Monastic Heritage Center Open to the Public

Sunday, May 8, 2011 - 3:00pm
Category: Monastery News

May 6, 2011 was an important day in the life of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. After many months of construction and years of planning, the Monastic Heritage Center was unveiled at a special dinner honoring benefactors and friends who have helped make the Center a reality.

The centerpiece of the Monastic Heritage Center is the historic exhibits area, housed in the new Visitor Center (made possible by Mrs. Olga C. de Goizueta) and the Historic Barn. Visitors can view video presentations on the monastery and see special exhibits on the history of monasticism in the Visitor Center and, in the Historic Barn, can learn about the history of our own Monastery of the Holy Spirit. The Barn was the original home of the monks at Conyers, and has numerous exhibits about the daily lives of the men who have lived here and about the industries that have enabled them to sustain themselves through the years.

Other elements of the Monastic Heritage Center include the new Abbey Store with its extensive collection of books and monk-made food products (biscotti, fudge and fruitcake) and additional retail space for bonsai and other specialty items. Visitors can pause and enjoy the beauty of our bonsai collection in a special garden dedicated in memory of Mrs. Dorothy McClatchey. After viewing the exhibits, visitors may choose to have a light lunch in our new Café near the courtyard fountain.

A special memorial plaza features a beautiful bronze statue, Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom. The memorial plaza marks the beginning point of the Prayer Walk that will lead visitors from the Monastic Heritage Center past the Monastic Enclosure and into the lovely Abbey Church, which features some of the finest stained glass works of the monks of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.

The May 6 dinner marked this milestone in our history, and was attended by over 300 of our supporters and friends in the community. It commenced with a special blessing of the buildings by Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Russ Spencer (Fox 5 News) and featured speakers were Coach Vince Dooley, Javier Goizueta and Mike Jansen. The group enjoyed special presentations by the Barksdale Folkloric Dance Troupe and the University of Georgia Collegium Musical Ensemble and String Quartet.

Our Abbot, Fr. Francis Michael Stiteler offered thanks to the donors who have made the center possible and commented on our campaign progress thus far (we have raised $4 million+ toward our adjusted goal of $7 million). He told the group of the pivotal role the Center will play in helping to sustain the monastery in the future. During the course of his remarks he recognized Fr. Luke Kot, the only surviving monk of those who came to Rockdale County in 1944. The crowd recognized Fr. Luke and the other senior monks present with a rousing round of applause.

To show our appreciation and hospitality to our friends in the community and the public at large, we plan to have a Grand Open House. However because of the large anticipated gathering and the extreme hot temperatures this time of the year (July thru mid-September) we decided to postpone this event until the fall on October 1-3. Make plans to attend with your family. We are sure you will enjoy the exhibits and our beautiful monastery grounds. Monks and volunteers will be on hand to offer you a warm welcome. Meanwhile the Monastic Heritage Center is open to all and we look forward to welcoming you and your family.

Schedule -The Heritage Center is open Monday - Saturday 10:00AM to 5:00PM and on Sundays 12:00PM to 4:30PMGrand Open House

For additional information, please contact Br. Callistus at 678-964-2237 or by email at