Janelle Visser, from Canada, visited us and wrote a brief article about her stay. Janelle is an adventure tourism guide.

Last Thursday I put my phone on airplane mode and set my life on monastery mode.

Road to Kopua monastery

I spent four nights – three full days – at a Benedictine monastery situated on a dairy farm in the hills above Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

Kopua Monastery

I settled quite easily into monastery life, attending the many services each day led by the monks (except the 4am vigil because… 4am). I joined the small handful of staff and other guests for two daily meals, and asides from meals and services, most of my time was spent in peaceful silent solitude: reading, walking, reflecting, meditating, praying, writing, and greeting the cows and the sun.

Watching sunrise with the cows

The time passed and I passed the time in the best of ways, until Monday morning came and my ride whisked me away too quickly.

Leaving the monastery

On the one hand it went by so fast,

but on the other hand it felt like forever,

in a good way.

I feel as though I’ve touched a piece of eternity.

Monastery sunrise on my last morning there

“May all who come here, weighted down by the problems of humanity, leave giving thanks for the wonder of human life.” – Prayer on the Kopua Monastery’s guest house wall