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“A Gift From God”

The Abbey of Gethsemani
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Trappist
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 3 July 2014

One of Kentucky Best Kept Secrets. A holy place of prayer, relaxation. serenity, introspection, meditation and Spiritual Awakening. Have gone to the Abbey for many years, have taken family and friends and we all keep coming back to the beauty of the grounds and the serenity of the facility.

12  Thank j d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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41 - 45 of 79 reviews

Reviewed 17 March 2014

My sister makes retreats to the Abbey of Gethsemani, and she recommended it as a place to visit. In addition, I make frequent online orders for the bourbon fudge that is made by the monks, so this was further motivation for a visit. For these reasons, my wife and I decided to make a visit on March 13, 2014 after touring the Bourbon Trail. We walked the scenic grounds, and then visited the church. This was an experience in itself, particularly the balcony. We only saw a few monks, because they were on retreat. At the conclusion of our visit we stopped by the visitor's center and gift shop. The gift shop has a lot nice items for sale. We recommend the coffee mugs, which have a nice design. Of course, I can't do without the great tasting bourbon fudge, so I bought a few boxes.

11  Thank William S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2014

We visited last week. The atmosphere is peaceful. We bought the Kentucky Bourbon fudge. Wish I had purchased more than one box. Best fudge ever!

4  Thank ejphilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2014

I made a retreat November 11-15th, 2014. The solitude and time to reflect were wonderful.
There are religious services 7 times daily, starting at 3:15 am- to Compline @ 7:30 pm. I enjoyed daily services and was so appreciative of the brothers hospitality. Be prepared to eat light meals of vegetables, monk cheese and their fine bread. It is probably the most healthy diet for most persons. I would strongly endorse a trip to Trappist Kentucky for either a weekend or week long retreat!

12  Thank Keith V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2013

It all depends on what you want out of an experience. I had been reading the works of Thomas Merton, OCSO for many years and decided to visit his home here. The monastery was the first of its kind in the USA, established in 1848-51 and over the years has given birth to several others, both monks and nuns, here in this country. Close by Bardstown, KY, the 2000 or so acres are farmed by the monks, who sell their wares in a large gift shop/bookstore near the entrance.

For those unaccustomed to religious venues, this is first and foremost a church, Roman Catholic in dogma and doctrine, and thus certain rules need to be kept in mind. Modesty in dress, as little speaking as possible and respect for the surroundings are paramount in keeping such places open to visitors. Retreats are welcomed and encouraged. Those seking such enlightenment should review the Abbey's website - (http://www.monks.org/) - contact the retreat master through the website. Meals are provided, and donations are encouraged.

For a truly spiritual experience, Gethsemani is the locus of many, if not all things pastoral. Walking the grounds may a favorite pastime for many, tourists included. In fact, for a place meant to be cloaked in silence and reflection, the Abbey seems to be almost always buzzing with foot traffic. There are areas of silence, such as the church, the library and certain areas of the grounds, including the monks' cemetery. Merton's grace is always easily discerned by the presence of flowers or other ornamentation. His works are available in the gift shop.

As mentioned, three meals are provided daily for registered guests. Monks and guests eat the same meals, and though the former eat not meat, guests do enjoy some meat offerings during the week. Special dietary needs cannot be met, unfortunately. There is a minimum age of 18 to enjoy a retreat, or 16 if a a parent is along.

The monks are of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance - OCSO - going back about 1,500 years to its founder, Saint Benedict. They chant the divine office seven times daily, starting in the wee hours of morning. Mass is celebrated daily and the public is invited to attend all rituals. Photography is allowed, but flash is not.

As always, call ahead for scheduling and special events. I arrived there one rainy, cold day in the midst of a funeral and had to wait a few hours to check in. Roman Catholic Holy Days may be unknown to non-Catholics, such as All Saints day, etc., so again, always best to call ahead.

The monastery is located among the rolling hills and greenery of the country. Make sure your car is gassed up and you have eaten before arrival, as there is no place to 'grab a bite', unless you feel like snacking on cheese and fudge from the gift shop.

18  Thank Abie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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