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WATCH: Bendectine Monks of Norcia Chant Five Hours a Day, Then Brew Trappist Beer

By K. Young k.young@classicalite.com on Jun 26, 2015 03:14 AM EDT

According to Fr. Cassian Folsom, prior of the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, "the monastic life is very plain and ordinary." Maybe that's why Folsom and his community there in northern Italy enjoy not only making hit records that best the likes of Taylor Swift, they also love brewing their own beer. Ensconced in the monastery, life for the Monks of Norcia is routine: "You get up, and you pray. You do your work, go to bed and then, the next day, you do the same," says Folsom.

In an interview with WNYC's Scott Wilson--which doesn't skimp on talk of the success of one of our favorite albums of the year, Benedicta: Marian Chant from Norcia, from De Montfort/Decca/Universal--Folsom reveals, yes, a big part of their day involves singing.

"We chant the Divine Office and the Mass every day, and if you put all of those moments together, it takes about five hours a day--365 days a year."

Pr. Folsom, an American, is originally from Massachusetts and studied voice at Indiana University. Initially, the Monks gathered in Rome in 1998. But in 2000, they transfered to Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of St. Benedict. The order is a group comprised of many different nationalities, including members from Brazil, Germany, Canada and the U.S.

Again, other than making chart-topping chants (available here), another daily concern we found most interesting for these monks is their sud-making. The community started brewing beer three years ago. Pr. Folsom explains that they needed, quote, "to have work that the monks can do together. And we needed some work that provided income for the monastery. So, we learned the art of brewing from the trappist monks in Belgium and found a niche in the Italian market, because craft beer is becoming much more popular in Italy than in the past."

Below, you can see the Monks celebrating the one-year anniversary of their brewing success in this clip from Catholic News Service.

Perhaps a slogan for the Monks' brand of craft beer should be this final statement from Folsom: "Even if somebody's not a believer, they can talk about beer."

Absolutely, and cheers, indeed.

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TagsMonks of Norcia, Decca/Universal Music Classics, Benedicta, Fr. Cassian Folsom

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