Seeking God: The Way of the Monk (2007)
This one-hour documentary is obviously dated, but I was excited to watch it for several reasons. There's been some renewed interest in monasticism in our own day, including the so-called "new monasticism." The ways of silence, solitude, and simplicity lived in community remain powerfully attractive in our own distracted day, as attested, for example, by the "Nuns and Nones" movement that has spread to different parts of the country. In addition, in 2004 I took a personal retreat at Monastery of Christ in the Desert, which is the focus of this film, so I was interested to revisit that place by way of this movie. And I will also admit it — this movie was free with our Amazon Prime membership. The director-producer Diane Marron spent four years filming the Benedictine monks at MCD, which is in Abiquiú (famous for one of the homes of the artist Georgia O'Keeffe from 1929 to 1984), about 53 miles north of Santa Fe. The movie features a half dozen monks who tell how and why they became monks (including two postulants), their struggles and joys, and their daily rituals of work and worship. For more on Monastery of Christ in the Desert, see their website: https://christdesert.org/. And for further explorations of monasticism, see our JWJ reviews of the two movies, Of Gods and Men (2005) and Into Great Silence (2005) about the remote and reclusive Monastery Grand Chartreuse; and then the books by Patrick Fermor (1915–2011), A Time to Keep Silence, and Greg Peters,The Story of Monasticism: Retrieving an Ancient Tradition for Contemporary Spirituality(2015).
Dan Clendenin: email@example.com