Of Benedictines, Books and Beer

Today I read the newsletter from the wonderful Benedictine monks at Norcia, in Italy.  These are traditional Benedictines, a high American component, who make wonderful beer, Birra Nursia, in the place where St. Benedict was born.   You will recall that earthquakes brought their church and house down a few years back.  They’ve been rebuilding in the hills.

The monks have a beer club to which you can subscribe.   This is how they keep putting up their monastery brick by brick.

In this newsletter we see about the Solemn Vows of three monks, news about a new online store for their beer for Europe, and see photos of their church, Our Lady of Mercy, which is now open.

What I found particularly interesting with the list of the books read during meals in the refectory during 2020.   One could do a lot worse for a reading program for part of 2021.

These are wonderful monks.  They have wonderful beer.   Helping them helps yourself.  Rising tides, and all that.

Sign up and tell them that Fr. Z sent you!

The monks reached out to me and said that for every FIVE new Club members who sign up and reference “Father Z” in the “Notes about your Order” line, I will get a free case of beer to share with my priest friends.


Their beers are available in both in .75 liter bottles in cases of 6 and of 12.  You can get 1 case per month or 1 case every other month.

I noted that the “Slow Food” movement in Italy has taken notice of the beer.  That’s a major endorsement.

Here are a couple ideas.

Pastors of parishes and priests: I’m sure you have to entertain once in a while, perhaps fellow priests, perhaps some parish event like a fundraising supper.  Think about providing BIRRA NURSIA from these great monks.

Parish organizations, Knights of Columbus, etc.: Ditto!  This beer is as Catholic as it gets and you would be providing support to the monks in Norcia.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  2. JamesF-J says:

    Still not shipping to the UK unfortunately. I have been looking forward to sampling their beers for a while

  3. Deacon Ed Peitler says:

    Last night, my wife and I had dinner at an authentically Italian restaurant in Venice, Florida. They were out of the beer I usually order but the waiter suggested an Italian beer. After reading this article, I’d make a suggestion to all readers – especially those who manage or own restaurants – to suggest to the Italian restaurant you frequent to order as part of their stock the beer produced by the monks of Norcia. This would greatly boost their sales.

  4. Woody says:

    Very interesting list of books that I will certainly consult for reading in 2021. Noting Everyday Saints by then- Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), he is now Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov. Given his prominence over there, if I had to bet, I would guess that after Patriarch Kirill passes on, the head of DECR, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), a great friend of Benedict XVI, would become Patriarch, and if age permits, after Hilarion would come Tikhon. Seeing the Eastern Christian texts there reminds me that when I spoke with Father Cassian Folsom, I asked if they prayed the Jesus Prayer. He then pulled out a simple black string rosary and said, we pray this, and then he pulled out a very similar looking black string 100 count prayer rope (chotki) and said, then we pray this. So they do pray the Jesus Prayer, too. Reminded me of hearing Fr. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem., years ago, saying that they (Norbertines) read the Philokalia in the novitiate.

  5. Woody says:

    And I would add that having read Everyday Saints, I can highly recommend it. In the English translation it is a very easy and enjoyable read full of edifying and amusing stories.

  6. Semper Gumby says:

    The Monks’ beer and newsletters are excellent. Their newsletter from last summer (on their website) features a primer on the monastery’s church, an introduction to monastic church architecture by Dom Cassian Folsom and principles of sacred architecture by an architect. Animal update: the monks have 5 goats, 4 dogs, 2 cats and 50 chickens.

    For those of us not called to the monastic life but who have attended many schools and training courses related to their career in the profession of arms, here is a discipline to bring one closer to Jesus Christ: Exodus 90.

    “Exodus provides a path to freedom and formation through prayer, asceticism, and fraternity.”


    I’m told a Catholic pundit, one Brandon McGinley, is mocking this for some reason. Ignore his immaturity and his lack of spiritual and situational awareness.

    Also, on Youtube there is a series of ten-minute videos based on Bp. Olmsted’s “Into the Breach” letter from several years ago.

    Strength and Honor. Discipline and the Virtues.

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