When is it good to be alone?

“Well alone”: The new “criss-cross” documents how monks cope with loneliness and isolation

On April 28th at 10.30 p.m. on ORF 2; afterwards: "Love is not for cowards"

Vienna (OTS) - In the Sankt Lambrecht Abbey in Styria - under the impression of the Corona crisis - everything is different than usual in spring: no public fairs, no visitors. It's even quieter. A secret of the Benedictine monks against loneliness is the clearly structured daily routine. The second, however, is the individual, often tough, inner struggle not to become lonely in so much loneliness. The stories of the monks show how difficult situations of being alone can sometimes be turned into good, blessed times. “Kreuz und quer” will show Waltraud Paschinger's new documentary “Be Alone” on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 10.30 p.m. on ORF 2. At 23.05 the documentary "Love is nothing for cowards" by Michael Cencig and Birgit Foerster will follow.

"To be alone well" - A film by Waltraud Paschinger

“What makes a monk? It is someone who can experience loneliness as a blessing, not as isolation, but as an opportunity ”, Otto Strohmaier, the former abbot of St. Lambrecht, is convinced. But the way there is paved with fear and doubt. For two months now, life has been different and for many who spend the time in COVID-19 quarantine or are sick, it is very lonely. Director Waltraud Paschinger explored the question of whether monks can tell you about coping with loneliness and isolation.
This situation is also new for the Benedictine monks who manage the venerable monastery. But her clearly regulated, always the same daily routine of praying and working gives at first glance the feeling that everything here is unchanged and that painful loneliness is only a distant peripheral phenomenon. A clearly structured daily routine seems to be a secret against loneliness, but the second is an individual struggle, because loneliness is not "to be alone, but to be left alone - to be forsaken by God and / or everyone else". The monks are not giving advice on a better life. It is their stories of lonely decisions, creativity as an outlet or endless loneliness in the midst of people, their conclusions from them and their wisdom of life that touch. “Faith helps, of course. But God does not come at the push of a button, he does not allow himself to be “beamed” whenever you need him ”. Coping with loneliness is work. It leads into the depths of the soul. Allowing them to open up can open up new opportunities. If you switch off the sound from the outside by others, forcibly or voluntarily, you get to know yourself anew and maybe also like. In the midst of the monumental walls of St. Lambrecht Abbey, in the midst of its hidden gardens, its mysterious library and its splendid rooms, solitude turns step by step into an opportunity.

“Love is not for cowards” - a film by Michael Cencig and Birgit Foerster

When two people decide to spend the rest of their lives together, it is seldom predictable what difficulties and obstacles they will face. And looking back, one sometimes wonders how these difficulties and obstacles were overcome. In the documentary "Love is nothing for cowards" (11:05 pm) Michael Cencig and Birgit Foerster listen to five couples as they ask themselves such questions.

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