I spent part of the weekend at the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity, a Trappist monastery outside of Huntsville, UT. It was a wonderfully peaceful time and very inspiring to see men so dedicated to the “one thing needful.” These are men who spend their lives in prayer. Their daily schedule: 6am Lauds (morning prayer), 6:30am Mass, 7:45 Terce (midmorning prayer), 12:15pm Sext (midday prayer), 2:15pm None (midafternoon prayer), 5:30pm Vespers (evening prayer), 7:30pm Compline (night prayer), adn 3am Vigils (night watch prayer). The live by the rule of St Benedict. If they are not praying, they work and support themselves. The utter simplicity of their lives and their complete dedication were so moving.
The other thing I will take from me is how one of the monks spoke of the future of the monastery. The men there are very old; their most recent new member joined 30 years ago. In the next 10 years or so, the monastery will probably close. We asked one monk about this, and he told a story about Saint Francis. Apparently Francis was asked what he would do if the Pope did not approve his new order. Francis replied that he would get over it in very short order. The monk we spoke to responded in like manner with respect to his monastery. With total ease and a smile, he remarked that it would probably vanish. Here is a man who has spent 50+ years of his life living in this place, utterly unperturbed by its likely demise. You got the sense that he knew worldly things come and go; his mind was elsewhere. He had the freedom that comes from holding things very gently in your hand.
All are welcome to visit, and men of any background (one need not be Catholic) can stay overnight. Every Sunday they do a Latin Mass at 10am, which is a treat.