The Beginning—and End of a Monastery

The Beginning—and End of a Monastery

The beginning … and the end of a Monastery.

Situated deep in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, the Huntsville monastery was established in 1947. The monastery became a thriving community of 84 monks with a large farm supplying eggs, bread, grain and honey to neighbors, friends and visitors. Then in September, after 70 years, that monastery closed.

In 2002, I wrote to the monks at Holy Trinity Abbey in Huntsville with a proposal to make a film. In 2003, they wrote back with a letter of invitation—and I began filming then and continued until just last, fall when the monastery officially closed.

The film I made, “PRESENT TIME: Journal of a Country Monastery,” is a poetic-historical film of the Huntsville, Utah monastery, representing 15 years and told over five seasons. Woven into these seasons is an intimate, observed chronicle of the everyday lives of monks. This will be the first film, and the last film about the monastery.

The many years of filming allowed me a fantastic amount of quality time at the monastery. While working on the film I found support and encouragement from visitors who were themselves Catholics (and non-Catholics) from around the world.

We are now wrapping up the final editing of the film and producing a limited-edition book of photos of the monastery. For all those interested in seeing the film, or to learn more and follow this film project please visit.

John Slattery is a filmmaker who lives in Berkeley, CA. You can email him at:

[email protected]

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