Trappist Monks and a handful of monastic guests walk together from Mepkin Abbey's midday chapel service for lunch at the refectory, this day a vegetarian pizza. photo/wade spees. 6/9/97
February, 2011: Monks make their way from noon prayers to the dining hall for lunch at Mepkin Abbey.
In August of 2006 the monks of Mepkin Abbey signed a conservation easement with Ducks Unlimited to protect the monastery from development.
The original home of Henry and Clare Boothe Luce. It was built in 1936. It was later torn down.
Clare Boothe Luce was a playwright, author, congresswoman and ambassador. She and her husband bought Mepkin Abbey to live there but she gave it to the Catholic Church not long after she converted to Catholicism in 1946.
April 2008: Local PETA members succeeded in pressuring Mepkin Abbey to shut down its egg farm, which it began in 1949. The monks now raise mushrooms.
While their primary source of income was selling eggs, they also operated a small dairy on the property.
Charleston merchant, legislator and slave trader Henry Laurens owned Mepkin and retired there in 1784. He was the first known person of European ancestry to be cremated in the United States.
The council ring at the center of Mepkin's Charleston 9 memorial includes nine cubes that serve as large benches. In the middle lies a circular, altar-like structure patterned after one of the windows in Mepkin Abbey's church. It is so subtle that it sometimes can't be discerned from the main road, especially when the grass is high. The memorial includes nine overcup oak trees, each of which has a small plaque nearby with the name of a fallen firefighter.
A creche is a representation of the infant Jesus in the manger, typically surrounded by the figures found in a nativity set. Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men, animals and shepherds are often included in the scenes. Visitors from around the country flock to Mepkin Abbey for an incredible display of unique, handmade nativity sets from around the world. Mepkin’s Abbey’s Creche Festival is a Lowcountry holiday tradition. The monks transform their conference center into a forest of trees and candles which serve as the backdrop for the Nativity sets.
Some of the monks take a vow of silence.
"We, the monks of Mepkin Abbey, are responding to God’s call to live in solitude and silence in and for the Church according to an ancient form of radical Christian discipleship focused on seeking and finding God in community where we “are of one heart and soul and everything is held in common” (Acts 4: 32-33). We live the Rule of Saint Benedict embodied in the Cistercian tradition, praising God in our prayer, our meditative reading of Scripture, our work, and our hospitality, obeying the call of the Holy Spirit to ceaseless prayer and sharing the sufferings of the present time until the Lord returns (Rm 8:18-23)
Father Benjamin Clark broadcasting from Mepkin Abbey on a homemade ham radio. His handle was WB40BZ
The Gate House in the 1960s.
Brother Stephen, prior of Mepkin Abbey, works in the reception center welcoming guests. Wearing an 'I Survived Hurricane Hugo' t-shirt, the wise-cracking 72 year-old WWII vetern says, 'I knew St. Benedict personally.' photo/wade spees. 6/19/97
Playing guitar, Brother Aelred serves as cantor for the Cistercian-Trappist's 28 monks and monastic guests lining the choirstalls during the 7 services each day in Mepkin Abbey's chapel. photo/wade spees. 6/19/97
Jesus the Good Shepherd holds a lamb in a statue outside the dining hall at Mepkin Abbey, as azaleas bloom in the background, a springtime reminder of resurrection for visitors. 3/30/99 FILE PHOTO BY MIC SMITH
Monks bow their heads during noontime prayers at Mepkin Abbey. 3/30/99 FILE PHOTO BY MIC SMITH
April, 5, 2001: Brother Jerome Wiencek, the 2nd Candlier, pulls an egg that does not pass the Candle test. Staff Photo by Brad Nettles.
May 16, 2001: Brother Paul Behr, 86, clutches his bible as her reads scripture to Father Benjamin Clark at the Mepkin Abbey infirmary. (Photo/Alan Hawes)
June 2001: Father Christian Aidan Carr, 86, says a prayer in the Mepkin Abbey church during the noon service. (Photo/Alan Hawes)