They say in life that only two things are certain – death and taxes.
And, when the time comes to shuffle off this mortal coil, what would be a more fitting tribute to a woodworker than to be laid to rest in a hand-built wooden casket?
The monks at the New Melleray Abbey in Poesta, Iowa have set their hands – and prayerful attention – to the crafting of these final resting places. Built from wood harvested from their carefully-managed forest, each casket is built with strict attention to detail in a spiritual atmosphere.
From the most basic, unadorned pine casket (the one that the monks lay their brethren to rest in) to more ornate offerings in oak and walnut with raised panels, there is a wide selection of items to choose from. Cremation urns and children’s caskets are also offered with prayerful respect.
As Cistercians, the order follows the ancient monastic Rule of St. Benedict. Consistent with that rule, their vocation is expressed in a life of contemplative prayer, community liturgy, and manual labor.
Even though death is not a pleasant topic, a visit to the site provides a peaceful view of the work these spiritually dedicated men perform.