Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Vow Of Silence

In an article in "The Awl," a lapsed Catholic looks with fascination at how the Trappist monks of Quebec live their daily lives without speaking. The oldest Trappist monastery in North America, the monks of Oka Abbey, in Quebec, have left their original Abbey— it is now a herirage site—and now reside north of Montreal in the Laurentians, among the mountains and nature of rural Quebec.
Even if you're not Catholic, you may have heard of the Trappists. They’re the monks that make those impeccably crafted beers. And the Trappist monks of Oka created a cheese worth drooling over that’s still widely sold today (though now it's made by a Quebec dairy company). The Trappists are known for one other thing as well: they're the only Western-based monastic order that still actively practices the “vow” of silence. (I put quotes there because neither the Rule of St. Benedict nor the practice of the Order actually contains a specific vow of silence.
Many persons fear silence, hence the "need" for distractions; with too many persons using electronic apparatuses to keep intruding worrisome thoughts at bay. Now, few persons would agree that this model of silence and routine is suitable for them, hence the dwindling numbers. Yet, in a world that is very noisy, silence can be a relief, and its appeal is great.

For more see [The Awl]


  1. Language is the basic difference between humans and apes. Our ability to speak is the source of our strength, despite the fact that we have neither fangs nor claws nor the ability to climb trees easily.

    1. You are right. No one is suggesting that a world bereft of speech would necessarily be a human advancement. But there is a need for silent introspection, which becomes difficult when the surroundings are so noisy. Too much noise can be detrimental. Hence the reason persons go to the mountains to escape.


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