But unlike many if not most Catholic monasteries, whether in the West or elsewhere, Trinity is thriving and growing. This month, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, it welcomed an unprecedented four new candidates into its modest ranks, re-energizing its ranks and — by extension — this little-known outpost of Minnesota’s biggest, and most famous, monastic community.
To outsiders, this may seem obvious. In fact, it was obvious to insiders, too. But it’s one thing to suggest that a culture needs to change, and another matter altogether to actually change it. Nonetheless, last year — with great effort, and after much discussion — the monks at Trinity made the decision to shift the monastery’s culture — especially in the dining room (second in importance to the chapel — which had benefited from a Japanese liturgy for years. Japanese cuisine became a more regular facet of the Trinity dining experience; chopsticks began to appear at the common tables and, most significantly, conversations were translated from Japanese into English, and not — as had long been the practice — from English into Japanese.
Father Edward Vebelun, 41, a still boyish native of Ohio who was trained as a priest in a Japanese seminary, describes the transition as a revelation. “From there, the flood gates really opened for us.”
The monastery`s website in English is here.