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As COVID-19 deaths surge, Trappist monks donate caskets

J-P Mauro - published on 04/04/20

While supplies last, handcrafted wooden caskets are offered free of charge to struggling families in this difficult time.

There are now over one million reported cases of coronavirus worldwide, with death projections in the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. alone. Families who have already been hurt by loss of work and financial security may soon become devastated by grief, as well as the added cost of a casket or, heaven forbid, two.

To aid those most in need during these troubling times, Trappist monks from the New Melleray Abbey, Idaho, are donating a portion of their handmade caskets. The donations are all going towards families that are struggling to cover funeral costs during the worldwide pandemic.

On their website, the Abbot writes:

“Where have you laid him?” Jesus asked the grieving sisters of his friend Lazarus who had died (John 11:34). The COVID-19 virus will visit many families that are financially vulnerable and unprepared. In addition to their grief, they will wonder, “Where will we lay” our loved one who has been unexpectedly taken from us. To financially stressed families directly impacted by the COVID-19 virus the monks of New Melleray offer free of charge pine caskets made from trees from the abbey forest.

The caskets produced by TrappistCaskets are beautifully crafted by the abbey’s monks working with a select team of lay craftsmen. They source all their materials locally, from the forest on their property, and conduct all the work in a workshop on their grounds. Their caskets are a natural alternative to the heavy, sterile metal design and are crafted with the Catholic funeral traditions in mind.

Each TrappistCasket is modeled around a small cross embedded into its lid. These crosses, which bear the names of the deceased, are remembrances which the family takes with them. The monks go further to plant a tree after each purchase, which will grow into a monument for the deceased. This also helps the monks to replenish the forest from which they source their wood.

The monks of New Melleray Abbey take pride in their personal touch and they take special effort to remain in contact with the families who turned to them in their time of grief. To accomplish this, the Abbot goes out of his way to hand-write a letter of condolence to the grieving family on the one year anniversary of the death.

TrappistCaskets offers a variety of choices, from simple rectangular pine boxes like those being donated to beautifully crafted and stained casket in sizes for adults and children. The monks keep a donation-supported fund open for children’s caskets, to lend aid grieving parents in their most desperate moment. They also offer urns of wood and ceramic for cremated remains.

The monks note that they have a set number of caskets that they can donate to those affected by the coronavirus, and the offer will only last as long as their supply. They also explain that, while the casket is free, they ask families to pay the shipping costs. For more information, contact TrappistCaskets here.

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