Outside the city, the monks of Mt St Bernard Abbey, a community of
25 men, more than half of them over 80 years old, are opening the
first Trappist brewery in the UK. For their historic, counter
cultural lifestyle to survive, the venture must succeed. As the
monks reflect on spirituality, ageing and the end of life, the
number of burials in the Abbey graveyard continue to grow.
Director Nick Hamer spent a year with the monks, gaining
privileged access to document their hidden lives. They have turned
their backs on the material, consumer society, to focus instead on
contemplative spirituality, and to maintain an age-old religious
Life and death in a monastery.
An absorbing documentary about a cloistered community, men who
have given up everything in pursuit of an ideal.
So what does it mean to live a spiritual life? There’s a tendency
in our culture to imagine it as a journey of acquisition, that we
add to ourselves: virtues, peace, knowledge, experience... But for
the monks the spiritual life is actually a shedding, a stripping
away. They surrender their whole lives, their very will to their
brethren, and ultimately leave this world with no possessions or
family, they’re not even buried in a coffin, simply wrapped in
their robe and placed in a shallow grave.
Outside the city encapsulates the fragility of life and the
impermanence of everything, but at the same time the inescapable
prevalence of hope. Death and life are two sides of the same coin,
the place of decline is the seedbed for growth, restoration and
renewal come from decay.
If you’re interested in deeper questions about the human
experience, if you want to know what it means to give up
everything in search of something, then you’ll love Outside the