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Wednesday, 24 October, 2001, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Monks get internet shopping habit
Caldey Island Monastery
The new webshop has officially opened
Cistercian monks living off the west Wales coast have taken their next step into the 21st century by opening an online shop.

The Roman Catholic monks of Caldey Island, off the coast of Tenby, launched their own website over a year ago.

Following on from its success, they are now ready to officially open their new "webshop", which will sell traditional handmade items, such as perfume and chocolate as well as books of island life, poetry collections and CDs of plainsong.
Caldey Island monks
The brothers are going global with their wares

The decision to set up the online service was taken by the monks to help revitalise their mail-order business.

The move will particularly help the island during the winter months when visiting Caldeyis almost impossible due to bad weather conditions and rough seas.

Brother Robert said: "You will be able to come and look at the monastery and probably if we get the interactivity side of it going, we may even be able to show you round and let you see what we get up to in our monastery."

Money raised from the venture will also help in the upkeep of the island retreat which has recently needed extensive repair work.

The beauty of this is wherever you are in the world you can click and buy Caldey perfume

John Cattini, Caldey monks' commercial manager
The monks' commercial manager, John Cattini, told BBC News Online: "Our mail order delivery business and website have both been up and running for quite a while and so it was a natural progression for us to develop our webshop.

"The beauty of this is that wherever you are in the world you can click on the mouse and buy Caldey perfume."

The monks live in accordance to the strict Rule of St. Benedict, attending seven services every day beginning in the early hours of the morning and observing 12 hours of silence every night.

However, despite their austere lifestyle they have quickly adapted to the benefits afforded by modern technology.

Mr Cattini said: "The monks are particularly fond of e-mail. Of course like most people some of the monks find new technology difficult to get the hang of while others find it very straightforward.

"It is also extremely useful as it is less intrusive than a telephone in the cloisters and the monks can use it in their own time."

Father Robert
"If we get the interactive side of it going, you can event have a look around at what we get up to in the monastery."
See also:

21 Sep 98 | UK
Monks get Internet habit
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