In 1849, Trappist monks from Ireland set out on a journey to America‘s heartland and embraced the rolling prairie of Iowa, where they founded and built our monastery, New Melleray Abbey.
Today, the Trappist monks, together with their hired lay-artisans, bring old world craftsmanship and a sense of sanctity to fine wooden caskets and coffins, available to families everywhere in their time of need.
We often donate child caskets to families who can use assistance in their time of need. If you are looking for information on our Child Casket Fund or would like to donate to our Child Casket Fund, please call us at 866-274-6398.
A Work of Prayer
In the cool silence of the morning, the darkness slowly gives way to the soft light of the morning sun, casting its warmth onto the stone walls and floors. The clang of the bell tower reverberates throughout the grounds, the organ sings its praises as we lift our voices to God, and our prayer life flows into our work life.
A simple casket prayerfully made by monks
The Trappist philosophy calls for us to labor quietly with our hands in support of our life of simplicity, as we strive to observe the call to “pray without ceasing.” We‘ve found that many people seem to connect with the simple and honest way we deal with death and burial. Working intimately with the wood, crafting these vessels for each unique child of God who will be buried in them, we feel that casket-making is a natural extension of our sacred work. We are able to live by the work of our own hands—rather than living on donations—while still being able to serve others through what we believe is a work of mercy. We are also honored to have lay-artisans who help us in our sacred work.
As Cistercians, we follow the ancient monastic Rule of St. Benedict. Our life is one of contemplative prayer, community liturgy, and manual labor.