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Oklahoma monks' Spartan life is Christian “witness to the world”

Monks at Clear Creek Abbey in Hulbert, Oklahoma, view their simple monastic life as a way to live out their faith as witnesses to the importance of a life focused on the Lord.
by Carla Hinton Modified: March 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm •  Published: March 31, 2013

Anderson said unlike some monasteries, like St. Gregory's in Shawnee, the monks at Clear Creek do not teach university classes or serve as parish priests. Instead, he said their focus is prayer and the basic upkeep of the monastery.

He said eventually, they hope to house about 60 monks when the monastery complex, which is about one-third complete, is finished.

Oklahoma welcome

Anderson said Clear Creek was founded in Hulbert because of the welcoming attitude of the Most Rev. Edward Slattery, bishop of the Tulsa Diocese. Anderson said leaders from the French monastery visited several sites in places like Oregon, California and Tennessee, but Slattery's enthusiastic invitation won out.

Anderson said if an American site had not been found, the American monks in his group had agreed that they would stay in France.

Recently, the former Marine who grew up in Kansas, said he always knew that he would find his way back to the Midwest.

He said it is in the serenity of the abbey's property, along with the prayers and Gregorian chants offered by the monks, that the joys of the monastic life come sharply into focus.

“It's kind of like when you see someone praying with their hands together and their fingers pointing to heaven,” Anderson said.

“The monks' life, people say they don't get married, they're renouncing really important parts of life for God, so that says God must be real because no one would do that just for the fun of it or just to pretend. We give an example that sort of speaks about God. Whether they understand Latin or not, people can still see what the monks are doing. It's just a witness to the existence of God.”