14 December 2008

The Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a community of cloistered Carmelite monks in Wyoming, is the only religious community in the world that still uses the Rite of the Holy Sepulcher, more commonly known as the Carmelite rite. The community's confessor and spiritual director, Fr. Vernon Clark, whose parish covers more territory than any other parish in America (6,000 square miles), also celebrates Mass with the monks--which makes him perhaps the only diocesan priest in existence who knows how to celebrate the Carmelite rite. This traditional contemplative community, whose Masses are in Latin accompanied by Gregorian chant, and whose plans include purchasing additional land to provide for the eremitical life, describes itself as a place "where joy and peace abound in a manly, agrarian way of life." What's more, it makes and sells fine coffee:
Before joining the Carmelites in Cody, Brother Michael Mary of the Trinity had worked in a commercial coffee shop in his native Minneapolis. And, as all the monks can testify, Brother Michael Mary knows his coffee.

"The shop he worked for trained him in what good coffee tastes like," Father Daniel [founder] said. "He's always had a sensitive ability to taste the difference between good and bad brews."

The monks struck on an idea that was both practical and appealing. They would start their own coffee business, selling beans on the Internt to customers around the world. They began doing their homework--buying a small home roaster, reading books about coffee and gradually laerning to brew a marketable product.

In July 2007, the monks officialy launched their coffee business. As America grabs the black stuff to wake itself up, the Wyoming monks hope they reach for a cup of Mystic Monk Coffee.

In fact, the monks themselves are part of America's growing coffee culture. Like cowboys on the open trial, these Wyoming monks greet each dawn with a song swelling in their throats and a pot of pick-me-up simmering on the range.

"Most of us drink a big mug of it in the morning," Father Daniel said. "It gives us a jump start to get going. Some of the brothers say it does help with prayers, too. It helps keep them awake. There's always a battle with sleep in the early morning hours of prayer. So coffee fits right in with our routine."
To buy some Mystic Monk brew yourself and support the monastery, go to this link.