How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
In a recent blog post I wrote about St. Benedict’s Rule (529), a monastic rule that provided order and peace in a world besieged in chaos. Men retired to monasteries to cultivate discipline in the spiritual life. Manual labor was seen to mortify the flesh, as monks took on difficult tasks such as clearing and reclaiming swamps.
One group of Benedictine monks, known as Cistercians, established a monastery in Burgundy, France. The year was 1098 and as these industrious monks gazed undaunted at massive swamps, filled with snakes and mosquitoes, they transformed useless land into a vineyard. Through experimentation and hard work, Cistercians developed wines familiar to us today: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, and Riesling.
Champagne was discovered by a monk named Dom Perigon at St. Peter’s Abbey in France in 1688. Dom Perigo blended wines until he achieved the light bubbly variety we sip today. His techniques are still used in the manufacture of champagne.
Monks strove to produce wines of the highest quality and thus gave glory to God in all things, even delightful wines that help us celebrate the most joyful occasions in life.