Low Tech Monks Going High Tech To Lure Recruits

TRAPPIST, Ky. (AP) - A group of low tech monks in central
Kentucky have gone high tech in an effort to boost their numbers.

Monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani, better known for its medieval
rhythms of prayer and manual labor, has turned to the Internet in
an effort to find recruits for the monastic life.

The monks have signed on with a Florida-based marketer that
finds people interested in becoming Roman Catholic priests, monks
or nuns, then matching them with dioceses or religious communities.

"Some people have called me a headhunter for monks," said
Natalie Smith of Coral Springs, Fla., who runs the donor-funded Web
site, VocationsPlacement.org. "I'm not a headhunter. People are
doing what they want to do. ... I'm just here to help them."

The early returns on the experiment have been promising, said
the Rev. Damien Thompson, abbot of the Trappist monastery.
Gethsemani has seven men in the stages of becoming monks, plus four
others who have taken final vows in the past five years.

But Smith's work, which has funneled prospects to monthly
exploratory visits here, is "a real gift," Thompson said.

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