Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Time at Mepkin Abbey

While I visited Charleston, my entire family went to Mepkin Abbey. Mepkin is about an hour outside of Charleston, in Mock's Corner, SC (and yes, I've spelled that correctly).

Mepkin is on the site of an old plantation. The property was donated by Clare Boothe Luce to the Trappist monks, and the order was established here.

My father often took retreats here. He loved the peace he found there, and he was close friends with the late Abbott, Fr. Frances. Frances died a year before Daddy, his life cut short by a virulent leukemia. Before Daddy died, he said he wanted some of his ashes to be put by Frances.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to plant Daddy at the Abbey this trip. The monk's cemetery is private, and while we were allowed to go into it and saw Fr. Frances' grave, we were escorted by another monk who didn't know about our intent. So we'll come back another time, when we've been able to talk to the Abbott and make good arrangements.

The property is truly gorgeous.  There are gardens and sculptures everywhere. And it borders the Cooper river, which flows into the Charleston harbor. Walking through the gardens is a blissful experience, even on a hot day.  And it was hot!

We walked through the gardens in the summer heat. There are many lovely natives plants and flowers here. This is a hydrangea. One of the things the monks do is cultivate native plants.

The sculptures are lovely. Many blend in with their surroundings.

Some are more modern. This is a wonderful creche made of metal. The baby in the manger has a round golden saw blade for a crown. The monastery has a large collection of creches.

This is a wooden sculpture of the Holy Family, carved on site from this huge log.

As I mentioned, the property was donated by Clare Boothe Luce. The Luce family is buried at this location. You can see their cemetery just past the big live oak.

There were lovely views of the Cooper river in parts of the gardens.

A restful Madonna and child sculpture. It was very peaceful here.

If you're ever on the coast in the South and you see the live oaks with the Spanish moss on them, admire the moss from afar. The moss is loaded with nasty itchy bugs. Look, don't touch.

One of my nieces with her mother, my sister.

My family really enjoyed this visit to Mepkin, and I'm certain we'll be back.

When Moe and I returned from our journey to Charleston, you'd think Vader would be there to great us. You would be wrong. He was lolling around, pretending he didn't care. Of course, he jumped on me in the middle of that night and woke me up, purring loudly.


  1. Another excellent set of photos and commentary! I've learned a lot from these posts! Our travel budget is diminished this year (gas prices are, of course, a factor), but if we get to travel south (I do have cousins in Florida!) I'd include these wonderful places on my list. It's nice to get the 'inside' scoop!

    Vader must be double-jointed or something. I often can't tell where he begins and ends!

  2. I can totally see wanting to spend eternal rest in such a lovely spot. So peaceful.