Tenacious monks of Oklahoma

Sunday, April 13th 2008, 10:08 pm
By: News 9

By Christian Price, News9.com INsite Team

SHAWNEE, Okla. -- After 100 years, the monks of St. Gregory's Abbey remain focused on their mission.

"We're trying as best as we can to live as good as Christian lives as we can here on earth and try to bring heaven to earth, so to speak, which is a never-ending battle in a sense," said Br. Isidore Harden, the group's director of health care.

The monks come from different backgrounds, but now live as one community, striving to become closer to Christ at St. Gregory's Abbey in Shawnee.

"We were founded from France. Pierre-qui-Vire is our mother house," Harden said. "When monks came over here, we were the first foundation for many years, the first French foundation for many years."

Monks live a communal life.

"I don't own anything. There's nothing in my name. I own nothing," Harden said. "Everything I need I've got to ask from the abbot. The community supplies all my basic needs though. So we take as needed, but I work. I earn a living and I take the money I make and give it to the community. Then the abbot distributes to the community."  

They live as one and learn from each other.

"The senior monks are very important," Harden said. "The younger monks look up to the senior monks and the senior monks teach by example, how they live their life and how they care for themselves."

When a monk passes away, they are still considered a part of the community.

"We do have what we refer to as the martyrology, the deceased monks of the community," Harden said. "There is a short paragraph about his life and some of the things he did in his life. We read this at dinner the night before the anniversary of his death."

 The passing of a fellow monk is considered a time of celebration.

"When someone dies, no, that's glorious," Harden said. "He's passing on to our Lord. He's going to the greater life which is our goal, is to be with Christ in heaven."