The Builders

"Georgia's Most Remarkable Concrete Building"

That is the caption of a recently published article in The Georgia Contractor Magazine and in a special 50-year anniversary publication by the ACEC, "The History of Engineering in Georgia."

A fitting tribute to a magnificent monastic building but most especially to the "builders" - a group of young monks who 63 years ago began this hard labor of love building a community and this "place" which is now our present home. They were the first generation of Trappist monks in Conyers who through their labors excelled as true "lovers of the place and of the brethren," a description coined by the Cistercian
Forefathers of the 11th century.

The men who built this place came to the monastery seeking to live a life conducive to prayer and contemplation in seeking God. Twenty of these monks came from Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky to found this new monastery, in rural Georgia. They were soon joined by the first group of entrants to the 'new' monastery all of whom collectively are the first generation of Conyers monks and the builders of this concrete monastery with its Norman Gothic Church. They came from all parts of the country. Some came from farms, some right out of college, others had just returned from a war in Europe, all in the prime of their youthful vigor. They have the distinction of having built the only monastery built by its monks.

Many people now come to visit this place drawn by the contemplative silence and beauty which speaks for itself. They capture the reflective nature of a building style that emphasizes a vertical reach upwards that suggests an aspiration to Heaven. They see the use of the large stained-glass windows that allow light to enter, transforming the blazing Georgia sun into rays of beautiful ethereal colors of glowing hues. They hear of the stain glass artist monk who learned the architectural use of light in this Gothic Church that visually embodies the significance of light in the spiritual life. When our visitors hear of those early monks and their joyful labors, they see beyond the beauty into the hearts of those devoted men. They, too, gain a deeper appreciation of this sanctuary - a place of communing with God.