Monastic retreat beats New Year's party in Catholic Poland

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Poles who do not feel like a New Year's Eve of hard partying have jumped at the chance to spend their holiday in the contemplative calm of a Benedictine monastery, organisers said Monday.

"The monastery hosted 60 people last year. This year, we had hundreds of calls and all 89 places were booked by the start of December," Jadwiga Pribyl, of Poland's Benedictine Cultural Institute, told AFP.

For 80 zloty (19 euros, 28 dollars) a day, the New Year's guests sleep in the monastic cells of the Roman Catholic Tyniec abbey, perched on a cliff above the Vistula River in southern Poland.

Over the three-day retreat, they get the same simple meals as the monks, and receive divine sustenance from regular religious services and periods of meditation.

At midnight on December 31, Pribyl said, "there won't be any crazy stuff, or fireworks, but just a mass followed by a cup of tea".

More than 90 percent of Poland's 38 million inhabitants are professed Roman Catholics.

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