived with the hope of sharing with others the joy arising from the labor of our own hands, so that in all things the Lord and Creator of all may be sanctified.

Having once worked as an industrial engineer at the beermaker Anheuser-Busch, I enjoyed viewing the monks' contemporary (albeit very low-volume) brewing machinery in the video.Also of interest is the monks' list of books that they have read during meals, which can be seen here.

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