Monday, June 01, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays # 7

In praise of silence. And all it reveals.
Inspired by: The Abbey of the Genesee, 3258 River Road, Piffard, NY 14533, 55 miles east of Buffalo, in the Genesee River Valley region of New York State. This is the home of 33 monks who follow the Order of Cistercians of Strict Observance, commonly known as Trappists. Theirs is a silent order, with select Monks who interact with the public. They are contemplatives who do not watch TV or listen to the radio or engage in "other irrelevant media". The 50,000 books in their private library, the 1,200 acres of stunning land, their prayerful day which begins at 2:25am and ends at 7pm, as well as their world famous, fabulously delicious Monk's Bread offer everything a Monk could need in his pursuit of reverence for God.
Me, the no-particular-religion-kinda-girl, makes a pilgrimage to the Abbey every year. This is my 26th year of making the fairly short drive to sit inside a work of art in silence. I love the Abbey. Its timbers and gigantic field stones, its hand-calligraphied hymnals and sandal-wearing Brothers, its billowing clouds and green meadows, and the thick chunks of stained glass aligned between boulders to form windows of color. It is nature and art and sacredness combined. It is silent and soothing. It is a place of peace.
Don't forget the bread. It is how the Monks sustain themselves. And let me tell you, it is outstanding. You can buy most varieties in grocery stores in NY state, but I have seen it as far south as Florida. The Abbey has always had a tiny bread room with very spare hours and a slot in the wall to slide your money through. But now, those media-shunning Monks have hired savvy lay people to enlarge their bread room, extend the selling hours and cash you out by computer. They offer fruitcakes with whiskey and brandy, brownies and special cakes and my new favorite offering, creamed honey with cinnamon to spread on your brotherly bread. Go for the silent beauty, but trust me, bring your wallet.
Yes, silence is inspiring me. More than ever. I have found it to be where my dreams live, waiting patiently for me to stop the chaos and listen. I'm so eager for my dreams to manifest, I have lately used spoken language and music sparingly on my days off from work. The rewards are pouring in in the form of brainstorms and passions made clear. It seems to be my season of deep contemplation. My bread is rising. The baking will come. And then, sweet then, the offering of my silence will be heard.
{If you care to play along with me for Inspire Me Mondays, grab the badge off my side bar, place it in your own, email me at and I will add you to the list of lovelies who offer inspiration of their own. Our newest IMM friend is Jeanne at Daily Reflections from Atwater Pond. Stop by and see what inspiration she offers. Click on the badge to link to more inspiration. Yay!}


  1. We are kindred souls. I spent seven months in silence in 1989. When I moved to CA, in 1992, I often visited Green Gulch Farm. Your photos remind me of who I am (if that makes any sense). I responded to your post on my site about reading. Thank you for IMM. I'm already feeling the connection.

  2. What an amazing post!

    Who knew a place like THIS existed?!? Heavenly! Makes me want to go!

    Love your analogy with the bread rising and your season of contemplation.

    Beautiful, peaceful, blissful indeed.

    p.s. Kudos on increasing your plant-based foods :-)

  3. Anonymous6/02/2009

    Graciel, Oh, these photos make me want to go there!!! I knew that place existed and have even thought of going on retreat, but now I really really really want to.

    Like Lisa, I love your bread analogy. And thanks for the kind comment recently over at blisschick. :)

  4. gorgeous post...once again I get swept up in your writing! Thank you Graciel (and that creamed honey and cinnamon concoction sounds amazing!)

  5. Sounds like a wonderful place to meditate and restore your spirit. I love the stained glass. Nice post, Graciel.


I always appreciate the time you take to comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by. Peace from my heart to yours. xo, Graciel