Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Day on the Town part 1: The Monastery

For several years, a family at our church has taken our kids for a day to let us have a quiet day.  Several times, I have just rested at home either being really pregnant, or having a new baby.  But this time, neither were the case, so Adrian and I planned a day out.

I have wanted to visit a monastery in Conyers since I learned that they have a collection of bonsais.  Adrian and I drove down to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit stopping to pick up lunch on our way.  When we pulled into the parking lot, there was only one or two other cars in the parking lot.  We walked towards the visitor's center, saw some cafe tables, and decided to stop there to eat.  Adrian and I kept remarking on how quiet and peaceful it was!  It was so quiet and all you could hear were the birds singing and the airplanes overhead.  It was almost funny thinking of bringing the kids to such a place.
After we finished our lunch, we decided to start at the visitor's center.  We got to watch a short movie on how the monks came to Conyers and how they built their living quarters and their church.  It talked of the monks traditions and work.
After the movie, we saw the bonsai garden and took some time to look at the 8 or so trees.  Adrian's favorite was 103 year old boxwood.  I preferred a 45 year old Maple (I think).

 The first two looked like they needed a bit of trimming.

This one was my favorite.

Adrian's favorite.

 I liked the "forest" style bonsais, too.

The whole current collection.

We went through a small museum that was housed in the barn that the monks lived in when they first came to Georgia from Kentucky.  The museum was interesting because it showed how the monks originally lived and how they worked.  When they first built their living quarters, they built it in silence!  If I remember correctly, they said that it took 5 months.

When we finished at the museum, we walked around to the abby church.  The church is interesting because it is the largest church built completely out of concrete.  The pillars were all poured by hand and took over 100,000 wheel barrow loads!  The church is beautiful.  The white concrete contrasted sharply with the warm wood of the desk/benches that the monks use and the warm light at the front of the sanctuary.  Blue stain glass adorned all the lower side windows.  Purple, blue, and pink windows were higher on the walls.  At the back of the sanctuary near the entrance to the church was an unusual textured stain glass of blue, white, and red.  I loved all the stained glass.  The front of the sanctuary has a picture stain glass, but it wasn't as nice as all the others.

The area where the monks worship.

Even the ceiling was beautiful.  The white is poured concrete!

The lighting in the sanctuary was interesting with the coldness of the white concrete and the blue/purple light of the stain glass contrasted with the warm yellow light in the front.

I thought these stain glass windows are absolutely beautiful and great inspiration for quilts!

Interesting signs in the church.

The outside of the Church with the cloister attached.

This was a part of a monument.  I loved the way the bird is punched from the metal.  It is so simple and beautiful!

As we were leaving the monastery, we saw a sign for the cemetery.  They run a natural cemetery, and I was excited to see it!  We drove through the area, but all we saw was the office.  Neither Adrian nor I wanted to go in and ask about the burial grounds, so we just left.  I love the idea of natural burial, but I want there to be some kind of marker memorializing the people who are buried there.

After leaving the monastery, we headed North for a bit more adventure.  To be continued...

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