The Story of Trappist Caskets and the Monks of New Melleray Abbey

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

This video explores 161 years of Catholic faith among the Trappist Monks of New Melleray Abbey, not far from Dubuque, Iowa. It details their journey from Ireland to Iowa, and shows how handcrafted wooden caskets have become an important ministry for them. The monks have become recognized for the handmade caskets and urns they craft in their shop at the monastery, often using wood that comes from their own forest. Every casket is blessed and prayed over by a monk, and each family member who is buried in a Trappist Casket is remembered with a mass, and a tree is planted in their honor in the forest.

Many funeral homes offer Trappist Caskets to the families they serve, and all funeral homes in the US will accept a Trappist Casket ordered directly from the Abbey. Brother Tobias Shanahan, who talks with many of the potential clients making phone inquiries, views his interaction with the families who call as an opportunity to pray for them in a time of need. "We're looking to make our living in a good way. As it turns out, we touch hundreds and thousands of people."

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