It always seems strange to say that ruins can be beautiful, but they can! The ruins of the original Abbey Orval, in Belgium, are evidence of that. This is the view of the inner court garden looking towards the sacristy, the Chapter House, and the parlour of the Prior. To the right in the background is the new Cistercian abbey. And it’s thriving. The abbey is well known for its history and spiritual life but also for its production of the Trappist beers, Orval and Petite Orval.
Trappist beer is brewed and sold by Trappist breweries in eight European monasteries. Six of the monasteries are in Belgium (Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle and Achel), one in the Netherlands (Koningshoeven) and one in Austria (Mariawald). Evidence of brewing at Abbey Orval (Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval), founded in 1132, dates back to 1628. The current brewery was built in 1931 and provides an income for the monastery and some other good causes.
Coincidentally, today is International Buy a Priest a Beer Day. So says Sam the Catholic Gentleman. Well, the truth is, it isn’t. But it seems like he had a good idea there. And I imagine it would seem like a good idea to a few priests too! So why not, if you haven’t done so already, buy a priest a beer today anyway. A Trappist one. And if you can’t do it today, tomorrow is another day!