Launching Cloister Seminars.org with a tale from the monastery
When I first visited St Johns Abbey with Chuck (we had just begun dating) I was shocked. What did they do to that cloister? "That is not a cloister," I complained. "It is a bunch of concrete."
Well, I was biased. Coming from Germany where Baroque cloisters sit nestled in lush countryside I was expecting the same sight in Minnesota. I had to learn my lesson.
Cloisters always have been modern places. They mirrored the architecture of their time but also pushed its limits. They not only used but developed new methods and techniques, be it in printing, medicinal care and gardens or the art of beer brewing. Following this thought it was just natural that the monks up at St John's Abbey let Marcel Breuer build their Abbey church.
Having grown up with concrete surrounding me back in East Germany (but that is another story...) it took me a while to feel relaxed with all the concrete around me. Eventually I did find the solitude and beauty of a monastic place even at this church of concrete. Now, when we drive up to St John's Abbey, what has become our spiritual home, we see the huge concrete bell tower from far away and my heart starts to be uplifted already. The power of conditioning, the psychologist says (and we always have two of them in the car wherever we drive).
This story comes to mind introducing you to our Cloister Seminars program via this website. We live in a digital age and now the digital tools can come to our aid to do what has been done through the ages: inviting people to a place of quiet where they can slow down from their daily busyness and breathe new life again. So here is www.CloisterSeminars.org hoping to do exactly this. We welcome you on this journey!
PS: To read more about Marcel Breuer's work at St Johns Abbey click on the image above..