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Personalized, custom wooden caskets made at the monastery of New Melleray Abbey.

Watch the story of the Trappist Monks of New Melleray Abbey

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In 1849, Trappist monks from Ireland set out on a journey to America‘s heartland and embraced the rolling prairie of Iowa, where they founded and built our monastery, New Melleray Abbey.

Today, the Trappist monks, together with their hired lay-artisans, bring old world craftsmanship and a sense of sanctity to fine wooden caskets and coffins, available to families everywhere in their time of need.

We often donate child caskets to families who can use assistance in their time of need. If you are looking for information on our Child Casket Fund or would like to donate to our Child Casket Fund, please call us at 888-496-6041.

A Work of Prayer

In the cool silence of the morning, the darkness slowly gives way to the soft light of the morning sun, casting its warmth onto the stone walls and floors. The clang of the bell tower reverberates throughout the grounds, the organ sings its praises as we lift our voices to God, and our prayer life flows into our work life.

A simple casket prayerfully made by monks

The Trappist philosophy calls for us to labor quietly with our hands in support of our life of simplicity, as we strive to observe the call to “pray without ceasing.” We‘ve found that many people seem to connect with the simple and honest way we deal with death and burial. Working intimately with the wood, crafting these vessels for each unique child of God who will be buried in them, we feel that casket-making is a natural extension of our sacred work. We are able to live by the work of our own hands—rather than living on donations—while still being able to serve others through what we believe is a work of mercy. We are also honored to have lay-artisans who help us in our sacred work.

Each casket we make is personally blessed by one of our monk-craftsmen, and the name of the deceased is inscribed in our Memorial Book. We then pray for each person buried in a Trappist Casket at a special mass in our church.

Experience New Melleray Abbey and the work of Trappist Caskets firsthand in the video at the top of the page, or call us for a free catalog at 888-496-6041.

A Reverence for Wood

Environmental Stewardship

Trappist monks have tenderly worked the earth for centuries, and in it we have beheld God‘s power and majesty. And while there has been much talk of late about “going green” and being “eco-friendly”, our commitment to sustainable practices has always been guided by a spiritual mandate to practice responsible stewardship.

Handcrafted at our monastery

We get to know the personality of each species of tree, the smell of sawdust in the air, and the feel of the wood as its coarseness gently gives way to the work of our hands, and becomes smooth and strong. All Trappist Caskets are crafted in our shop at the monastery of New Melleray Abbey. The monks and their artisans use wood from regional forests as well as from their own award-winning 1,200-acre timberland.

Natural wood and materials

We work with several different types of wood, from oak, cherry, and black walnut, to simple, understated pine. Our caskets and coffins emphasize the natural beauty of the wood, are made from organic materials. A classically upholstered interior, pillow, mattress and adjustable bed is included in each casket, with additional options available for premium models.

Many coffins and caskets are crafted from wood harvested from our own forest.

Options for all types of funerals

Trappist Caskets makes a range of dignified and expertly crafted caskets and coffins, appropriate for a wide range of family and individual needs, such as:

  • Traditional European-style old-world coffins
  • Premium rectangular caskets
  • Simple pine and oak caskets
  • Caskets for clergy and deacons
  • Child caskets including Infant, Toddler and Youth options

Call us for a free catalog or to learn more about how we make our caskets at 888-496-6041.

Personalization and Custom Options

From its small beginnings as an acorn to its majesty as a grown tree, from the cool breezes of the forest to the warmth of our workshop, each tree‘s journey is a different one. It is a privilege to be able to prayerfully spend our time crafting something so pure into something that will honor an individual‘s unique life on earth.

Custom Engraving

Many people who buy from Trappist Caskets choose to personalize caskets with a loved one‘s name and significant dates. We can engrave a casket with a religious symbol or image, a prayer, special blessing, poem, or quotation in order to pay further tribute to his or her memory. A casket can even be engraved with your loved one‘s image.

Personally blessed by a monk

All caskets are constructed in the prayerful environment of New Melleray Abbey. Each casket is personally blessed by one of the monks, and those who are mourning the loss of a loved one often tell us this blessing is a source of comfort and consolation.

Keepsake crosses

A keepsake cross comes with each casket and is intended to be kept by the family of the deceased. The keepsake cross can be personalized to include the name and dates of the deceased, and additional quantities can be ordered upon request. Simple models include an optional raised wooden cross.

Additional premium and custom options

The premium caskets include upholstery upgrades of the pillow and veil and an inside lid panel. Call us for a free catalog or to discuss how your loved one can be honored through your unique customization wishes at 888-496-6041.

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Call 888-496-6041 to request a free casket catalog from the Trappist Monks of New Melleray Abbey.