DVD - 60 Minutes
This insightful, hour-long documentary explores life at the Abbey of Gethsemani, one of the most well-known monasteries in the world. While much of Gethsemani's acclaim comes from being the monastic home of the renowned spiritual master Thomas Merton, the filmmaker reveals there is much more to the rural Kentucky monastery than the legacy of one remarkable man.
Granted unprecedented access behind Abbey walls the filmmaker spent almost two years documenting life at Gethsemani. The goal was to capture the essence of the monastic life, as Merton lived it, and as it is lived today by his Trappist brothers. In considering the monastic lifestyle the program poses several questions. What is the call of Gethsemani, not only to its monks, but for the thousands of visitors that come to the monastery every year? Does the monastic lifestyle and the values that support it have any relevance in todays world? Can a contemplative approach to life have meaning in a world where activism is held up as the ideal?
This program showcases the beauty and serenity of Gethsemani while examining the struggles that go on underneath. It is a fascinating look inside a rarely seen world.
“Morgan Atkinson's film captures beautifully the rhythms of monastic life at the Cistercian Abbey of Gethsemani. Weaving together individual interviews with extensive footage of the monks at work and at prayer, Gethsemani explores with respect, insight and appealing touches of humor both the unique vocation and the essential humanity of these contemporary representatives of an ancient, still vital tradition.”
-Dr. Patrick F. O’Connell, editor of Merton Seasonal,
Thomas Merton Encyclopedia
"Morgan Atkinson's film of Gethsemani is a journey to a foreign place hidden in the heart of Kentucky, but a place with a message our world is crying out to hear. It is an extraordinary film about an extraordinary place."
-Dr. Paul Pearson, Director, Thomas Merton Center