Plans by a group of Roman Catholic hermit monks to erect an outsized monastery in northern Wyoming have pitted neighbor against neighbor and aroused debate with religious undertones.
At the center of the Wyoming controversy is a remote ranch where the Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel want to build a 144,000-square-foot French Gothic-style monastery and coffee roasting barn. The monastery will feature a church that seats 150, with one spire rising 150 feet.
The proposal triggered a clash between ranchers who live miles apart, trying to protect their quiet, rural open spaces, and the hermit monks who live a secluded, Spartan life of prayer and meditation and are looking for more room to meet their expanding order and maintain their privacy.
And it’s forced the monks to temporarily abandon their seclusion as they seek permission to build.