Dominican Life

Rivendell, Alabama

Tolkien's illustration of Rivendell with little nun figures superimposed

For us who live here, it is always a wondrous revelation to realize what our monastery means to those still in the world. The little sister of one of our nuns wrote us the following testimony, which we quote with permission, when she was around twelve years old, after years of growing up visiting the monastery with her family:

Marbury is like Rivendell. It’s

“A perfect house (place), whether you like food or sleep or story telling or singing or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.”
– Bilbo

I am glad Marbury is there and am praying for you even as you’re praying for me.


What is the significance of this? Rivendell, as Bilbo said above, is a sheltered haven in which all cares fall away, and every wholesome desire is fulfilled. As we fulfill our vocation, our monastery too becomes an “oasis” of peace, joy, truth, and goodness in the midst of an increasingly darkening world. As in the Blessed Sacrament Itself, the Food which “adapts Itself to every taste,” those who come here experience the peace of the monastery in a way suited to the need of their soul—which, for this budding literary Tolkien fan, expresses itself in a likeness to the Last Homely House.

So we discover here a reflection of the religious life as an “escatological sign,” a sign of God, of the supernatural realities and of the ultimate fulfillment of all our desires in Heaven. “Marbury is like Rivendell”: the monastery itself becomes a little sign of Heaven here on earth.