1. Religion & Spirituality
Mary Fairchild

TLC Ventures into Unexplored Territory with The Monastery

By October 20, 2006

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TLC is about to launch a new mini-series premiering Sunday, October 22, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). The Monastery is a reality show about five men, each in the midst of a personal crisis. In an unprecedented experiment, the men have agreed to enter the monastic life at Christ in the Desert Benedictine Monastery for 40 days and 40 nights. They will embark on a spiritual journey led by 30 devoted monks. Never before have outsiders entered their sanctuary. The question posed before each episode is, "Who will change the most, the men or the monks?"

The participants will each leave behind families and jobs in an effort to get their lives back on track:
  • Alex is a 23-year-old Iraq war veteran who lost a leg in combat. Of all the guys, he struggles the most in the isolated silence of the dessert monastery.
  • Jon is a 29-year-old paramedic and fireman who has lost his faith to cynicism while dealing with so much suffering on a daily basis.
  • Will is a 35-year-old ex-con who lost his gang-member brother in a police shooting. After spending 10 years in prison for cocaine trafficking, he now spends all of his energy working with youth, trying to prevent them from choosing a life of crime.
  • Warren is a 23-year-old ex-Satanist, turned devote Episcopalian Christian. After a dramatic calling from God, he now feels led to enter the priesthood.
  • Tom is a 46-year-old recovering alcoholic who lost almost everything, including a successful Hollywood career as a comedy writer. He nearly died in drunken car wreck and now feels his only hope is to find healing through a relationship with God.
Each man is paired with a monk who will mentor him through the process of dealing with inner struggles and understanding the monastic traditions. They have each agreed to fully enter into the ancient disciplines of prayer, worship, obedience, humility, silence, and surrender. They are forced to confront their private demons in stillness and solitude. Each man experiences a profoundly different journey, and at least one of them remains unchanged by the experience.

Are you intrigued? I was. If you've never known what the life of a monk is like, this show will give you an uncommon and unobstructed view of their day to day reality. It will also offer a tender glimpse into their humanity and the motivation behind their devotion to God. You will even visit the home a genuine Benedictine hermit.

The Benedictine tradition has remained unchanged for 1500 years. The Monastery extends a rare invitation to learn first-hand their rules, rituals and routines. Perhaps you too will be changed on the journey?

Image Courtesy © TLC
October 20, 2006 at 11:31 am
(1) Karen says:

I spent five days in a Benedictine cloistered abbey for women 20 years ago and it changed the way I view work and probably the trajectory of my life. I went there with the intent of hearing Gregorian chant sung in Latin and there was plenty of that, too, but the most important thing was the silence and the chance to really think. It was an experience I will always value.


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