Handcrafting simple, affordable wooden caskets is a way of life for a community of Trappist monks in Peosta, Iowa. Following the Rule of St. Benedict, they support themselves by the work of their hands, but sometimes they have the opportunity to turn this simple work of their hands into something much more.
When Christina Green, the youngest casualty of the Tucson shootings, was buried in January, her body was laid to rest in a casket donated by Trappist monks of the New Melleray Abbey. Sam Mulgrew, the general manager of Trappist Caskets, told CNN that a representative of the Green family contacted the monks at New Melleray Abbey about making a special casket for Christina. They were happy to oblige.
When a child dies it hits the monks particularly hard, Mulgrew said. They don’t like to sell children’s caskets and instead have a “child casket fund” that often covers the costs. The Child Casket Fund serves an important role for families who need a child’s casket, but were not prepared for the unexpected financial burden.