RNS Press Release Service

Templeton prize winning essay released as illustrated book

Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim, and the Purpose of Life

Clovercroft Publishing has released Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and the Purpose of Life. Winner of the $100,000 Templeton Prize and written by August Turak, Brother John is the true story of a monastic encounter between the author, going through a midlife crisis, and an umbrella wielding Trappist monk: a magical Christmas Eve lesson that teaches us all the redemptive power of an authentically purposeful life.

Uplifting, deeply moving, and set in the magnificent Trappist monastery of Mepkin Abbey, Brother John is dramatically brought to life by 22 full-color oil paintings by Glenn Harrington, a multiple award-winning artist who has illustrated over 700 books for all the top publishers. “I didn’t try to retell Turak’s incredible story,” said Harrington, “he does a great job of that. My task was to artistically capture the mood and incredible spirituality of Mepkin Abbey, and it is deeply gratifying to find out from the reaction so far that I was able to do just that.”

Brother John works equally well as a Christmas gift or all year long, and the book’s inspirational message and rich illustrations will bring readers back again and again.

 “Brother John is a powerful message about what makes life worth living,” says David Miller PhD, the director of the Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative, “and with experts attributing things as apparently unrelated as mass shooting and the opioid epidemic to a cultural crisis of meaning and purpose, Brother John is extremely timely as well.”

According to Larry Carpenter, the CEO of Christian Book Services, Brother John is already creating quite a stir. “I told Turak,” said Carpenter, “if readers like Brother John even half as well as my buyers and distributors do, then we may very well have a huge book on our hands.”

Rick Warren, the best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, made an exception to his longstanding policy of not endorsing books, by endorsing Brother John.

“The reaction to Brother John so far is humbling” said Turak, “my goals for the book were far more modest. I just wanted to offer the healing power of Brother John’s magical umbrella to more people, while paying tribute to the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey for all they do.”

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AUGUST TURAK is an award-winning author, speaker, consultant and contributor for Forbes.com and the BBC. He is also the founder of the spiritual and educational nonprofit the Self Knowledge Symposium Foundation (SKSF). Turak is also a successful entrepreneur and corporate executive. His book, Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks, was published in 2013 by Columbia Business School Publishing. When he is not praying and working alongside the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey, he works with his nonprofit and lives on a seventy-five-acre farm near Raleigh, North Carolina.

GLENN HARRINGTON is an internationally recognized and collected artist. His paintings have been featured in American Arts Quarterly, American Art Collector, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, International Artists Magazine, and the covers of American Artist and US Art. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in New York, Japan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania, and has exhibited at the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Museum of American Illustration, and the USGA Museum. Glenn’s oil paintings have been published on over 600 book covers. His portrait work is highly regarded, having won the Portrait Society of America’s Draper Grand Prize in 2007, its Honor Award in 2008 and 2005 during its international juried exhibitions. Harrington’s portrait of Maria Callas was used to promote the Tony Award-winning play Master Class.

MEPKIN ABBEY is a Trappist monastery located near Moncks Corner, SC at the junction of the two forks of the Cooper River northwest of Charleston. Their mission statement is:  “We, the monks of Mepkin Abbey, are responding to God’s call to live in solitude and silence in and for the Church according to an ancient form of radical Christian discipleship focused on seeking and finding God in community where we “are of one heart and soul and everything is held in common” (Acts 4: 32-33). We live the Rule of Saint Benedict embodied in the Cistercian tradition, praising God in our prayer, our meditative reading of Scripture, our work, and our hospitality, obeying the call of the Holy Spirit to ceaseless prayer and sharing the sufferings of the present time until the Lord returns (Rm 8:18-23).”

For more information, please call Melissa Hawks at (252) 204-1725, or email [email protected]

This story is available for republication.

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