A couple years ago my family was invited to celebrate New Year’s Day with an attorney that my mother knew and his family. While I am not usually someone who likes to spend the holidays with people I don’t know, I ended up going out of curiosity since I heard that we would be joined by two monks. As it turns out, my mother’s friend lives next door to one of the only two arch abbeys in Indiana, and one of only 11 in the United States, St. Meinrad. By the end of dinner I had made friends with one of the monks, Father Anthony.
Two summers later I asked my friend to help me get into the abbey for the weekend to take pictures.
The experience was quite enjoyable and relaxing. The abbey itself has been photographed many times but I had not seen many of the residents of the abbey. This gave me the opportunity to do something different, along with giving me access to unique events. By focusing on the monks instead of the architecture I was able to travel to another church with Father Anthony and photograph him giving a sermon and a chance to see how the monks live their daily lives.
I’m hoping to get back to St. Meinrad next summer to do a more in depth project.
– Bobby Ellis