A green burial at a Catholic monastery

The Honey Creek Woodlands (HCW) is a conservation burial ground for all faiths on the grounds of the 2,100-acre Monastery of the Holy Spirit near Conyers, Georgia

Q. I thought embalming was required by law - Why don’t you allow embalming?

Embalming is not required in any state,. The Federal Trade Commission requires funeral service providers to inform consumers that embalming is not required .There are ecological problems with conventional body burial such as the potential for embalmed bodies to leach formaldehyde into the ground. Formaldehyde has been regarded as a known carcinogen by the World Health Organization and is on the EPA’s list of probable carcinogens.


What can I say? This is all news to me… I like the idea.

I’ve never been a fan of the modern burial, I think its unnatural they way they make sure the body doesn’t decay properly.

Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return. Genesis

Stone mausoleums, steel caskets and concrete vaults don’t lend much to the natural process of decay.
Anyway - I also thought it was interesting that HCW is upfront about inclusiveness of people of all faiths.

Some religious groups do not allow or at least discourage embalming. According to Jewish tradition, embalming and the use of cosmetics on the deceased are not permitted except where embalming is required by civil law. Similarly, many Orthodox Christians consider embalming disrespectful and discourage it.

Me too. I’m just 25 but I’m already making out my will to include provisions so I don’t get embalmed. I’m happy you put this post up, I like keeping informed. I don’t want my body going through that.

I read that they opt for a preservation just by rubbing myrrh on it. I also heard speculation that they did that with John Paul II’s body. Do you happen to know more about that? I’m interested. I tried studying what myrrh is but the info I found had it as a hard resin, like grains of incense. What is that oily sort of myrrh that Easterners use? Is it the same as chrism? Does it really work to help preserve for the short-term? I’m worried if I put that in my will, the people handling my body won’t know what I’m talking about, you know? And I doubt funeral homes have myrrh on hand. I could stock up on some so it’s ready when it’s needed, but do they spoil? I had some myrrh from the supposed myrrh-weeping icon in Blanco Texas (turned out to be a fake), but after a short while, the myrrh no longer smelt the same and seems like it kind of spoiled. I have no idea where to learn about this stuff from.

The original poster might be interested in this too (I hope it doesn’t look like I’m hijacking this post!).

The Atlanta paper had a full article on this cemetery, much more in-depth than is on the web page. It is far nicer than anyone would expect. The optional grave stones look like natural stones that would be found in an wooded area. They are simply engraved and placed at the proper spot. There are no monuments.

Many states allow burial without embalming. It only becomes necessary for shipping or for display of the remains. In most cases, it does not preserve the remains more than a few years, depending on the skill of the funeral director and where the body is buried. Natural burial allows the process to continue at a regular pace without filling the ground with hazardous chemicals.

Anyone visiting the Atlanta metro area would do themselves a favor by visiting the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. It is a step out of the storm of modern life into the spiritual. However, I do strongly endorse their fruit cakes and fudge sold in the gift shop on on-line as yet another source of comfort!

I’ve only encountered myrrh in incense and don’t know how it’s used to scent oil, but perhaps it’s either soluble in a liquid like oil or oil may be derived from the plant by other means.

I think that if you simply put it in your will, people might not notice it until it’s too late. If you have unusual requests, it’s best to make your wishes known ahead of time to those who will be making the arrangements, and even to begin making the arrangements yourself.

I already have a burial shroud, for example. It’s on the wall next to my bed. My family members already know where it is and how I want it used. I don’t know if they’ll remember to bury me with my Dormition icon, but they will definitely remember the shroud. :slight_smile:

I asked my son, who is a carpenter, to build my coffin. Its a beautiful work of art. My wife liked it so well that she is going to ask him to build hers too. Our son was very "honored " to be asked to do this thing.

At first he was a little hesitant. Thought it was morbid. But eventually got to liking the idea.
Anyone one who visits him now gets to see his “project”.

Our kids have planned a meeting with us so that they understand what will be asked of them when we pass on. I think this is a good and healthy attitude and will prevent any last minute disputes. Told the kids to just put me on ice until the funeral. :smiley:

It is quite an honor…a blessing for you and wife.

The New Melleray Cistercians make plain wooden coffins.
Anyway, the cost comparison graph shows quite a difference in cost between a conservation burial and contemporary burial.

One can purchase a plain wooden Jewish coffin. They are quite reasonably priced.

:wink: I’m sure they are.
This whole business of green burials in GA. had me looking around the internet. I found ecoffins, natural coffins, corrugated coffins, shell cremation urns, bamboo coffins, wicker coffins, biodegradable coffins…the list is impressive. The days of steel caskets appear to be fading.

There also is another Green Cemetery above Atlanta in the new city of Milton in North Fulton County


body liquefaction is the greener way to die… it is greener form of cremation… you can use Urns for ashes …after greener cremation…

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