Thousands flock to silence at Nelson County Abbey - News, Weather & Sports

Thousands flock to silence at Nelson County Abbey

The Abbey is known as a place of tranquility and solitude. (Source: WAVE 3 News) The Abbey is known as a place of tranquility and solitude. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

NELSON COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - It's a slice of Kentucky heaven that's been near New Haven since the mid 1800's. The scene is picturesque, with property covering more than two thousand acres, a number of small lakes and scenic walking paths. But if you come here, there are no cell phones, no computers, no television and for some, no talking. Not for a few hours or a day, but for a weekend, or five days straight.

If it sounds like torture, you won't hear that from the people who choose to do it at a retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Nelson County. The Abbey is known as a place of tranquility and solitude.

Those who come to get away from it all, truly do. You get a private room, a library, more than two thousand acres to explore and seven prayerful services of song from the monks starting at 3:15 a.m. Many people rarely talk during their stay. Father Carlos Rodriguez welcomes some five thousand retreatants each year.

"This is an oasis," Father Rodriguez said. "You know the purpose of an oasis is to replenish yourself, to satisfy your thirst and go back in the world. Then when you meet the world, you have Christ in you."

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The silence is truly golden for Steve Edelen of Louisville. He's gone on annual retreats at the Abbey of Gethsemani for 25 years.

"The good Lord gives you a peace you can't find anywhere else and as St Augustine says, our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee," Father Rodriguez said.

If you feel the need to talk, there's a separate cafeteria where retreatants can converse during meals. And monks are always willing to chat if someone feels the need. But Pastor Amanda Nash from Ohio just feels the need to listen and be still.

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"There's something about coming to a place where you're forced to stay silent," Nash said. "I think this place just forces you to slow down and reflect and I think look and hear from the Lord."

Don't think you have to be Catholic to come here. Father Rodriguez says more than half of those who come are from other denominations or maybe not even believers at all. He has even hosted two Baptist ministers. And when you leave the Abbey of Gethsemani, you can take something that will have everyone talking, the Abbey's world famous fudge. But most who leave here will say they take away something much more important, a closer connection to God.

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