OT: Can I become a Cistercian even if I’m not a Christian?

Last night, thanks to the generosity of a friend I’ve made here, the husband of a colleague, I was able to drink a glass of Westvleteren 12 Trappist ale, the beer that is consistently rated by beer experts as the best beer in the world. He had one bottle of 12 and one bottle of 8, and we split each between the three of us.

Now that I’ve drunk the best, how will I cope with the rest? Because it’s not easy to get, this beer.

The friends have a hair-raising story of how they got the stuff into the United States in the first place — it’s only sold where it’s made, at the Cistercian abbey of Westvleteren in Flanders, which only makes 160,000 cases of this particular version annually (they make two other beers as well in similarly small quantities). You have to call and hope they have some left to sell you, and then you have to go there and get it. And then you have to smuggle it into the U.S. in your suitcases. And then you have have to wait for it to ripen and not drink it ahead of time. The friend told me that we were drinking the beer very young.

I didn’t think the beer was too young. I probably don’t have enough comparisons available to me to agree that it’s the best beer in the world — but it was a.maz.ing, this beer. I will remember last night for a long time.

I was looking at the abbey website. They look like typical Cistercians. It’s a way of life I’ve long envied, to which I feel attracted but also would confess that I would be personally ill-suited. I’m an introvert, but I’m quite talkative. And I think I’d eventually get bored. Although part of what you’re supposed to supersede in a cloister is the need for stimulation. Which is a leap I’d like to make.

Let’s get real. Female Cistercians don’t brew beer. I’m not even Christian, let alone Catholic. Would anyone believe I had a vocation?

And probably the monks don’t get to drink the beer.

~ by Servetus on February 26, 2012.

12 Responses to “OT: Can I become a Cistercian even if I’m not a Christian?”

  1. What?? The monks don’t get to drink the beer? Who is ‘tasting’ it then to make sure it’s suitably on its way to being the best?? 😉

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  2. I bet they do drink the beer!!!

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  3. Oh, catholics are notorious to enjoy life. We have Fasching, to make the fasting periods and confessions worth the while ;o)
    I am quite sure they taste and drink their own beer. After all, it is a ‘meal’ fit for fasting periods and has special dispensation from Rome ;o)

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  4. What?? You are “talkative??” (Falling about laughing.) Has nothing to do with being intro or extro, has it? The contemplative life. Simplicity. Time to think. No cell phones. (do telemarketers have the abbey #tel?) I think I would take fasching in Vienna. 😀

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  5. I just checked a bunch of female Cistercian websites. All the ones that give details specify people under the age of 39. Oh well.

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  6. Interestingly, my grandfather was ‘forced’ out of his studies towards the priesthood by his parents and made to marry. I guess their reasoning was: one son was already a priest, another son’s marriage only produced girls, so it was left to my grandfather to produce sons (I’m not sure if this was for inheritance reasons).

    *sigh* I still get quite upset (to the point of tears) when I think upon this because he was definitely a very pious man and much suited to the contemplative life. Oh the suffering that parents (of any generation) can bring!

    And what did they get for their troubles? One child – my mother. Gak! I hope this comment isn’t too much of a downer – your comments regarding the way of life of monks just reminded me of my grandfather.

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    • hard to know what to say. I’m glad you’re here. On the other hand I’m sorry your grandfather got pushed off of his intended path. I wish there weren’t so many things about life we didn’t understand.

      Although some people would say that is *why* we have beer.

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  7. Hi Serv,
    You’ll get a giggle at this one. I’ve had some left eye vision problems of late, and I briefly glanced at your post title in my email in box and thought “Serv is talking about water tanks?” Ha! Of course, I wasn’t far off. You are talking about liquids, and there are “tank”ards of ale involved. Ha!
    Cheers! Grati ;->

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  8. […] in a pinch. I’m no goody-two-shoes: as readers of this blog know, I love alcohol, especially beer. I love how it affects me. Occasionally I’m frightened by how much I love it. Why is my father […]

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  9. […] her husband, a professor of film with a specialization in cinematography. We bonded over beer, and I’ve learned a lot about Belgian varieties from FilmProf. We all went out for dosas — OMG India I love you! Thank you for sharing this […]

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