Buying stuff for Christmas from monasteries and relgious

Given that this is the day when US retail stores hope to move into the black, thus “Black Friday”, I think we can give some attention to our own Christmas gift shopping here.

I think some monasteries and religious houses who make and sell products in order to live would also appreciate your consideration.  I would rather help a monastery than, say, Target.

Surely you readers have some recommendations of products that monasteries and religious make which could be good as gifts.

Let me start by mentioning a few.

First, there is – [CUE MUSIC]Mystic Monk Coffee.  They have packages of coffees with low or free shipping, there are chocolates and also religious gifts.  And when you buy their stuff, you also help me.

Second, I have in the past written about the Contemplative Domincan Nuns of Our Lady of the Rosary Monastery who make soaps.

Third, buy your coffin today.  What a great stocking stuffer.  And when you want to get your last will and testament in order, print it with a cartridge from the Laser Monks.  They have dog biscuits too.  They also have dog biscuits.

Fourth, I will plug my own things.   If you want to get something for a priest or seminarian, consider things from the Z-Stuff stores.  There are shirts and mugs and all that sort of stuff.  Most of them will annoy liberals or at least start a conversation.  And once your in a conversation, you have a chance to make your points.

What about you?  Have recommendations?   I think a lot of groups may make fruit cake, but can you give it a personal review?  I can attest that the fruitcake made by made by Trappists at Assumption Abbey in Missouri was mighty tasty.  That’s the sort of thing we need to know.

Get some Mystic Monk Coffee, and a WDTPRS mug of some sort, along with a fruitcake and you are in business!

BTW.. people are always telling me to push that thing or this thing on my blog.  I prefer to be able to push things I have actually seen or experienced.   Therefore, I must say that I have no personal knowledge of the aforementioned dog biscuits.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. priests wife says:

    Thanks for the tips- I really have to order some mystic monk coffee- are these monks connected to the university in Wyoming?

    I posted some thoughts on the Black Friday ritual:

    I always loved the fudge theses monks made: –the truffles are more to my liking now.

    I say we abandon Walmart and Target for the season and buy only from religious houses or little old ladies at craft fairs- I could use a crocheted toilet paper roll cover.

  2. Trevor says:

    The monks of Saint Meinrad also make caskets…

  3. catholicmidwest says:

    Just in case you’re planning on kicking the bucket before the new year.
    [Sorry, Trevor, I couldn’t resist.]

  4. rakesvines says:

    Excellent idea Fr. Z, I will definitely buy from them considering that their quality will be second to none as those products are made diligently i.e. with love for God and the customers. (Maybe I get some brownie points too as their makers always pray for their patrons.)

    And I hope the religious making caskets will diversify and include cremation urns, for humans and their pets too, in their product lines. It may be elightening to know the stats about cremation to see if the demand is rising.

  5. catholicmidwest says:

    Now that would be an interesting turn-around, wouldn’t it, considering the fact that cremation was frowned upon just until recently.

  6. Jerry says:

    For those in eastern Oklahoma, the Benedictine sisters of Mary, Queen of Angels convent in Hulbert, OK will be selling various hand-made items and other religious goods on Saturday December 4 from 2:30 to 5:30 PM at the convent, which is located across the road from Clear Creek Abbey. Unfortunately they do not, as far as I know, provide mail order or Internet sales.

    For more information, see

  7. SarahM says:

    rakesvines, both of the casket makers also make urns and keepsake crosses.

  8. ghp95134 says:

    Hey Fadda!

    Why does your mug say “New Translation” vice “Corrected Translation?”

    –Guy Power

  9. Supertradmum says:

    Sadly, not all monasteries are the same. Before buying , either check with Father Z or find out what the teachers there are teaching if connected to seminaries. I refuse to support heretical and disobedient groups. We need care in choosing how we spend money. Rather than post info here, people can e-mail me for references good and bad. Buying from good monasteries and convents is an excellent idea. I highly recommend the Benedictines in Kansas City, the nuns make altar linens and vestments. Maybe Father Z would like something new!

  10. Mariana says:

    European sources would be appreciated, too. I tried to order Mystic Monk, but, unfortunately, the shipping costs to Europe were prohibitive.

  11. rakesvines says:

    Hey Fr. Z, the picture of the mug with the 1st Sunday of Advent gave me an idea for your WDTPRS mugs. How about a collection of mugs where each Solemnity is artistically rendered just like the varied renditions of the Google logo? If that takes off, then a second set for Feast days can be produced. Think of the synergy with resulting coffee and fruitcake sales to help the monks. Besides, coffee has been found to have health benefits so it’s win-win all around.

  12. Girgadis says:

    Mystic Monk is selling some nice religious articles that will be blessed by one of the Carmelites upon purchase. I particularly liked their St. Therese Rosaries.

    For a few years now, I’ve been ordering Christmas gifts from Monastery Greetings. All of the items in their catalog are produced by various religious communities. I order Cantica incense from Monastery Greetings that I give as gifts to several churches in my neighborhood so they have one less expense to think about. I am also partial to these soaps made by Trappist nuns in Norway and they make great little gifts for unexpected guests or someone you want to remember without spending a lot of money. I see they have a new scent this year, Windsor Spice, just for Christmas. The vanilla oatmeal is my favorite and lasts a long time.

  13. joanofarcfan says:

    How about these?

    More coffee, dog biscuits, toner/ink and other stuff:

    Owned by Cistercian monks, here is a website devoted to helping other monastic communities by reselling their unique products.:

  14. susanna says:

    The Trappists of Holy Cross Abbey in Virginia make small chocolate-covered fruitcakes called Fraters that are wonderful. It’s a dark chocolate. I get them from Monastery Greetings.

  15. Fr Matthew says:

    I don’t know much about their orthodoxy, but the Cistercian Laser Monks sell printer toner and ink at great prices, as well as other products made by them and by other monastic communities. I use their toner. The monks of the Cistercian Abbey of the Genesee in upstate NY make and sell very tasty bread and cakes (and they also sell coffee, which I haven’t tried myself). They also sell other products made by other monastic communities, including the absolutely delicious (in my opinion) Trappist Preserves, made by the monks of St Joseph’s abbey in Spencer, MA.

    And of course, as Fr Z has noted on other occasions, the Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles offer two exquisite CDs, each for a reasonable donation. I have both. One is a Christmas CD that became an instant favorite of mine in that genre (and the other is great too).

    So, you (or the person you buy Christmas gifts for) can sit down for breakfast eating toast made by Cistercians, topped with preserves made by Trappists, sipping Mystic Monk coffee in a WDTPRS mug, listening to the angelic voices of the Benedictine nuns and reading Fr Z’s latest blog entries printed using LaserMonk toner. And when you die from the delight of such goodness, you can be buried in one of those caskets Fr Z mentioned.

  16. Inkstain says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. I look forward to taste-testing the Trappist Fruitcakes and Fudges in the near future! :)

    Many (most?) here will be familiar with it but for the benefit of those that are not, I heartily recommend the Catholic newspaper produced by The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer on Papa Stronsay.

    It is printed in a newspaper sort of format and each issue is accompanied by a book printed on the same newspaper type of paper but with glossy cover. Both the newspaper and the books are solidly traditional and very inspirational and I think make great gifts. I have not seen anywhere online where you can see a complete list of the books available for order separately from the newspaper but I’m sure if you were to contact them via the “Contact Me” link on their blog they can provide a list.

    I’ve also found that the Parkminster Charterhouse to be a good source for gifts.

    Also, I can also attest (with enthusiasm) to the quality of Mystic Monk coffee. :)

  17. chatto says:

    For a Britain-based treat, the monks of Prinknash (pron. prinn-ij) Abbey are famous for their incense. They also make rosaries, and it’s all available to buy in the US as well:

    Closer to (my) home, the Benedictines at Ampleforth Abbey have a great orchard, and in the fine tradition of English Catholic monasteries, they make booze out of the produce:

  18. E says:

    When I first moved to the area 25 years ago, one could buy bread from Holy Cross Abbey right in the grocery stores. Sadly,this is long gone. However, the monks make more than just fruitcakes.
    And what is it with monks and caskets? The Benedictines of Chicago have their own line,too.
    Or perhaps besides the usual CDs, you’d like a Gregorian Chant Master Class:
    Or a Christmas tree if you’re in NJ:
    Or a Christmas ornament too pretty to pack away:
    You could even commission an icon from them.
    Don’t forget your greeting cards:
    Oh, and a t-shirt.

    You may have noticed a Benedictine theme here. I have a soft spot for them.

  19. Maeana says:

    They’ve already been mentioned, but I have to mention the Benedictines of Mary in Kansas City again. My sister is Prioress and composed and arranged much of the music on the CDs. They are both so beautiful. My six children have fallen asleep to Echoes every single night for the last two years, and they never get tired of it. Of course, I want to see this convent get all the support it can, but I promise, these would make perfect Christmas gifts. It is truly wonderful music.

  20. David Collins says:

    Father, when you plug Mystic Monk coffee, what music do you use for cueing? Could it be the CDs of those sisters in Kansas City?

  21. irishgirl says:

    Macana-your sister is the Prioress at the Benedictines of Mary? Very cool!
    I have the Sisters’ ‘Echoes From Ephesus’ CD. Very lovely voices!
    The parish where our Perpetual Adoration Chapel is located used to sell the Virginia Trappists’ chocolates and other treats. I don’t know if they will be available this year-I haven’t seen them as yet.

  22. Jaybirdnbham says:
    Here is the website for the gift shop for the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. (Mother Angelica’s nuns)

  23. jaykay says:

    The Cistercian monks of Mellifont Abbey in Co.Louth, Ireland, have a gift shop and also a garden centre (this has a separate website but there’s a link from the main site):

    I remember when I was a kid my mother used to buy their honey, but I don’t see from the site that it’s still available. It was great stuff. I must visit the Abbey, it’s not far.

  24. my kidz mom says:

    Support the faithful Canons Regular at St. John Cantius, a religious community of men dedicated to the Restoration of the Sacred:

    See what wonderful things they’ve been up to – brick by brick!

    (p.s. Father, can you keep this post of yours in an easily accessible place during the Christmas season, kind of like the button you have for your Z-store?)

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