"The heart is the monk's turf. It is his metierà. For there is nothing more central to the task of being and becoming human than the full flourishing of the heart's yearning. And the monk is at the very center of bringing that to be, allowing it to stand forth in all its fullness," writes Michael Downey. He is Professor of Systematic Theology and Spirituality at Saint John's Seminary in Camarillo, California. In part one of Trappist, Downey writes about this Catholic order and the history of the Abbey of Our Lady of Mepkin outside Charleston, South Carolina, which recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.

In part two, Downey probes the monastic vocation as a geography of desire wherein men yearn to find traces of God in the scriptures, liturgical worship, prayer, manual labor, nature, and community life. Evocative photographs by Michael Mauney convey the rhythms of life in a monastery where humility, hospitality, solitude, and waiting are important spiritual practices. Trappist: Living in the Land of Desire is a tie-in with a public television documentary.

Read an excerpt on hospitality