Holly Folly: Short and Tall Tales from the Abbey of Gethsemani

Holly Folly: Short and Tall Tales from the Abbey of Gethsemani


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When famous monk and philosopher Thomas Merton may have peeled back what it was like to be a monk in the 20th century in his books, he only revealed one part of that story.

Behind the walls of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where Merton lived and wrote, there are many more stories:

  • funny, lively accounts about monks setting fires to their woods out of boredom, with the hope of rousing the fire trucks
  • the police descending upon the monks in a helicopter to confiscate marijuana plants mysteriously growing in the monastery's woods
  • the colorful Brother Ambrose, an old monk who steals from his fellow monks to give to the poor
  • one monk at Gethsemani who photographed the first atomic blasts that ended the war with Japan
  • learning sign language, the only form of communication between monks.

These stories, including some about Merton himself, are written by three monks who should know—Brother Paul Quenon, a photographer and poet, Brother Guerric Plante, once the abbey's official storyteller, and Gethsemani's abbot, Father Timothy Kelly.

Holy Folly is their take on life behind the walls of this place. A portrait of the richly pious life of monks faithfully following the monastic rule, but not without a little fun along that terribly rigid road to Heaven.... Holy Folly is a book you won't be able to put down. It will make you laugh and make you think. No other book speaks the truth about this prayerful and famous place.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780887533136
Publisher: Black Moss Press
Publication date: 03/28/1999
Pages: 132
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.95(h) x 0.34(d)

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