Monastery of the Holy Spirit Soothes the Soul

Covering 1000 acres, the Monastery of the Holy Spirit is one of the largest privately owned greenspaces and is part of sprawling Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, located just outside of Atlanta.

Breath in the tranquility of this oasis that starts with the quiet serenity of the 40 contemplative monks who make their home in the monastery, and then extends to the woods, paths, lakes.

The best place to start your visit is at the Monastic Museum and the 20-minute video that explains the order, their origin and how they literally built the community from the ground up. Inside the museum exhibits depict their history and their daily life. This is an order of working monks and one of their endeavors is their Bonsai Marketplace.

These tiny trees have been lovingly maintained by the Cistercian monks who have been crafting classical bonsai for more than 35 years. They also sell everything needed to grow the trees. It is open from 10 AM to 5 PM on Monday through Saturday.

Stop by the gift shop and find an enticing array of foods made by the monks, including their famous and quite delicious biscotti.

Before you leave, see the concrete abbey church carefully built over the course of 15 years. There are seven prayer services beginning at 4 AM with the last one at 7:30 PM. The church is austere but quite beautiful and visitors are welcomed.

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Neala McCarten

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