Religion: Words from the Silent

On a tree-clad ridge near Cumberland, R. I. lies a cluster of austere grey Gothic buildings, laid up in stone during the past 35 years by white-robed members of the Order of Cistercian Monks of the Strict Observance. The 62 men of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Valley—among them a onetime Canadian Northwest "Mountie," a onetime department store manager, a onetime railway construction engineer, a onetime civil engineer, a World War aviator—labor daily in their fields and cowbarns. Save when all of them sing their psalms, recite their orisons, or when...

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