By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Monastery to hold open house celebration Oct. 1

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers will host a free open house event on Saturday, Oct. 1, to celebrate the new Monastic Heritage Center, a museum showcasing the history of the monastery and the Cistercian Order. The 17,000-square-foot museum incorporates both new and renovated monastery structures and features videos, interactive displays and historical exhibits designed to educate and inspire visitors.

The public is invited to tour the museum and monastery grounds including the Abbey Church, Bonsai Garden and Prayer Walk. The Garden Café and Abbey Gift Shop, the largest Christian bookstore in the state of Georgia, are also open to the public. The day's events will culminate with a 90-minute concert performance by the Atlanta Sacred Chorale in the Abbey Church. Eric Nelson and the Chorale singers will present a special 90-minute preview of their 2011-12 Season Premiere Concert.

Visitors may tour the public areas of the monastery, and special activities for children will include hay rides and a petting zoo. A marketplace will house booths with vendors of abbeystore products, and specialty items made at the Monastery including fruitcake, fudge and biscotti will be available for sampling and purchase. There will also be book signings by authors including the published monk-writers. Information about the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area and other attractions in Conyers and presentations about the Honey Creek Woodlands, Georgia's first "green," conservation cemetery will also be available. Food and refreshments will be on hand.

General admission to the event is free and festivities begin at 10 a.m. Tickets to the concert, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the Abbey Church, are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. A portion of the proceeds will support the monastery's Food Bank outreach serving the poor of the surrounding area. For more information, visit

The monastery launched its first-ever capital campaign, a Season of Renewal, to fund the Monastic Heritage Center as a part of a master plan to attract more visitors, paving the way for long-term sustainability. To date, $5.7 million has been raised toward the $7 million goal, including an anonymous donation of $1.5 million received this summer.

"The Monastery of the Holy Spirit has been blessed and humbled by the support of our many faithful friends. With this remarkable act of generosity, we have only $1.3 million yet to raise to complete our campaign and realize our vision for renewal," said Father Francis Michael Stiteler, Abbot.

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit is a Roman Catholic contemplative religious community belonging to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, more commonly known as Trappists. The community was founded in 1944 by 21 monks and now more than 40 monks spanning several generations live, work and pray together on the 2,300-acre property. More than 70,000 people visit the monastery annually. To learn more about the monastery, the event and the campaign, please visit