Christians around the world will celebrate Ash Wednesday next week, including a monastery of coffee-brewing Carmelite monks in Powell, Wyoming.

The Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel were founded in 2003 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne. Known as Carmelites, they observe centuries-old rituals, segregating themselves from society, taking vows of celibacy and poverty, and praying for several hours every day.

The operation is financed by Mystic Monk Coffee, which is roasted and distributed at the monastery. In recent years, their product line has expanded to include 27 flavors of coffee, several varieties of tea, merchandise and brewing equipment. One of their "faithful followers" likes the coffee so much, he even wrote a song about it.

While they pray and brew coffee, the monks are also busy operating a working cattle ranch and expanding their facility. Construction is underway on a three-story French-Gothic refectory, which they hope will become a "spritual oasis for America".


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