LOS ANGELES, June 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Benedictine monks of St. Andrew's Abbey, located in the small, desert town of Valyermo, California—only a 90-minute drive from the bustle of Los Angeles—live a peaceful life. They pray together five times a day for the needs of the world. They follow the 1500-year-old Rule of St. Benedict. And they practice the Grand Silence, established in the monasteries of the Middle Ages, from 8:30 pm to 8:30 am the next morning. Even so, the monks of St. Andrew's Abbey recently launched a new, online ink and toner business named MonksInk.com, and business is booming. Their corporate customers span from the skyscrapers of New York City, Chicago and San Francisco, to dioceses and schools nationwide. Yet these simple, prayerful monks are serious about integrating their Benedictine charism with a thriving business.
MonksInk started two years ago, when an oblate (a lay Benedictine associated with a specific monastery) suggested to the monastery abbott, Abbot Damien, that the monks consider selling ink and toner cartridges after a hoped-for partner arrangement with another monastery fell through due to the other business closing.
"We liked the idea of selling these products," says Fr. Joseph Brennan, prior of the order, who has been at the monastery nearly 20 years. "We needed to do something a little different. Every monastery has something unique about them. For example, a monastery in Louisiana makes soap. Some make jellies and jams. The Camaldolese make amazing fruitcake. But we never developed anything like that. Until now, we only produced ceramics, and even these were designed by a brother monk in Belgium. We really needed to do something different. MonksInk was a good fit."
The monks got up to speed quickly. Ordering products is easy—whether done on the monks' streamlined, easy-to-use website or by phone. Product selection meets or exceeds what one could find at any big box office supply store—including ink and toner options for every make and model of printer, fax and copy machine, from HP and Epson to Xerox, and every brand in between. Buyers also have their choice of original manufacturer products, alternative cost-saving brands, or re-manufactured items. And, the monks are quick to point out, anyone can always add a prayer request or two as well!
Business may be booming, but for the monks at St. Andrew's Abbey, their MonksInk business is about much more than earning a healthy profit to cover the mounting costs of repairing their aging monastery, upgrading their out-grown chapel and providing for a multitude of spiritual, youth and community service ministries.
"The Benedictine motto is Nihil amori Christi praeponere—prefer nothing to the love of Christ," explains Fr. Joseph with passion. "St. Benedict insists in his Rule that we monks welcome each person, each visitor, as Christ himself. Tangible hospitality and service. Personal attention. These things are very important to us and they are echoed in how we run MonksInk. Serving businesses with something they already need is more than a great business idea. It also gives us the opportunity to serve and welcome each corporate professional as Christ."
True to their charism, the monks spare no detail in practicing in their business what they live daily in their monastic routine.
"With MonksInk, the monks are involved. The lay people involved are Benedictine Oblates, so they understand and live our charism as well," underscores Fr. Joseph. "Whatever we do has to be a service and meaningful for others. In our case, this includes serving corporate America with ink and toner cartridges at MonksInk.com."
To learn more about the monks or their business, go to MonksInk.com.
About MonksInk and St. Andrew's Abbey. MonksInk was founded in 2011 by the Benedictine monks of Valyermo at St. Andrew's Abbey. St. Andrew's Abbey is a Benedictine monastery, a religious community of Catholic men who are vowed to a life of constant conversion and witness to the Gospel. Originally founded in China in 1929 by the Abbey of Sint Andries Zevenkerken in Brugge, Belgium, the monks prayed, taught and worked in China until expelled by the communists in 1952. In 1955 the community relocated to Valyermo, a 90-minute drive northeast of Los Angeles, nestled quietly in the San Gabriel foothills of the high desert. For more than half a century, the monastery has been—and continues to be—a sacred place where people from all walks of life can come away from their hectic city life to refresh and 'recharge' their souls. All are welcome to visit, stay for a few days or week, take a retreat, and even to join the monks in the monastery chapel for chanting of the Divine Office. For more information about St Andrew's Abbey, go to: www.SaintAndrewsAbbey.com. For more information about MonksInk, go to www.MonksInk.com
Karen Walker, 949.370.1442,