Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By (CNA/EWTN News)

2/28/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

A spiritual focus on generous service and community is the key to success for the Trappist monks, not only in their business ventures but in all of their pursuits, said a businessman closely acquainted with the order.

Trappist Monks combine business acumen with spiritual devotion to provide superior workmanship and value to clients.

Trappist Monks combine business acumen with spiritual devotion to provide superior workmanship and value to clients.


By (CNA/EWTN News)

Catholic Online (

2/28/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Vocations

WASHINGTON D.C., February 26 (CNA/EWTN News) - Trappist monks build a culture of "service and selflessness" in their monasteries, which explains "why the monks are so successful not just in their business practices but in everything that they do," said August Turak at a recent address to young professionals at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C.

"There's no such thing for the monks as balancing your personal life and your spiritual life: it's all one," he explained.

Turak is a businessman who has worked for MTV, software companies, and various other corporations. He is also successful writer, contributing to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and, among other publications, as well as winning the Templeton Foundation's Power of Purpose essay contest.

He has also been a frequent visitor at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina for more than 17 years, and credits his time living and working at the abbey for much of his professional success.

The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly known as Trappists, is a branch of Cistercian monks who follow the Rule of St. Benedict strictly. Located throughout the world, monasteries typically support themselves by producing and selling products including bread, chocolate and cheese, as well as coffins and other items. Trappist beer is particularly famous and admired by connoisseurs across the globe.

Turak explained that the core of the monastery life focuses both on an intense prayer life and a focused work life. "For a Trappist monk, prayer and work are indistinguishable," he said, pointing to the monastic motto of "ora et labora"- a command to pray and work.

"They're always praying; they're always working," he continued, and the two practices are very much related. "Prayer is work - it's hard work to pray" and "work is prayer."

This focus teaches the monks not "to make success happen but how to let success happen" by cultivating an atmosphere centered on service and selflessness that transforms the person.

Within the "self-supporting" monasteries, the monks focus not only on how to "make their daily bread" and support themselves through production and trade, but also on creating a community.

"The monastery is built on community," Turak said, explaining that communal encouragement and teamwork within monastery walls "buoys everyone up" and creates a culture of virtue and work.

"Everything is about putting someone else first," he added, and this culture is very much attuned to quality that springs from service.

"The monks are unbelievably famous for the quality of their stuff," he noted, pointing to world-renowned Trappist beers, breads, and other products. This quality arises, he said, because the monks are "fanatically focused on serving."

This focus carries over to quality in the secular world as well, he continued, suggesting that the best businesses are focused on serving the customers' needs rather than on profit, promotion or advancement for their own sake.

Paradoxically, he observed, "it is in your own self-interest to forget your self-interest."

This dedication to radical service, rooted in a prayer life, is transformative. Both the human person and his work will thrive through the cultivation of passion, Turak explained, because people have a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves.

"What you really need is a mission," he stressed, commenting that the Trappists' mission of selfless service to God and others is what makes them so inspirational.

However, this transformation and resultant passion and excellence is hard work. "It's easy to say, it's really hard to do. The monks spend their whole lives working toward it."

The continued practice of striving toward one's mission, Turak said, emphasizes teachings from ancient Greek philosophers that "we are what we repeatedly do" and that "excellence is not a choice, it's a habit."

For the Trappists, he said, the habit of excellence ties both work and spiritual success together.

"The monks are not successful despite the fact that they have the highest ethical standards but because they do."

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.


More Vocations

'I hope to help satiate Christ's thirst...' Help seminarians and aspirants pursue their vocations Watch

Image of Help someone answer their calling.

By Kevin J. Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

Personal and student debt can slow down or prevent prospective seminarians and aspirants to religious orders from pursuing their vocations, but one organization with national scope aims to change that. St. Paul, MN (CNA/EWTN News) - "The Laboure Society's work is ... continue reading

Mark Wahlberg loves priests and prays for vocations! Watch

Image of


Movie star, Mark Wahlberg has released a video letting the public know how important the priesthood is to him and his life and he will be praying for vocations. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It's no secret that Mark Wahlberg is a devout Catholic and loves his ... continue reading

'Listen to him': Young postulant urges others to heed God's calling Watch

Image of Will YOU answer the call?

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Many things happen during World Youth Day. Young people from all over the world travel to meet the Pope, they meet peers with whom they can share their faith, many have personal conversions and many even discover their vocations. Krakow, Poland (CNA/EWTN News) - In ... continue reading

A Look Inside: 'The World's Happiest Nuns' Watch

Image of

By Diego Lopez Marina (CNA/EWTN News)

Watch them sing, and you might be convinced of it. Cali, Colombia (CNA/EWTN News) - The Eucharistic Communicators of the Heavenly Father are a community of nuns from Colombia who have a great passion for music and an intense desire to announce God through the gifts he ... continue reading

Nun numbers on the rise - Young women flock to the church Watch

Image of More young women have joined the religious life (fiathouse).

By (CNA/EWTN News)

There is a young and vital presence of religious sisters, novices and postulants in U.S. Catholic life, a new survey has found. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious has released its latest survey of its 120 member ... continue reading

Friars inspired to take pilgrimage after viewing Hollywood drama 'The Way' Watch

Image of Friars begin 478-mile pilgrimage on foot across United States (@friarsonfoot/Twitter).


Dominican Fathers Francis Orozco and Thomas Schaefgen were inspired to make a 478-mile pilgrimage from New Orleans to Memphis, Tenn. entirely on foot and without a single dollar between them. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fathers Francis Orozco, of the Catholic ... continue reading

'A sign of the love of God': Why nuns wear religious habits Watch

Image of

By Ann Schneible (CNA/EWTN News)

As Pope Francis' year dedicated to consecrated life comes to a close, one nun shared her thoughts on the how her religious garb serves as a "visible sign" that God exists and loves every person. Rome, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - Though the official Year for Consecrated ... continue reading

LISTEN NOW: Benedictine nuns release new album Watch

Image of Nuns record new album to promote faith (Churchpop).


Benedictine nuns in Missouri recently released their latest album <i>Adoration at Ephesus</i> - and it is amazing! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Mother Cecilia, the prioress of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, told <a ... continue reading

A powerful MUST-READ call for prayers of priestly vocations Watch

Image of Bishop Mark O'Toole asks to pray for priestly vocations (Mazur).


Bishop Mark O'Toole, the Bishop of Plymouth, has called for a prayer of priestly vocations in a pastoral letter, which was read in all parishes across the diocese earlier this month. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The letter was simple and read: "To encourage an ... continue reading

'Chosen, don't forget this. Chosen!:' Pope Francis sends amazing message to priests Watch

Image of Pope Francis calls for prayer to bring more young men to priesthood vocations (@franciscus/Instagram).


On the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis ordained eleven men into the priesthood at St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday - then had plenty to say on the subject. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis spoke to the newly ... continue reading

All Vocations News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:19-22
19 So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; you are ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 6:12-16
12 Now it happened in those days that he went onto the mountain to pray; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 28th, 2016 Image

St. Jude Thaddaeus
October 28: St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of ... Read More