Frank's Reviews > An Infinity of Little Hours: Five Young Men and Their Trial of Faith in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order

An Infinity of Little Hours by Nancy Klein Maguire
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Mar 01, 09

Read in March, 2009

This is a really great book. This is one that will probably go the way of the classics. It is about 5 young men who enter the most austere of the monastic orders in 1960/1 and their trial of faith for the next five years. It offers an insight into the way of life in this very unusual order that had not changed for 900 years when these four entered. And it leaves a part of them and the monestary to rattle around one's head long after you finish reading it.
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message 1: by Kelli (new)

Kelli What do you mean by rattle around in the head? Just out of curiosity, what is monastic life like?


Frank You really have to read the book to get the details. Most monestaries are pretty modern with showers and each have a room called a cell but is much like a motel room. They have certain prayers they say in common and some in private. They have work at set times etc. But this group of which the book is writen had not changed since the year 1040. So they had no heat other than a little wood stove. They were really hermits and so didn't have the social/group life the other monestaries have. They seldom spoke. They had no communication with the outside world. They wore a hair shirt. They only had one meal a day and that was not much. They had a shower once every two weeks. In many cases novices would crack under the pressure of such a solitary and austere life. It certainly is not for most. The also got up at 2am for prayers so their sleep was always broken. And yet this small group would not change for anything. They still use lanterns. Make shoes out of old tires. Now I love the monastic life but I couldn't have lasted two hours there; nor would I want to!!!! Their whole purpose was to devote everything to moving closer to God. With nothing to distract them they gave all to God. They had not contact with anyone although I think they did get letters from home four times a year. Yet compare that to a monastery in New Mexico where the monks tried to served their local comunity by running an ambulance service for the area. If you want to take a look at a monestary close up have Scott take you up to Huntsville in the Ogden valley and visit the Trappist monestary there. They have a beautiful farm up there. But anyways this one group the book was about is very different (whether right or wrong I'm not judging) and the effort they put in to being alone with God was awesome. Three of the five didn't make final vows and left after 5 years. Two did make final vows but one became paralized and had to leave. The one that did go one actually ended up as prior and put in hot water and showers etc. And I think they kicked him out!!!!! It was a great read to understand or at least share in what some people do for God.


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