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Christ in the Desert


Inside this issue:

Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction a Success Organic Hops is Taking Off Sharing in Christ's call to the Desert Monastery Hosts University Retreats

Dear Friends of the Monastery,

Blessings to you! It is already June and the weather is warming up. There are many things that I wish to share with you in this short letter. Our oldest monk, Brother Benedict Lang, OblSB, died on June 9th at the age of 92. He had fallen earlier in the year and broke his left hip and never really recovered from that injury. We shall miss him a lot. May he rest in peace. Part of our summer spirituality here at Christ in the Desert is the celebration of the Solemnity of Saint John the Baptist on June 24th. The founders of our Monastery arrived in New Mexico on June 24th, 1964, and Saint John the Baptist was chosen as the major Patron Saint of our community. Almost from the beginning of monasticism, St. John the Baptist has been seen as a model for monks. He was a chaste celibate who went to the desert to proclaim the coming of the Savior. Monastic life is profoundly involved in desert spirituality, whether the desert is a Saharan type of desert, the desert of a big city or an alpine desert like ours. The desert can be beautiful enough to deceive us into thinking that there are no dangers there. In this way it tries to seduce us into thinking that there are no major problems. Once we step on a rattlesnake or get caught between a mother bear and her cub, we realize that life can be quite threatening. We come to the desert to learn the wisdom of living well in Christ Jesus. Part of living in the Lord is also knowing the dangers that surround us. This is not to make us fearful, but to make us alert and to make us rely on the Lord and His strength. How wonderful it is for us that we live in the desert and can share our lives with you. Every day we pray for all of our friends, relatives, benefactors and oblates--both for the living and the dead. We are always very grateful for you presence in our lives Please also pray for us. Your brother in the Lord,

The Burning Bush Gift Program

Share your love throughout the year by giving a gift that reminds your family, friends and associates that every place is holy and it is possible to meet God where you stand. As the story in Exodus Chap. 3 tells us, gifts of meaning cannot be consumed; they can be experienced only in love. Select gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, or any occasion of importance in these areas: Environmental Sustainability, Education, Worship/Community Life, Guest Hospitality, and Family Connections. By doing so, you also share your love to benefit the Monastery of Christ in the Desert.

For more information see our website:

Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB

Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction a Success

Thanks to the wonderful support of the more than fifty attendees and the many other donors who supported the event, our recent fundraising dinner and silent auction was a huge success. More than $4,000 was raised for ongoing maintenence needs around the Monastery! The dinner was held on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at our Monastery of Christ in the Desert and organized through the efforts of Fr. Christian and Br. James. Special thanks go out to Bros. Francis and Michael for preparing a wonderful dinner. It was great fun and one of the highlights of the year so far!

(Above) Laurie Archer, Fr. Christian, Peggy Jones and Br. James. (Below) Bros. Michael and Francis.

Sharing in Christ's call to the Desert by Fr Christian Leisy, OSB

Maybe we have all heard or read about "desert spirituality," but wondered what it is all about. The Holy Bible has its origins in the deserts of the Middle East. Our ancestors in the faith knew the harsh and rugged trials of the desert, yet experienced the beauty and comfort of such a land as well. God spoke to our ancestors in the desert and God continues to speak to us as well in our "desert moments and places," the silence of our hearts at prayer and in our communal celebrations of the Sacraments of the Church. Jesus spent time in the desert--forty days --before his public ministry, and while in the desert he fasted and prayed, overcoming the devil's temptations and embracing instead that which is of God. As a result he was better equipped to face the realities of everyday life and the call to bring the Good News of salvation to the entire human race. This was Jesus' work of establishing God's Kingdom on earth, which Jesus came to do, as well as to be the Way, the Truth and the Life of all people, past, present and future. Many followers of Christ in the 3rd and 4th centuries felt a particular call to lead a "full time" life of prayer and hospitality, of carrying on Christ's work of going about doing good. These individuals, both men and women, came to be called the "Fathers and Mothers of the Desert." Their life of prayer and penance in the desert was intended to draw many to Christ, and especially to help people consider and embrace with joy the things that really matter, such as peace and patience, love of others and reconciliation, communion with God and sharing in eternal and resurrected life in Jesus Christ. The other option was being weighed down with things that are fleeting and ultimately do not satisfy the human heart: wealth and beauty, material possessions and other things that to this day can cloud the vision of one's life. The Sacraments of the Church, especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation or Penance, are intended to deepen our relationship with God and help us grow in holiness and peace. May we always strive to focus on our commitment to deepening our friendship with God, especially through the practices of prayer and doing good for others, under the constant care of God's grace, which is described in the glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as, "the free and undeserved gift that God gives us to respond to our vocation to become God's adopted children."

Monastery of Christ in the Desert is a Roman Catholic Monastery of about 40 monks founded in 1964 in New Mexico as a foundation of Mt. Savior Monastery. We now are an autonomous abbey of the Subiaco Congregation of Benedictines, and have foundations in Mexico, Texas and Illinois.

Organic Hops is Taking Off

We are in our second season of growing hops at the Monastery. Last fall we harvested six varieties of hops that are native to northern New Mexico. After drying and vacuum sealing the hops, we have frozen them to retain their quality. Brad Kraus, the Brew Master for Abbey Beverage Company, has started to use our hops in test batches with very positive results. Jenny Langston has been coordinating the cultivation and oversaw the planting of five new varieties this spring. We discontinued one variety from last year, which leaves us with 10 varieties. The hops are drip irrigated using water drawn from the Chama River using a pump that is powered by a photovoltaic panel located in the hop yard. Our most invasive weed has been slowed considerably by planting a cover crop of winter rye last fall, which was tilled into the soil this spring. A summer cover crop of buckwheat will be planted for weed suppression and to help with organic matter in the soil. Buckwheat is also an excellent food source for local pollinators. We are grateful to all who have helped get this exciting new agricultural project launched here at Christ in the Desert.

Help support the Monastery by visiting our two stores in Santa Fe!



Community Thrift Store

1306 Clark Road Santa Fe, NM 87501 505-473-0972

Trellises filled with hops buds.

Monastery Hosts University Retreats

In March, while most college and university students are making plans to visit south Florida for a well deserved spring break, the Monastery hosted several graduate students from Duke University Chapel, Durham, North Carolina. The Rev. Meghan Feldmeyer, M.Div., was the retreat facilitator. For most of the students, this was their first time experiencing Christian monasticism that involved living the day-to-day life (ora et labora) of a contemplative Benedictine monk. 2011 also marks ten consecutive years of hosting twenty graduate students from Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Waco, Texas. The retreat was facilitated by Dr. W. Hulitt Gloer who also presented the monastic community several spiritually up-lifting conferences on the Gospel of Saint Luke. At the conclusion of the retreat, Dr. Gloer became an oblate of Christ in the Desert. Today, in any Benedictine guesthouse, one will encounter lay people and clergy from a wide range of denominations. Given this great diversity, the church becomes a place where Christians can enjoy what they have in common--the psalms and the gospels, and not worry too much about what divides them. St Benedict tells us that "guests are to be welcomed as Christ" (Rule, 53,1), so the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, like all Benedictine monasteries, offers people the chance to have time with the Lord; to take a little time out, to spend a few days away from everyday cares. Above all, the Monastery is a place where people can pray. Guests are invited to come to the church for the Divine Office which is celebrated by the monks seven times a day and to participate in the daily Mass. The Monastery church is also open for private prayer.

MonasTery oF CHrisT in the DeserT GuesTHouse

"Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ..."

"...let all kindness be shown them."

--RULE OF S AINT B ENEDICT We warmly invite guests who wish to seek God to come and share our life. Our guesthouse is a place where individuals can find quiet time for prayer, privacy, reading and reflection, inspired by God's Word speaking in the liturgy and silence. Guests are welcome to attend our daily prayers and Eucharist with us in our church. For more information see our website:


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Phone: 1-801-545-8567 Monastery of Christ in the Desert 1305 Forest Service Road 151 P.O. Box 270 Abiquiu, New Mexico 87510-0270 Return Service Requested Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage Paid Abiquiu, NM 87510 Permit No.2


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