NRVC Conference in Louisville, KY (cont.)
After a busy morning of workshops, we spent the afternoon on a bus tour in the hills of Kentucky. We first went to Bardstown and then on to the home of Makers Mark Bourbon. We got to see the entire production process which I found rather fascinating. It is really far more simple than I expected it to be. Actually, nature does the vast majority of it as the ingredients are distilled and fermented. We were each given a pint bottle which we dipped into the wax sealant and then got a small sample along with a bourbon candy.
From that "spirit" filled adventure we got back on the bus and drove to the Gethsemane Abbey. There for well over a hundred years men have prayed and lived their vocation in the beautiful surroundings of the Kentucky hills. While the place was busy with visitors, I could still experience the peace and calm of the place.
After spending a few quiet moments in the church, I went out into the cemetery to visit the grave of Thomas Merton. The grave is marked by a simple cross as are the graves of all of the monks buried there. The inscription on the cross refers to "Fr. Louis" since Thomas Merton's religious name was Louis.
We then returned to the hotel where I met up with Fr. Brian Smail, O.F.M., the Vocation Director from Holy Name Province, and we walked back down to the activities on fourth street for supper. I didn't run into any "devils" tonight. Tomorrow and Monday morning we will continue our conference and sharing.