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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Father Zossimma/ Dismas, Contemplative Orthodox Monk & Priest For Our Time

Revised 10/4/11

A Tribute To Archimandrite Great Schema Monk Priest Zossima, Born Dec.23, 1943-Died Aug.16, 2011
Father Zossimma is bured at Colma Cematary, just south of San Francisco

Fr. Zossima was born in Seattle, Washington of Roman Catholic parents on December 23, 1943 and baptized Anthony Corde

Father Zossima was widely celebrated as a trailblazing urban monk/priest; He succeeded in bringing the beautiful, ancient, deep mysticism and spirituality of the Desert Fathers to a very difficult and worldly urban, inner city environment; He blazed a trail for other urban monastics and clergy to follow-in a high path upward to perpetual prayer and contemplation, via daily prayer,spiritual reading, mental prayer, Divine Offices, Liturgy, icon painting and ink drawings.

Paula Richardson, in San Francisco, is deeply committed to preserving and eventually exhibiting Father's very extensive collection of sacred iconographic works: paint on wood, ink drawings on paper and canvas, paint on canvas etc.These are icons of Christ, the Holy Theotokos-Virgin Mary, angels and saints of the Orthodox and Latin Churches.

Paula and I will let you know via email and my twitter of any future art and icon exhibit of Father Zossima's deeply inspiring art works.

To be continued in late November with excerpts of his great monastic and spiritual writings.

Please review complete information at
Call: (415) 412-6685 from 7am - Midnight PST, 7 Days A Week

Printed Color Catalog: Please send $5 check or money order (US currency) payable to:
Paul Bernardino
P.O. Box 475-333 San Francisco, California 94147-5333 U.S.A.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Orthodox / Byzantine Monastic Habits and Clergy Apparel

Page recently changed from:

              Inner Raso/ Cassock, Greek Style 

Inner raso/rasa/anteri/cassock/podryasnik, (different ethnic/national names for the same garment) double breasted with raised collar, Greek style; This particular photo of the inner raso cassock does not have a raised collar; But we do include the raised collar with the traditional raso.

See the other photos in our monks page in this Blog and in our main site and in this Orthodox/Byzantinegallery.

 The waist cincture can be a matching cloth 3" wide or made of 1" wide string of matching color.

Chest pockets and hip pockets are optional; See price list

                   We do not make the skouphos hat shown above  or kamelavkion hat 

This Orthodox/Byzantine page is still being assembled as new scans of habits & clergy attire are being added through the spring & summer of 2014

Please send comments & email to

The prices in this post are subject to change and updated without notice; Call for current prices


Dear Monastic Brothers & Sisters, Reverend Orthodox Clergy; Greetings in Christ,

My I introduce our monastic tailoring service to your Church, clergy, religious orders, hermitages and monasteries; We specialize in traditional, authentic, custom tailored monastic habits for priests, monks, nuns, hermits and various clergy apparel of the Orthodox Churches, Byzantine Rite, Latin Rite and Anglican eccleasiastical and monastic traditions etc.

We sew and sell to the general public and shipped via mail order anywhere in the world.

We do NOT require that you have any religious, monastic or canonical affiliation; We are not a religious institution or a religious order; We are simply professional custom tailors at your service..

Please telephone us today or tomorrow instead of email and we can answer all your questions about habits and your particulars.  We quote prices over the phone and other info about our custom tailored garments.
*We do not take garment orders by telephone
*We do not accept credit cards, PayPal or Quick Pay

*We do not make anything in "one size fits all"

*We do not accept credit cards, Pay-Pall or Quick Pay which is linked to credit cards

*We do not charge tax

* We do not take garment orders by phone but only on our order form, stated clearly & legibly.

*We do not make contracts or promises by phone; You must state everything on the order form.

*All customers must state all garment requests & measurements on our order form clearly, legibly, completely and in a non-confusing manner.  

Please read carefully our order form and orderiing instructions at

Your details and specifics about  habits and clergy apparel cannot be adequately discussed by email or in a web "chat room" format; Only by a 5-10 min. (or longer if need be) initial telephone call; So that we can quote you updated prices by telephone not by email; See our updated prices in this blog in the PRICES link page.

 We prefer communicating by telephone instead of email whenever possible and for initial contacts; The email system is VERY unreliable and subject to frequent, random technical failures and delays and many other related problems including hackers; Including many people mistakenly think that complex discussions of the above habit styles can all  be  discussed in an on line "chat room" format and email trafiic time frame; Unfortunately they cannot; Only adequately discussed by an initial two minute or 5-10 min. TELEPHONE call. There is no substitute for a friendly, warm, cozy human voice with quick response info in a two minute or 5-10 min call which a high-tech PC machine and viewing screen cannot give you. 

Call and ask about our volume discounts and "Two Day Discounts"  which are explained on page one of our order form.

Call us for more details about our monastic habits and clergy apparel, price updates etc; And tell your friends, other hermits, monks and nuns and other clergy you may know about our extensive web site and available styles; And please email a link from our site to your email contacts if possible.

We look forward to being of service to you and your churches, monasteries and hermitages.

                VESTMENTS & GARMENTS 

                     FOR THE LATIN RITE

             (Also see our Latin Rite pages)

Due to a Google & Open Office tech error, the price list below got miss-formatted; We will have this corrected in WORD by May 1, 2014

Use the vertical & horozontal scroll down & scroll left & right.

LITURGICAL ALBS & CHOIR ALBS: See Our Vestments Page,  Photo LV-17 etc.
Here are prices for liturgical albs & choir albs which can be used for liturgy at the altar or for choirs and individual choral singers & cantors, men, women,  children & special events like Christmas & Easter & Liturgical dramas etc:

ADULT  & CHILD SIZES: Cotton / Poly, pure white, off white, gray, blue, red, navy blue etc:

ADULT SIZE, Standard Alb, , LV-17, unpleated W/raised collar or monastic hood, 10" to 20" vert. open, W/hidden velcro closure at neck:  ..............................................................................................................$150

CLOTH BELT, ADULT SIZE: 2" to 3" wide matching cloth belt/cincture, add .....................................................$20 
Above adult alb W/ flat rim collar, LV-17, ML-13, LV-11, ..........................................................$125

EXTRA WIDE SLEEVES: 30" wide sleeves, per alb, adult size, LV-8, LV-9: add..................................................... $20

CHILD SIZE, Above Alb: W/ Flat rim collar, aprox. 4 ft. tall child, 8" vert. open, W/hidden velcro closure at neck: ...............................................................................................................................$65

CHILD SIZE, 2" to 3" wide matching cloth belt/cincture, add......................................................$15.

CHILD SIZE, Above Alb: LV-17, W/raised collar or monastic hood, aprox. 4 ft tall child, 8" to 15" vert. open, W/hidden velcro closure at neck: .............................................................$85

CHILD SIZE, 2" to 3" wide matching cloth belt/cincture, add.......................................................$15

CHILD SIZE, standard alb, unpleated, flat rim collar, 8" vert. open, W/hidden velcro closure at neck:............................................................................................................................... $65

HIP POCKET, Set of hip pockets; Each pocket can hold 2 wallets, 2 note pads, 2 pens: Add..................................$10
CHEST POCKETS; each chest pocket can hold 2 note pads, 3 pens; 
Add .......................................................$3

EXTRA TALL ADULT SIZE: If you have an adult over 6 ft., 2 inches tall or taller to 7ft. tall,per tunic/alb garment, please add....................................................... $20 .

 If you have an adult whose wast (mid section) is  60" -70" circumference,per alb/tunic garment  please add........................................................................................................ $20 For each 2"-3" wide cloth cincture/belt, add.........................................................$10 .


RUSH ORDERS: Please fill out the entire order form & state (check box) "Non-Rush Order" or "Rush Order"; Please state your deadline date if its a Rush Order.
See our RUSH ORDER RATES for adult sizes if you need the garments in 30 days or less.

CHILD SIZE Rush Order rates: Call me for rush order price quotes for Child sizes

VOLUME DISCOUNTS & TWO DAY DISCOUNTS; Call for details; Read page 1 of the order form.

Please TELEPHONE us when you have completed the order forms if you have any questions
Make check, money order or cashiers check payable only to one party:
"Paul Bernardino", not to "Monastery Garments; Please do not write a 2 party check.
INVOICE: We will email you the INVOICE within 24 hrs. after we receive your payment here or send it with the completed garments or habits; Please state your email address clearly on page 3 of our order form

We look forward to being of service to your church, choir, monastery, hermitage, priory or liturgical celebrations.


 We tailor various types of choir robes & monastic style choir habits for male & female adults, young adults and children. Prices vary according to several factors:
For adult or child
Style / Structure
Single piece or multi-piece
Full length or shorter or knee length
Pleated or not
Hooded or not
Stiff hood
Semi stiff hood
Soft hood / no lining
Raised collar or flat rim collar
Type of fabric: cotton/poly, poly/wool, 100% wool, 100% cotton
Hip Pockets or not
Chest pockets or not
Cloth cincture: 2" wide or 3-4" wide
Franciscan cord/rope W/3 knots can be used as choir robe cincture (adult size is $25). 

There are so many different styles of choir robes & acylotyte vestment styles spanning over 2000 years of Church history (choose your historic period / style below):
Any of these habits & choir robes can also be used for liturgical drama and orchestra & chamber music groups for Christmas & Easter & special events etc.

Choir Robes In Cotton/poly in any solid color or black:
Byzantine Rite damask ($200 - $300 each) or plain Byzantine full length tunics ($125 - $150 each) (see our Byzantine Rite / Orthodox page)

Early Medeival to Renaissance pleated / Florentine ($85-$100 ea) & unpleated surplices ($65-$85 ea) of the Latin Rite (see our Liturgical Vestment page by mid September 2011.

Pre- Vatican II style (prevelant in 1930's to 1960's) pure white surplices of the Latin Rite, usually pleated knee length or three quarter length, warn over choir cassock, ($75 - $100 each).
Monastic style albs w/hoods or without, for male & female choirs & acolytes, clergy and Eucharistic ministers at the altar.(Currently in our Liturgical Vestments page) Adult & young adult size ($125-$150 ea.) (Children size:Unpleated: $50, Pleated: $65 ea.). 

By spring or summer of 2014 we will have color photos of various pleated & unpleated traditional off white, pure white, black, gray, navy blue & medium blue choir surplices & robes, knee length & three quarter length w/ flared angelic sleeves etc. 
We give volume discounts for choir robes; $15 off for two to five multi-piece robes, $20 off for 5-20 multi-piece robes; $10 off for 2 - 5 single piece robes, $15 off for 5-20 single piece robes. 

Discount rate depends on above single piece or multi-piece robes, full length or shorter and other factors.
Monastic habits for adults & for all ages can also be used as choir robes & special events.
(See our Monks page)
Call for price quotes in poly wool & 100% wool fabric. The price also depends on your details & details listed above.

** If you do not see in our websites what you are looking for in choir robe use, you are welcome to submit a simple line diagram of choir robe etc and email it to me soon. Then I can quote you a price and volume discount; And please state if you want pleated or unpleated; And we can work out a package deal that can suite your church or monastery budget. 
To order anything from us, you must fill out the entire order form (typed or ink pen and send it with payment to our unpublished workshop address). 
If you see any other email address on our web site such as Gothicg or a Yahoo email address, it is OUTDATED and will be removed soon. We prefer communicating with you initially by telephone instead of email; We prefer the personal, human touch.

Would you like to have your web site linked to our site & vis-versa? Please call for info.

PAYMENT METHODS: (Choose one below:)
The most efficient way to send your payment is DIRECT DEPOSIT

1) DIRECT DEPOSIT from a Bank of America or Chase Bank in your city to my Bank of America or Chase account or  here in northern California. The Bank of America and Chase bank accepts only CASH over the counter for a "walk in the bank" deposit- NOT credit cards to make a direct deposit. Call us for info to make a "walk in the bank" deposit to pay for a garment order.

2) U.S. mail: Send to our unpublished house address at:


3) FED-EX express or UPS Send to our above house address in Santa Cruz, California. 

We will email you an INVOICE within 24 hrs. after we receive your payment.

Ask about our two day discounts and volum discounts stated on our order form..

Please call us today instead of email at:  
(415) 412-6685, 8AM till 11 PM, Pacific time.

The whole world is my monastery and everyone in it are my brothers and sisters; The beautiful Redwood forests are my high Gothic cloister of Peace & contemplation”

Peace be with you

Very sincerely, Paul Bernardino, monastic tailor

Please review complete information at
Call: (415) 412-6685 from 9 AM - 11 PM, Pacific Time
Field Rep: (831) 426-0337 Email:

Paul Bernardino
Monastery Garments P.O. Box 475-333 | San Francisco, California 94147-5333 U.S.A.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Monastery of St. Catherine, Mount Sinai, A Model of Christian & Muslim Peace & Fraternity

The Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine, founded by Emporer Justinian in the mid 5th century

Where God walked on Earth; The Monastery of Mount Sinai is the world's greatest example of centuries of uninterupted peace, contemplation, monastic asceticism and unbroaken fraternity between Christians and Muslims

There is one place on Earth where according to all the "peoples of the Book", Jews, Christians, and Muslims, God spoke to man. It is the Jebel Mousa, Mount Moses or as it is known in  Greek texts, "The God Trodden Mountain". Theobadiston Oros. It forms part of a barren, granite mountain range in the lower Sinai Peninsula.

The Bible relates how in the wilderness and solitude of this landscape God revealed his will to Moses first through the Burning Nush, latter through the Yen Commandments. Centuries latter, in a cave on this same mountain, God spoke once more to the prophet Elijah.

These events were to be landmarks in human history. They shaped the historical destiny of the Jews. Christianity saw in them a key point in the development of God's relationship with man. The Koran dwells on them time and again.

CONTINUED SOON on last parag, 1 page

The Holy Monastery of St. Catherne at the foot of Mount Siani has been characterized by scholars, clergymen of the Easttern Orthodox and Latin Churches and historiians as the most celebrated of the world's Christian monasteries and one of the most ancient and long enduring; And even surviving the various ravages of wars and conflicts down through the ages.

In the course of the Monastery's 15 centuries of uninterupted life, and despte the great difficulties faced in the mdst of alien peoples, not only has St. Catherne's managed to maintain the Orthodox faith intact and provde the Church and the Ecumenical Patrarchate with pre-eminent figures of sanctity and monastic and ermitical asceticism such as St. Gregory and St. John Climacus etc.but it also secured special privileges from the great Prophet Mohammed and, at a latter date, from Popes of Rome and leaders of both the Byzantine East and the Latn West.

The Monastery thus proved itself a great spiritual hearth of Hellensm and saintly mysticism, rendering the most distinguished service to Christian monasticism in general and to Orthodox monasticism in particular, the Orthodox faith, the Church and the Greek people and their great timeless heritage and long legacy of philosophy, democracy, social equality and theology.

At the same time, the monastery acquired international fame as a unique center of Byzantine icon painting. At this monastery, the iconography specialist may study the uninterrupted development of this art from the 6th century up till the present day.

St. Catherine's Monastery also developed its own Sinaitic school of icon painting wiith its own stylistic techniques and "Sinaitic" subject matter. Examples of ths school's work are encountered not only in icons but also in illuminated manuscripts of the calligraphic and chrysographic workshops of the Monastery's world famous Lbrary where very rare, early Bible texts have been preserved

The Monastery of Sinai, protected and surrounded as it is down through the ages by the high native stone fortification walls built by its royal founder, the Emperor Justinian, and isolated in the inhosptable, almost barren desert, was through the centuries a secure haven for invaluable works of art, beautifully embroidered liturgical vestments and many other priceless artifacts sent from all corners of the Earth as devout offerings of the fathful of the Church to the Monastery. These great and generous donations of priceless treasures of art were given to the Monastery, for the most part before the Church unfortunatly, due to geo-political and military upheavals split into the two major divisions of Orthodox East and Latin West, increasingly since the Council of Lyons (France) in the 12 century.

And this Great but unfortunate Schism culminated in the final split at the Council of Florance in the 14 century. This was when the Pope in Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantnopal each sent seperate emissaries to one another to deliver letters of excommunication; Then the excommunication was finally, mutually lifted in 1968 by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athanogorius

Byzantine, Post-Byzantine and modern Greek works representing all types of ecclesiastical art make up the artstic treasures of the Monastery.

The greatest and most priceless treasures of the Monastery have always been not the material, corporal treasure house but the priceless spiritual treasures of the great Orthodox faith and monastic life and priceless spiritual examples of the many monks, canonized sants, hermits and other ascetics who have lived in and around this great Monastery for centuries in the desert; This Monastery and its humble and holy monks have shown and continue to show the rest of our war torn and violent, hate-filled, racist world how to live in peace and harmany with their surrounding Muslim neighbors and to offer up unceasing prayers, Liturgy, universal fraternity, silence, solitude and contemplation up to Christ the High Priest-and to the Holy Theotokos, the Mother of God-before the Ideal High Altar which is in heaven.
Please review complete information at
Call: (415) 412-6685 from 7am - Midnight, Pacific Time

Printed Color Catalog: Please send $5 check or money order (US currency only) payable to:
Paul Bernardino
P.O. Box 475-333 | San Francisco, California 94147-5333 U.S.A.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mount Athos, Twenty Orthodox Monasteries Of Brotherhood, Peace & Contemplation

Comments in parenthesis are those of the bloger Monastery Garments and not the author of the book
EXCERPTS FROM BOOK: Mount Athos' An Illustrated Guide To The Monasteries And Their History
 By Sotiris Kadas, archaeologist, Ekdotike Athenon S.A., Athens 1988

Athos was an area eminently suited to those wishing to practice the rigours of an ascetic life, and from the earliest years of the Byzantine period it attracted men from all parts of the (Byzantine) empire. By the middle Byzantine period the whole peninsula was commonly know as the Holy Mountain, a name officially adopted and confirmed in a special chrysobull of the Emperor Constantine 1X Monomachos (1046) Other similar monastic centers, where there are groups of monasteries, such as Sinai and Olympos in Bithynia were referred to by this same term.

The exact date of the first monastic settlement on Athos cannot be determined. Neither can we be very specific about the development and dissemination of monastic life The information available today , especially for the period before the ninth century, is not only scanty and sporadic, but is, for the most part, based on traditions and legends. The Athonite monks themselves claim Constantine the Great as the founder of certain monasteries, later destroyed by Julian the Apostate, only to be built again by Theodosius the Great and Pulcheria. With a degree of certainty, we can assert that contemplatives had already begun to frequent the Mountain by the seventh century.

Apart from the reasons previously mentioned, the development of monasticism on Athos was strongly influenced by three historical factors: the break up of the earliest village communities; the Arab conquests; and anti-monastic feeling. The decline of the small towns in the vicinity of Mount Athos and the desertion of the peninsula turned it into an attractive place for those inclined to contemplation and religious devotion. The advances and conquests of the Arabs in the eastern counrties, and the consequent ruin of the big monastic centers there, forced the dispersal of their many monks. These men hastened to seek new lands on which to reestablish their monasteries and continue their ascetic way of life. Lastly, Athos became an ark of refuge from the hostility emanating from the Byzantine emporors and the inhabitants of Constantinople toward monks and monasticism in general, especially during the iconoclastic period.

The Holy Mountain first appears as a monastic center in the historic sources of the ninth century. It is recorded that monks from Athos participated in the Council of 843 convened by Empress Theodora to discuss the restoration of the holy icons. At about the same time we come to know the names of the two men who were influential in the history of Athos, Peter the Athonite and Euthymios of Salonica. These two men, nearly contemporaries, represented different ascetic trends; Peter the eremetical and Euthymios the semi-eremetical. The reputations of these two mjen attracted recruits to the Mountain, and Athos began to emerge as a notable monastic center, modelled on the (monastic) communities of the East and those which existed in or near, Constantinople. In 885 the chrysobull of the Emporor Basil 1 officially recognized Athos as a territory belonging exclusively to monks and hermits. It laid down that only men of religion should live there, and that henceforward all shepherds and laymen who until that time had roamed freely there, should be forbidden the "garden of the Virgin".

page 11, 3rd  paragrapgh  CONTINUED

List of the Monasteries at Mt. Athos in descending order of hierarchical rank:

1) Holy Monastery of Megisti Lavra, (Great Lavra) founded AD 963, founder: monk Athanasios

2) Holy Monastery of Vatopedion, founded in fourth century, founders: Emperor Theodosios, Athanasios...

3) Holy Monastery of Iviron, founded in 10 Century; Founders: Athanasios, Nikolaos, Antonios

4) Holy Monastery of Helandarion, founded in 10 Century, founder: Helandarios

5) Holy Monastery of Dionysos, founded 10 Century, Founder: Saint Dionysios

6) Holy Monastery of Koutloumousion. Founded: 10th Century. Founder: Koutloumous
7)  Holy Monastery of Pantokrator. Founded: 14th Century. Founders: Alexios & Ioannis

8) Holy Monastery of  Xiropotamos. Founded: 15th Century. Founder: Empress Pulcheria

9) Holy Monastery of  Zografos. Founded: 10th Century. Founders:Moses, Aaron & Ioannis

10) Holy Monastery of  Dochiarios. Founded: 10th Cen. Founder: monk Efthimios

11) Holy Monastery of  Karakalos. Founded: Third Century. Founder: Empress Karakalla

12) Holy Monastery of  Filotheos. Founded: 10th Cen. Founder: Saint Filotheos

13) Holy Monastery of  Simon Petras. Founded: 13th Cen. Founder: Saint Simon

14) Holy Monastery of St. Agios Pavlos. Founder: Saint Pavlos

15) Holy Monastery of Stayronikitas. Founded: 1oth Cen. Founder: Nikiforos Stayronikitas

16) Holy Monastery of  Xenophon. Founded: 10th Cen. Founder: Saint Xenophon

17) Holy Monastery of Gregorios. Founded: 14th Cen. Founder:  St. Gregory of Sinai

18) Holy Monastery of Esfigmrnos. Founded: Fifth Cen. Founder: Emperor Theodosios

19) Holy Monastery of Panteleimon. Founded: 11th Cen. Founder: Russian monks

20) Holy Monastery of Kastamonitis. Founded: Fourth Cen. Founder: Constantine the Great

Please review complete information at
Call: (415) 412-6685 from 9 am - Midnight, Pacific Time Field Rep. (831) 426-0337

Paul Bernardino, Monastery Garments
P.O. Box 475-333 | San Francisco, California 94147-5333 U.S.A.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thomas Merton, Prolific Monastic & Spiritual Author, Peace Activist, Poet & Global Bridge Builder

The comments in parenthesis are those of the Bloger Monastery Garments and not the authors of the book

By Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Harper San Francisco, 1991

Thomas Merton, 1915-1968

Trappist Monk, (priest) peace activist, and one of the most important Catholic writers of the 20th century,
Thomas Merton (Fr. Louis, a priest monk of the Trappist / Cistercian Monks of the Strict Observance), was influenced by mysticism, Asian religions (Zen Buddhism in partcular) monastic life and the social concerns of his times.

Merton was born on Jan. 31, 1915, in Prades, France, of an Amertican Quaker mother. His father was a New Zealand landscape artist.
He was orphaned at 15. He studied briefly at Cambridge University, but latter received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbia University n New York City. After graduation he worked in Harlem at a Catholic center for the poor and taught English at Columbia (1938-1939)

While at Columbia Merton became briefly interested in socialism.(Socialism and social health care has been practiced by the Early Church in Jerusalem and in most monasteries since the days of St. Pachomius and the Desert Fathers in Egypt. Re: Acts:3-4 & The Holy Rule of St. Benedict, The Rule of St. Augustine, The Rule of St. Basil-by the Eastern & Western monasteries. *See footnote #2 )  A much greater influence on him was Daniel Clark Walsh, one of Merton's mentors at Columbia. Walsh's teachings influenced Merton distinctions between person, nature, and individual, which he developed in his writing.

In 1941 Merton entered the Order of Cistercans (monks) of the Strict Observance (Trappists) at their monastery in Kentucky (Gethsemani Abbey near Louisville, founded by monks fleeing the uphevels of the French Revolution) He was ordained a priest in 1949, taking the religious name Father M. Louis, and latter served as master of novices.

Gethsemani (Abbey in Kentucky) has since become one of the country's acclaimed personal renewal centers (retreat accomodations for men, women and families of all faiths)).

Merton wrote several novels during his youth, one of which, My Argumant With The Gestapo, was publshed posthumously in 1969. Three books of poetry were published between 1941 and 1947 with little notice. Then his autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain, 1948, became a best seller and catapulted him to fame. n the book Merton tells of his gradual conversion from agnosticism to Catholicism n 1938, and his reasons for becoming a Trappist monk.

The autobiography and and subsequent works of spiritual meditations and reflections, whch contain much autobiographcal material , have been compared to the spiritual journals of St. Augustine and John Bynyan, and in terms of social reflection have been compared to other modern religious journals. (Much of Merton's spiritual reflections on monasticism, contemplation and union with Christ are very similar to those of Thomas a' Kempis (1380-1471) including those by Black Elk, Richard Rubenstein, Albert  Schweitzer, and Harvey Cox. (See footnote #3)

Merton's books can be grouped by subject matter into three stages. Those published between 1948 and mainly with ascetic practices for relating to the materialistic world. Those between 1960 and 1965 are mainly concerned with social issues and social criticism, while those from 1956 to 1968 show his interest in Eastern mysticism. (Especially Zen Buddhism) Merton scandalzed many Catholics with hs study of the parallels between Eastern, especially Zen Buddhism and Western religious religious traditions. With exceptional insight comparable to his contemporary, Alan Watts, Merton produced THE WAY OF CHUANG TZU, 1065, and MYSTICS AND ZEN MASTERS, 1967.

Merton viewed conversion as a continuing process, and his mystical journey has been compared to those of the great Spanish mystics and other contemplatives. The integrating princple of his art and life was the concept of God incarnating with humankind. He belieded that being a mystic (and a social critic) was to some extent necessary for a poet.

In his latter years, he became an outspoken opponent of the Vet Nam War. (Including some of the top archetects of the war under Nixon such as Robert Macnamera etc) He wrote the words for several freedom songs for the Civil Rights Movement, and edited GANDHI ON NON-VOLENCE, 1965. Merton and his writngs have influenced peace activists of many faiths. He and Dorthy Day (A large senior apartment complex next door to a Franciscan monastery, soup kitchen and Catholic Church of St. Bonface in downtown San Francisco is named after her) were among the writers for THE CATHOLIC WORKER (The FBI visited his abbott and threatened and ordered the abbot and the Abbot General to order Merton to stop writing for The Catholic Worker and other publications) who greatly influenced the brothers Daniel and Philip Berrgan and other charismatic leaders of the anti-war resistance in the late 1960's and early 1970's, and latter such notable social reform activists as Martin Sheen.(Including his close alliance with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was based in the nearby state of Georgia)

In 1965 he was allowed to live as a hermit at Gethsemani (In the woods behind the monaster proper) and spent most of the last years of his life in solitude. (And was very busy writing famous books, self published books such as the Cold War Letters and hundreds of correspondence with admierers, retreatants, church leaders and other monks, nuns and laity including Buddhists masters all over the world. 

On December 10, 1968, Merton died (Rght after he gave his speech and open panel discussiion) while attending an ecumenical conference of monks in Bangkok. (The conference included Christian and Buddhist monks and nuns, abbots and abbesses of their respective monasteries from all over the world including other famous monastic authors such as Dom Winandy, O.S.B.) The cause of death was electrocution from contact with an electrical fan that had faulty wiring. His body was returned to the U.S. in an airplane that, ironically, also brought back bodies of American soldiers who fought in the Viet Nam War.


Thomas Merton was buried in the Abbey cemetary after a funeral High Mass celebrated by his fellow monks and Abbot;  I met and talked with Merton just 7 months before his sudden and suspicious death, while on a memorable two week retreat at Christ of the Desert Benedictine Monastery 14 miles from the nearest village, Abuiqui, New Mexico; This progressive monastery is on the North side of the mountain from Los Alamos National Laboratory

Thomas Merton, a Monk for Our Times
A Theologian Ahead of His Time; Even a Great Author Can get Duped by “Harmeless” New Age Cults

How Thomas Merton & His Best Selling Book Seven Story Mountain & His Other Writings Inspired Millions From All Walks of Life & Faiths To Resist Religious & Political Tyranny, War & Social Injustice & To Walk The High Road Up Toward World Peace, Contemplation, Social Enlightenment & Liberation

 A Tribute to the Late, Great Thomas Merton, the Most Influential and Prolific Monastic Author of the Twentieth Century and Profiled in Who's Who, the Institute of Thomas Mertton Studies, BCC; The Thomas Merton Project, etc.

Thomas Merton, born in France, 1915-December 10,1968, Cistercian Trappist monk and priest, (Father Louis) philosopher, an unorthodox Catholic and monastic theologian of the Cistercian Order of The Monks of the Strict Observance, author of the best seller: The Seven Story Mountain, autobiography,1948

"It is my intention to make my entire life a rejection-a protest against the crimes and injustices of war and political tyranny." Thomas Merton, Gethsemane Abbey in the late 1960's

"With the race troubles in the South,(His Abbey is in Kentucky) one can see the beginnings and perhaps more that the beginnings of a Nazi mentality in the United States; There is a powerful and influential alliance of business and military men who consider everyone who disagrees with them a Communist, a traitor and a spy; The atmosphere is not unlike what I remember from the Germany of 1932."

"Thomas Merton kept insisting that we must see the nuclear (war) threat as a moral issue and he thought it was insane.”

"His famous essay on Adolph Eichmann shows that up so clearly; He said that when a nuclear war comes it will not be because of the insane, psychotics getting to the button; it will be because sane persons have accepted sane commands coming all down the chain of command; And he felt we were really on a very perilous course because of the insanity of thinking you could win a nuclear war; And he was even thinking about that; Or that you could limit a nuclear war; That 20,000,000 people were expendable; Thomas Merton saw all that and cried out against it.”

"Thomas Merton’s wholeness, humanness, his integration, his overcoming the split between the sacred and the secular was a great contribution of his…..”
Sister Mary Luke Tobin, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Roman Catholic order of nuns

Thomas Merton was active, as a young college student of journalism, in leftist and anti-war politics in France in the 1930's and at New York’s Columbia University where he was also a journalism student. He entered the Cistercian, Trappist Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky in 1941 in his late 20's with degrees in Journalism.

The abbot of the monastery soon found that Merton had great gifts and talent for broad research, deep thought and writing; So the abbot immediately assigned him to an office to write his autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain, a best seller in 1947; Also, The Waters of Siloh, the definitive history of the Cistercian Order of monks and nuns; This book covered the Trappist monastic reforms in France in the Fifteenth Century and the American Abbey of Gethsemane and a highly acclaimed, voluminous series of spiritual writings, essays on the Desert Fathers, many commentaries on the Vedic mysticism of India, Zen and other Buddhist Masters and latter, his anti-war books and essays such as his self published The Cold War Letters.

Many conservative Catholics didn't comprehend Merton and strongly objected to Merton’s  commentaries on current events; Thomas Merton was a monk and deep thinker ahead of his time. He blazed a new trail that few of his Church or religious and monastic orders fully understood or dared to tread themselves till latter; Merton opened up a new path for a whole new thoughtful, questioning and rebellious generation who were crying out in loud protests for answers, seeking solutions to major problems of the 1960's and 70's.

His latter books inspired millions from all faiths and no religious faith to become increasingly aware and active against the grave social injustices of war, fascism, spiritual disintegration, moral collapse of government and Churches, violence, militarism and racial inequality in America and the world; His latter, 1960’s anti-war writings flowed from his remote hermitage in the woods behind his monastery where many great movers and thinkers of his day sought him out and visited him such as the popular folk singers and Peace activists Joan Baez and Bob Dylan; Martin Luther King, Jr. had planned to visit Merton just before King’s own assassination by the CIA; The CIA involvement in King's death is documented by King’s family including his wife Coretta..

Thomas Merton inspired many to become conscientious objectors and Peace activists and encouraged leaders like Ernesto Cardenal, Nicaraguan Minister of Culture (1979-1988)
Ernesto Cardenal, of Niceragua, as a young man, entered Gethsemane Abbey in Kentucky in the 1960’s and studied as a devout monastic novice under the close direction of Thomas Merton (Fr. Louis), then Master of Novices of the Abbey. Ernesto, due to a medical problem a few years latter left the Trappist monastery before his solemn monastic profession ceremony at the Abbey; He then joined the Jesuit Order and was ordained a priest to serve his people in Nicaragua; He then helped found an experimental monastery at the beginning of the Nicaragua revolution, based on liberation theology and Thomas Merton’s epoch creating monastic model and spiritual counsel.

The new Nicaraguan government then appointed Ernesto Cardenal to be Minister of Culture from 1979 to 1988; serving the oppressed people of his native homeland and Central America in the true and liberating tradition of Thomas Merton.

Ernesto Cardenal is the author of several books of poetry including his crowning opus Cosmic Cantical, translated by John Lyons, 1993; He is currently director of Casa de los Tres Mundos in Nicaragua.

Ernesto Cardenal’s other works include include: Zero Hour, Flights of Victory, Homage To the American Indians, Los Ovnis de Oro Poemas Indios

"Ernesto Cardinal is one of the world’s major poets” – Choice magazine

"Priest and Nicaraguan revolutionary as well as a poet, Cardenal epitomizes what makes literature live in Central America today.” – Booklist

Ernesto Cardenal is one of the great guides, enlightening a new generation in the groundbreaking heritage and literary tradition of Thomas Merton-to help illuminate and liberate the world from all oppression, social alienation and degradation.

Other books by Thomas Merton:

The Collected Poems
The Literary Essays 
Seeds of Contemplation
My Argument With The Gestapo
*Seeds of Destruction
The Wisdom of the Desert
*Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
Elected Silence
*The Cold War Letters, self published, sent to all Trappist monasteries in US & beyond
*Peace & In The Post Christian Era 

*His writings against the Viet Nam war and in support of Peace and social injustice

Thomas Merton was born in France, was a student at Oxford, England and Columbia University in New York City, He entered the Cistercian/Trappist monastery of Gethsemane Abbey in Kentucky in 1941, was appointed master of scholastic s and then Master of novices at Gethsemane Abbey in mid to late 1940's; He wrote for many secular and religious publications like the Catholic Worker, Common Wheel magazine, etc.

In his monastic solitude and studies, he had almost four thousand correspondents seeking his counsel and advice, writing to him and seeking him out for support from all over the world.

Dr. Martin Luther King, just before his assassination, was planning to visit Thomas Merton at his monastery in Kentucky for a private meetings and discussions in 1966, according to one of Merton’s biographers.

Thomas Merton was one of the greatest and most prolific Western authors and commentators on Vedic and Buddhist thought, mysticism and spirituality of modern times.

"The Gita can be seen as the main literary support for the greatest religious civilization of India, the oldest surviving culture in the world. The present translation and commentary is another manifestation of the permanent living importance of the Gita. Swami Bhaktivedanta (Prabhupada) brings to the West a salutary reminder that our highly activist and one-sided culture is faced with a crisis that may end in self destruction because it lacks the inner depth of an authentic metaphysical consciousness. Without such depth, our moral and political protestations are just so much verbiage.” -Thomas Merton
Introduction to Bhagavad-Gita As It Is By His Divine Grace A.A. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, (The Hare Krishna cult) 1972

Thomas Merton, like his contemporaries, poets and authors, Allen Watts and Allen Ginsberg, products of the 60’s counterculture were to a great extent also influenced and decieved by destructive Vedic and Buddhist New Age cults;  Watts and Ginsberg were two of the West’s leading published commentators and proponents of Vedic and Zen Buddhist thought and other New Age mysticism fast gaining popularity in the West at the time especially amoung the American counter culture groups.

Thomas Merton was obviously unaware of the latter published revelations and books such as in Monkey On A Stick by John Hubner and Lindsey Gruson, published after Merton’s untimely and suspicious death by “accidental” electrocution by a five ft. tall bed room fan–See below.
Thomas Merton made a serious mistake as a leading 1930’s -1960’s author on Buddhist and Vedic masters and mysticism; He should never have gotten involved with any Vedic or Buddhist cult groups and gurus including His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet, in exile in India since the early 1950's.

Merton visited the Dalai Lama a few weeks before his suspicious death; Merton had just given a groundbreaking speech at an international conference of Christian and Buddhist monks and nuns in Bankock
People should not get themselves involved with cult type Eastern or Western Vedic or Buddhist mysticism because it is based mostly on the ancient, backward and superstitious concepts of a horribly repressive cast system, reincarnation, the bogus, superstitious doctrine of "karma", pre-destination- that “man does not have free will” concept or the birth right to control and develop his own mind, the enslavement of women and children by a retrograde male patriarchal class system and authoritarian guru regime; Merton seriously failed to research into the tyranny of these cult's and the desasterous cult aftermath latter unfolding throughout the rest of the 1960's and 70's-after Merton's death; The authors and commentators on Merton all fail to address this desasterous cult reality well documented in the public domain.
If Thomas Merton had known what was coming down right after his own suspicious “accidental” death, he would never have gotten involved in these above insidious and dangerous Vedic and Buddhist cult groups

This (above) was a rare international conference of Buddhist and Christian monks gathered at the Red Cross Conference Center in Bangkok, Thailand, including Benedictine and Cistercian monks, nuns, abbots, Abbesses and a panel of academics and authors including Thomas Merton; They gave talks on monasticism and its contemporary social, spiritual and political applications for the modern world’s of East and West.
Merton had just finished his key note address on “Monasticism’s Applications And Similarities and Implications For Today”; And just hours latter, when Merton was alone in his guest bedroom at the conference center, he was “accidentally” electrocuted by a 5ft. tall electric fan which reportedly had “fallen onto his lower chest”

To be continued soon__________________________________________________________

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Apparitions Of The Virgin Mary With The Holy Family In Egypt In 1968

The comments in parenthesis are those of the Blogger, Monastery Garments and not the author of this book

Updated, 12/5/13


The Encyclopedia Of Para Psychological And Psychical Research  by Arthur S. Berger, J.D. and Joyce Berger, M.A.,1991


An ancient tradition of the Coptic Orthodox Church holds that it is at Zeitoun, a suburb of Alexandria, now Cairo, where the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled from the wrath of Herod in Judea to a safe haven house at Zeitoun; It was on that spot that the Coptic Orthodox Church has built and maintained various churches and shrines down through the centuries; This is the same sacred spot, now crowned by a majestic cathedral, where the mysterious apparitions thought by some to be that of the Holy Family had taken place from 1968 till 1971.

 (Right after the apparitions, strong traces of uranium were detected on the roof of the Coptic Orthodox cathedral where these strange, illumine cent sightings had taken place, reported to the press and shown and witnessed by millions on live Egyptian TV.)

(Many books and pamphlets have been written about this; Some of these apparitions at Zeitoun, Egypt were broadcast live on Egyptian state TV and viewed by millions over weeks  but disavowed by the Vatican; Possibly because mostly Muslims and Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt and his staff were among the first, on site, first hand and not Roman Catholics and thus these apparitions had some political and military ramifications for this event and for that strategic military/political region; Was the Virgin Mary and Holy Family, in a very public manner, trying to tell us something about the evils and tyranny of war and the folly of war for oil?)


Claims of appearances of the Virgin Mary have been recorded in several countries. But "probably the greatest of all Marian visitations" (Rogo, 1982) began in Cairo, Egypt, on April 2, 1968 when two Muslim workers (And soon after, the President of Egypt with his staff also witnessed this, who soon after the first Apparition had it all televised LIVE on Egyptian TV-seen by millions, mostly Muslim viewers; Because this was seen by mostly non-Catholics and non-Christians; This may be the reason why the Vatican, ever since then, refuses to recognize this as an authentic Marian apparition) noticed what they thought to be a nun in white standing near the dome of St. Mary's Church (Coptic Orthodox Cathedral) of Zeitoun, a shabby district of Cairo.

 The church was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church, a church in the midst of Muslim Egypt, had been converted to Roman Catholicism. During the months of April and May, the radiant figure materialized out of light over the dome of the church and again and again and again was visible in front of the dome, over it, walking on the roof of the church, including its body to salute the onlookers, and even making blessing signs with its hands.

 Frequently, the Apparition would remain in view for hours at a time and then would de materialize. An Aura surrounded it and glittering lights resembling flying birds appeared near the church dome before the figure materialized or while it was in view. The crowds who came to see what was now believed to be the Virgin Mary filled the streets around the (Cathedral) Church One estimate placed the number on April 6 alone at 100,000. Photographs of professional quality of the figure(s) were taken. (There were three glowing, incandescent figures witnessed by the crowds) Numerous manifestations went on through 1968. In 1969 the figure(s) appeared only a dozen times. There were a few appearances in 1970, and by 1971 they had
stopped altogether.

There were hundreds of thousands of witnesses, both Christian and Muslim, to the event.(Coincidentally near the start of the Egyptian and Israeli war of 1967) The duration of the phenomenon was extraordinary: It lasted almost three years.. The figure(s) was seen near or on the church for hours at a time, It was accompanied by bird-like flashes of light. There is overwhelming photographic and testimonial evidence in support of the phenomenon. And whereas in other countries where Mary's apparitions have been claimed the majority of the population is Roman Catholic, the visions in Zeitoun, Cairo took place in a predominantly Muslim country and the first witnesses were Muslims. Religious influence, therefore, cannot have accounted for what transpired.

This spectacular event is of enormous interest to parapsychology as an evidential case. There is ample reason to think that the apparition was seen by people numbering in the hundreds of thousands (Also seen live by millions on Egyptian TV for weeks) The impressive photographs taken of the figure(s) suggest an authentic phenomenon.

St. Mary's Church (Coptic Cathedral) was erected in 1925 as a result of a dream in which the Virgin Mary requested its construction (Similar to many other requests and commands by the Blessed Virgin at Guadeloupe, Fatima, Lourdes, etc just before the outbreak of a major war, revolution of social / cultural development or mass conversion) She was supposed to have appeared in a latter dream in which she promised to return to the church. One theory (Rogo, 1982) is that the appearances were thought-forms physically objectified by crowds who knew of her promise and of the fact that, after Herod commanded all male infants to be killed, Mary fled with Joseph and Jesus to Egypt and, specifically, to Zeitoun. (Part of Alexandria at the time) Whatever the merits of the theory, what happened at Cairo is such a startling paranormal phenomenon that it warrants the closest study.

Google: "Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Egypt" to see a free one hour documentary video on this

See also Saint Mary, page 257


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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Apparitions Of The Virgin Mary At Fatima, Portugal In 1917

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vegetarian Wisdom From The Hermit's Hut



  In the early part of the 2000's decade, the corporate press on TV and radio, reported on two different scientific studies into the vegetarian diet of monks in several monasteries world wide and their overall good health and life span etc; This scientifically based study found that the daily meatless vegetarian and vegan diet of the monks was far better than a meat or fish based diet ; And found that the monks lived longer and healthier than the lay population on the outside of the monastery walls.

 The vegetarian way is a great,ancient and healthy tradition which should be continued and promoted in all monasteries, convents, priories, abbeys, churches, homes, restraunts, free soup kitchens and free dinning halls including where the homeless, hungry and down trodden are taken care of; The vegetarian way is the proper  and humane way to treat your visitors and all homeless and hungry visitors to your kitchens, refectories, restraunts and dinning halls.

On the annual feast of St.Francis of Assisi, October 4, when the animals are blessed with holy water in many churches, including some Anglican and Luthern churches etc - bless them but don't eat them; That is what the Desert Fathers,  St. Francis and the early Franciscans would do.


If you think those monstrous, gas-guzzling SUV's are the biggest threat to the environment and the main cause of global warming? Think again. An ever greater threat to our planet and God's marvelous creation is our collective appetite for chicken wings, burgers, and sausages.

How can our appetite for animals cause so much environmental damage?

According to a groundbreaking 2006 United Nations report titled LIVESTOCK'S LONG SHADOW, the tens of billions of farmed animals (and the energy used to raise, feed, transport, slaughter them, and refrigerate the meat) is one of the main contributers, if not the main contributer, to almost every major environmental problem we see today; climate change, deforestation, land degradation, water and air pollution, water shortage and loss of biodiversity.



A) Lower blood preasure

B) lower cholesterol levels

C) Reduces type 2 diabetes

D) Prevents stroke conditions

E) Reverses atherosclerosis

F) Reduces heart disease risk by 50%

G) Reduces heart surgery rish by 80%

H) Prevents many forms of cancer

I) Stronger immune system

J) Increases life expectancy by up to 15 years

K) Higher IQ

L) Conserves up to 70% clear water

M) Saves 80% of the cleared Amazonian rainforest from animal grazing

N) A GREAT SOLUTION for world hunger

O) Frees up to 3.4 billion hectares of land

P) Frees up to 760 million tons of grain every year (half the worlds grain supply)

Q) Consumes one third fossil fuels of those used for meat production

R) Reduces pollution from untreated animal waste

S) Maintains cleaner air

T) Saves 4.5 tons of emmissions per US household per year

U) Stops 80% of global warming (The same global warming that the right-wing nuts and anti-environmentalists like the Tea Party, GOP,  Coast To Coast nightly Radio show on ABC & Alex Jones etc all deny exists so that BIG OIL and Wall Street can get off the hook and walk free-free to make big bucks and destroy the environment and the rest of human civilization in their greedy process of hogging up the worlds shrinking natural resources for themselves and their parasitic economic profit system.


* Swine flu

* Blue tongue disease

* E.coli

* Salmonella

* Bird flu

* Mad cow disease

* Pig's disease (PMWS)

* Listeriosis

* Shellfish poisoning

* Pre-eclampsia


* Over 17 million lives lost globally each year
* Cost of cardiovascular disease is at least US one trillion a year.

* Over one million new colon cancer patients diagnosed each year
* More than 600,000 colon cancer-related mortalities annually.
* In the U.S. alone,colon cancer treatment costs about US$6.5 billion.
* Millions of people are newly diagnosed with other meat-related cancers every year.

* 246 million people affected worldwide
* An estimated US $174 billion spent each year on treatment,

* Worldwide 1.6 billion adults are overweight with 400 million more who are obese
* Costs US$93 billion each year for medical expenses in the US alone.
* At least 2.6 million people die annually from problems related to being overweight or obese.

* Uses up to 70% of clear water
* Pollutes most of the water bodies
* Deforests the lungs of the Earth
* Uses up to 43% of the worlds cereal in order to feed the livestock daily
* Uses up to 85% of the world's soy supply
* Causes world hunger and wars (Most of the bomb makers, war mongers & baby breeders are also meat eaters-BIG time!)
* 80% cause of global warming


* Breast, prostrate and testicular cancer from hormones present in milk

* Listeria and Crohn's disease

* Hormones and saturated fat lead to osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes and heart disease

* Linked to higher incidences of multiple sclerosis

* Classified as a major allergen

* Lactose intolerance


1) The livestock sector now occupies 30% of the land surface of the planet, much of the land used to be  forest or rainforests that were clear-cut.

2) Animal farming is responsible for 65% of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions, a greenhouse gas 296 times more powerful than CO2'

3) Animal farming is responsible for 37% of human -caused methane emissions, a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than CO2'

4) In total, animal farming , including on Church and monastery properts, accounts for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, surpassing the entire global transportation sector, which accounts for 13.5% of total emissions.

HOW DOES EATING ANIMALS CAUSE GLOBAL WARMING? There are a number of factors. Here are a few:

A) MANURE: The tens of billions of farmed animals of the world produce massive amounts of manure, which emit greenhouse gasses such as nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide

B) DEFORESTATION: Forests are being destroyed to grow grain and soy to feed chickens, pigs and cows or to create grazing land for cattle. When the trees are killed, the CO2 they store is released into our environment.

C) COW BURPS: Ruminant animals such as cows and sheep, emit huge quantities of methane via burping and flatulence.

D) BURNING FOSSIL FUELS: The meat industry uses fossil fuels to heat and cool the buildings that house animals, to produce crops to feed the animals, and to transport, process and refrigerate meat. Cornell ecologist David Pimentel estimates that creating animal protein demands about eight times as much fossil fuel as creating a comparable amount of plant protein.

E) SYNTHETC FERTILIZER: The majority of corn and soy grown in the fed to farmed animals. Fossil fuels are used to create the synthetic fertiliizers that are used to grow the crops, and ths process emits a tremendous amount of CO2. The fertilizers themselves release the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.


Global warming could have devestating long-term consequences. As the National Resources Defense Council notes, if we don't do something soon to halt its progress, "Sea levels will rise, flooding coastal areas. Heat waves will be more frequent and more intense. Droughts and wildfires will occur more often. Disease-carrying mosquitoes will expand their range. And species will be pushed to extnction."

Many of these changes have already begun; think (of) Hurricane Katrina, the 2003 European heat wave that klled 52,000 people, and Australia's epic seven-year and counting drought.

Which prevents more global warming?
(  ) Driving a prius
( * ) Adopting a vegetarian diet



According to a 2006 study done by researchers at the University of Chicago, an American can reduce more greenhouse gas emissions by becoming vegan than by switching to a hybrid car.

A) So bke, walk, and take public transportation. use compact fluroescent light bulbs and energy efficient appliances. But, please don't neglect the need to eliminate animal products from your diet.

B) Visit your local monastery, convent, a restraunt or a free soup kitchen and ask them, if they haven't done so already, to transition to the organc vegan and vegetarian way, the way of PEACE and reconcilliation with all humanity the Earth and all life forms.

"The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributers to the MOST SERIOUS environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."   - The United Nations

This is ongoing Vegetarian Wisdom From The Hermit's Corner & Monastery Garments

Peace be with you!


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The Miracles At Fatima And The Compassionate Pope Who Wanted To Reveal Its Secret

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Christianity and Vegetarianism; Pursuing The Non-violence of Jesus by Fr. John Dear, S.J.


The notes in parenthesis below in this post are those of the bloger,

EXCERPTS FROM FATHER JOHN DEAR'S BOOK: Christianity & Vegetarianism; Pursuing The Non-violence of Jesus

My name is John Dear, and I am a Catholic priest, a peace activist, a writer and a vegetarian. I've traveled the world promoting peace and non-violence and served as the executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest and oldest interfaith peace organization in the US. I'd like to reflect with you about Christianity and vegetarianism.

When I look at the world today, I see a culture addicted to violence.(And to TV which is also loaded with violence and destructive propaganda) As I write, there are more than 30 wars being waged. There nare more than 1 billion people suffering from malnurishment and its effects. There are more than 2 billion people without access to clean water, bareley surviving in dire poverty. According to the United Nations, about 60,000 people, mostly women and children, die every single day from starvation and starvation related -diseases. Right here in the US. we see executions, rampant homelessness, and injustices of all kinds, including racism and sexism. And in the U.S. alone, we kill more than 9 billion land animals each year by cutting their throats, sometimes while they're still conscious. We also kill more than 15 billion sea animals, generally by suffocation, bodily decompression, or crushing, every single year.

I agree with Mahatma Gandhi, Dorthy Day of the Catholic Worker movement, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that the only way out of this culture of violence is through the ancient wisdom of non-violence. I remember what Dr. King said the night before he was assassinated: "The choice before us is no longer violence or non-violence; it's non-violence or non-existence," That's where we stand today, on the brink of a new culture of non-violence or the brink of nonexistence.
(Dr. King and his entire family were and still are vegetarian; In 1993, Coretta King and their family attornys, in an unprecedented 6 hours at the Justice Dept, presented Presendent Clinten and the US Attorney General Janet Reno documents that the CIA assassinated Dr. King and not James Earal Ray and demanded that Ray be exonorated retroactivly and that justice has not been done because the culprits are still on the loose)

Nonviolence begins with the insights that all life is sacred, that all human beings are children of the God of peace (Some evangelical extremests believe in a militaristic God of war) and that as God's children, we are under certain obligations. Of course, we should never hurt or kill another human being, wage war, build nuclear weapons, or sit idly by while millions of human beings starve to death each year. Nonvolennce invites us, also to reevaluate the way we treat animals in our society. While we resist violence, injustice, and war and while we practice nonviolence, seek peace, and struggle for justice for the poor, we are also invited to breal down the species barrier, extending our belief in Christian compassion to the animal kingdom by, among other things, adopting a vegetarian diet.

(Most of the canonized saints of the Eastern and Western Churches and all the monasteries and priories down through the ages have and for the most part still do practice a vegetarian diet)

As I look at the world and reflect on this urgent question of violence and non-violence, I turn as a Christian, to Jesus. Gandhi said that Jesus was the greatest practioner of nonviolence known in history. If we know anything about Jesus, it is that he (And all the early Christians in Jerusalem etc) rejected and resisted violence and practiced nonviolence. ....

Since 1982, I have been attempting to take seriously Jesus' call for nonviolence. I have organized demonstrations, been arrested for acts of civil disobedience, and taken every opportunity to speak out, in books and articles and retreats, from college auditoriums and inner city streets on pulpits across the country, about Christian nonviolence. I've also traveled into the war zones of the Middle East, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, Northern Ireland and Iraq to learn about and speak out against the injustices that we (The US military industrial complex) inflict on so many people..........

I was inspired by Gandhi to profess a vow of nonviolence, as he did, (As Gandhi led a popular national movement to free India from British colonialism) so that I could take this spiritual commitment seriously for the rest of my life. And in 1982, I became a vegetarian, I feel that Gandhi and his example have helped me to be a better follower of Jesus, to walk the way of nonviolence, and toward greater wholeness as a human being.


At about the time I was studying Gandhi, I read a powerful book by Frances Moore Lappe' called DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET. Lappe' argued that we could help end world hunger by redistributing our wealth and resources to the poorer people of the world, cutting back on our militarism, and becoming vegetarianism. She pointed out that more and more basic grains around the world, instead of going to local communities of malnourished people, are grown and given to animals who are used for their milk and eggs and latter slaughterred or who are raised only to be slaughtered for meat. In both instances, the amimal are consumed by the people of the developed "First" World and their few rich emissaries in the developing world, rather than by the starving masses.

Ten years ago, China was a net grain exporter, and it seemed certain that it would continue to export grain. But instead, as a direct result of increasing consumotion of animal products, primarily pigs, China is now one of the world's top grain importers. The practical effect on people is only beginning to be felt in China. According to groups like the World watch Institute, all developing countries that rely on animal agriculture will experience similar consequences and the resulting increase in starvation and misery as well.

It is profoundly disheartening to remember that during the famine in Ethiopia in the mid-1980's and during the famine in Somalia in the early 1990's those countries continued to export grains to Europe to feed its cows, pigs, and chickens so that First World people could eat meat. Likewise, while people suffer and die in Central and South America, the countries there ship their grains to the U.S. to feed our cows, pigs, and chickens so that we can satisfy our desire for animal flesh, milk, and eggs.

Francis Moore Lappe' argues that we should all work to eliminate hunger and protect the environment and that one important step we can each take is to become a vegetarian. To me, working to abolish hunger, war and violence is a basic moral and ethical duty for everyone. Furthermore, for me as a Christian, it is a basic religious and spiritual obligation-a commandment, required by God. Francis Moore Lappe' helped me to make the connection between justice, solidarity, and the life of nonviolence, and I quickly became a vegetarian. I hope that others will, too, and that we can all take another step toward a more nonviolent, more just world.


There are other great reasons for becomming a vegetarian, and I'd like to review a few of them, including the witness of the scriptures, a basic reverence and compassion toward God's creatures, responsible stewardship of the Earth, and respect for one's own health.

In God's initial and ideal world, represented in the book of Genesis by the Garden of Eden, there was no suffering, no exploitation, and no violence at all. People and animals were vegetarians, as we read in the first chapter of Genesis: "God said, 'See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the Earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food" (1:29). Immediately after creating this beautiful, nonviolent, non-exploitative world, God describes it as "very good." This is the only time in the narrative that God calls creation "very good" instead of merely "good"- and this immediately follows God's command with regard to vegetarianism.

But after the Fall, people waged war, held oneanother as slaves, ate meat, and committed every atrocity imaginable. After the flood, when the world's vegetation was destroyed, we are told, God allowed humans to eat meat. Scholors argue that within the context of the story, this was only a temporary permission, based on human violence and sinfulness: God gives us free will and allows us the freedom to reject God and God's way of nonviolence, but God tried to help us to become less violent by commanding people to observe God's laws. n the Mosaic legal system, then, there are more than 150 laws regarding meat-eating, but the vision of Eden is still the ideal and the goal. Indeed, Leviticus strictly prohibits the eating of anything with fat or blood, and many argue that the law of Moses actually forbids the eating of flesh entirely because it's impossible to get blood totally out of meat.

The best example of a vegetarian in the Bible is Daniel, the non-violent resiiter who refuses to defile himself by eating the kink's meat. He and three friends actually become much healthier than everyone else through their vegetartian diet. They also became 10 times smarter, and "God rewards them with knowledge and skll in all learning and wisdom." Throughout the marvelous stories that follow, we hear of someone who remains faithful to God, refuses to worship the emperor's false gods and unjust ways, and practices a steadfast nonviolence. And this marvelous story begins with divne approval of vegetarianism.

The book of the prophet Isaiah proclaims the vision of the peaceable kingdom, that new realm of God where everyone will beat their swords into plowshares, refuse to study war, enjoy their own wine and fig tree, and never fear again. Several passages condemn meat eating and foresee a day when people and animals will adopt a vegetarian diet, when "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid....They do no violence, no harm, on all my holy mountain" (Is. 11:6-9) Of course, God's covenant is always with all flesh." animal and human, and in the conclusion to Isaiah, God speaks of those who kill animals in the same way as those who murder people and heralds the dawn of a new day of peace.

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"In a violent, dark time, John Dear offers himself as an examplar of Christian life. Humbly and fittngly, by implication, he does so. And he offers a compelling argument that others can do likewise. Let all who read grow thoughtful, pondering the change of heart John urges. The suffering universe of humans and other creatures trembles and awaits." Fr. Daniel Berrgan, S.J. another great anti-war PEACE activist.


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