IU Bloomington News
IU School of Public Health professor emerita authors new bookJuly 29, 2016Work features Saint Meinrad monks talking about their work and prayer over 50+ yearsRuth Clifford Engs, professor emerita at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, is author and editor of a new book titled “Conversations in the Abbey, Volume 2: The Next Generation of Senior Monks of Saint Meinrad Reflects on Their Lives.” This new volume features in-depth interviews with 11 monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Ind.
Engs spoke with the monks about their early years in the monastery, their varying work assignments, changes they’ve seen in the Catholic Church and reflections on living as Benedictine monks for 50-plus years. In addition, she asked them to discuss various aspects of health, ranging from healthcare when they were children as well as smoking and drinking patterns.
“Compared to volume one in this series, the monks in this book go into much more depth about their personal lives and are more open about struggles they’ve faced,” she says. “It’s a fascinating history not only of the individual, the monastery and changes in the Catholic church but also Indiana.”
The 11 monks Engs interviewed for this publication were born between 1930 and 1940, and talk personally about their childhoods, outreach work, and life at Saint Meinrad Archabbey. Some of the monks included open up about health problems they’ve faced, including alcoholism, and how they manage problem drinking through Benedictine spirituality and Alcoholics Anonymous. In her discussions with the monks, Engs found many had incredible stories and experiences to share.
“One one monk founded Martin University in Indianapolis, two of the monks were in a devastating earthquake in Peru, another monk built, from scratch without blueprints, a guest house for a monastic community in California and also at St. Meinrad, and another monk still works with the Hispanic community in Indiana,” she explains.