Here’s how my most recent arts and culture column begins:

“The Father spoke from all eternity just one Word. And he spoke it in an eternal silence. And it is in silence that we hear him.” 

— St. John of the Cross

Into Great Silence is an award-winning 2005 art-house documentary about the Grande Chartreuse, the famed Carthusian monastery high in the French Alps.

German director Philip Gröning approached the monks in 1984, asking for their permission. “We’ll get back to you,” they said. Sixteen years later, they finally gave the green light.


Also, this week’s video reflection: up with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the sorrow of a mansplaining Mass!…


  1. When I saw this movie in the theater when it came out, I thought: “They make it look easy, but I know it’s not. I don’t think I could do that . . . but I only wish I could.”
    “How can a cup make you want to cry?” That’s wonderful, Heather.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      The director said editing took a couple of years I think…it took ages for them to get all that had been filmed to come together…gald you liked it, Ron.

  2. My blood boils as well just hearing about this priest and his opinion on the Assumption of Mary. I probably would’ve walked out. Separating His Church from the flaws (of which I have many) of those charged with “shepherding” is something I struggle with constantly. I admire your steadfastness and am grateful for your example. Thank you. I am curious though… did you share with him your thoughts?

  3. Susan Manus says: Reply

    I missed this post until now – I adore Into Great Silence. Such a beautiful film. Just watching it feels like praying. I love the part you mentioned where these ascetic monks living under a strict rule are playing in the snow like children! The muted sound of their laughter from far off is like music. I also love the interview with the blind monk just before the end. Such a wise man.


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