Brother ClementMepkin Abbey

“I wanted a simple, peaceful, meaningful life that was pleasing to God.”

The first time it was suggested to me that I consider the monastic life was in the sixth grade. As our class in Saint Anne’s School in San Francisco returned from participating in Mass as we did each week, all my classmates were talking and laughing with each other. I was walking silently, probably reflecting on the gospel reading or the homily I had just heard. One of the girls in my class came up to me and said: “Oh why don’t you just be a monk.” At the time, I took it as an insult. I didn’t want to appear monkish. As time went on, I just put the comment in the back of my mind.

Years later, when I was in my twenties, my parents retired. I moved with them to Cheyenne, Wyoming. We would spend almost 30 years inBr. Clement, novice monk at Mepkin Abbey, lights a candle in the Abbey Church Cheyenne. During that time I thought of what I wanted my life to look like in the future. I knew that the manual labor jobs I was working were not the “real me”. I wanted a simple, peaceful, meaningful life that was pleasing to God. I had heard a psychologist on television say that the four basic human emotional needs were: acceptance, identity, security, and purpose. I had those things in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and in my relationship with my parents.

I read some books from the library on monastic life, including ‘Trappist: Living in the Land of Desire’  by Michael Downey. I also watched several documentaries, including one on Mepkin Abbey. Decided that after my parents passed away, I would be a monk. The thought of being a monk brought me a great deal of inner peace.

Several years passed and my parents health began to decline. For a decade, I was their caregiver. After they passed, I visited Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina. . While I had written to several monasteries, I felt drawn to Mepkin Abbey from what I had learned of them through the book and the documentary.
Three years later, I became a novice, taking the name, Brother Clement. God willing, this is just the beginning of my monastic journey.

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