Join author Mike O’Brien for a discussion of his new book, Monastery Mornings.  This warmhearted memoir describes how a small, insecure boy with a vibrant imagination found an unlikely family in the company of monks at the Holy Trinity Abbey, in the mountains of rural Latter-day Saint Utah.

This free event will take place in Huntsville at the Compass Rose Lodge.  It will include a slide show presentation and a book signing by the author.  Books will be available for purchase at the event.

This event is sponsored by the Ogden Valley Land Trust and the Summit Land Conservancy.

EVENT DATE: Thursday, September 9th

TIME: 7-9 pm

LOCATION: Compass Rose Lodge

ADDRESS: 198 S 7400 E, Huntsville, UT 84317

This event is free and open to the public.  Although registration is not required, it would be helpful to get a head count.


Author Michael Patrick O'Brien


A love letter to a community of Trappist monks who provided family when it was needed the most. 

This warmhearted memoir describes how a small, insecure boy with a vibrant imagination found an unlikely family in the company of monks at Holy Trinity Abbey, in the mountains of rural Latter-day Saint Utah. Struggling with his parents’ recent divorce, Michael O’Brien discovered a community filled with warmth, humor, idiosyncrasies, and most of all, listening ears. Filled with anecdotes and delightful “behind the scenes” descriptions of his experiences living alongside the monks as they farmed, prayed, buried their dead, ate, and shared the joys of life, Monastery Mornings speaks to the value of spiritual fatherhood, the lasting impact of positive mentoring, and the stability that the spiritual life can offer to people of all ages and walks of life.


Michael Patrick O’Brien is a writer and lawyer who grew up in Ogden and now is living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mike is a partner at the law firm of Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough. He advises business clients on employment issues and represents many news media outlets on various First Amendment and publication matters. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame (1983) and a law degree from the University of Utah College of Law (1986). Learn more about him at


“In July 1847, Mormon pioneers famously arrived in Utah. A century later in July 1947, some Catholic pioneers followed in their footsteps: Trappist monks bent on creating a contemplative monastery, Holy Trinity Abbey, in the unlikely soil of Mormon country. In this affectionate, winning memoir, Michael O’Brien captures the expansive spirit of late twentieth-century Catholicism in America and the loving warmth of the monks who befriended him.” —Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood and The Next Mormons

“Since their 1947 arrival in Huntsville, the Trappist monks have had a profound impact on the Utah community. Their lives of prayer, simplicity, hard work, and hospitality brought their monastic traditions to the people of our state and made a great difference in so many lives. In this thoughtful memoir, Michael Patrick O’Brien makes sure the legacy of the Trappists will remain, despite the closure of their monastery in 2017. His experience living with the monks as they prayed and sang the Divine Office, worked in the fields or their small gift shop had an impact that supported him emotionally and spiritually in difficult times. This is a tribute to Utah’s Trappist monks and a reminder of their positive influence on Michael O’Brien and numerous others during their presence here.” —The Most Reverend Oscar A. Solis, DD, Bishop of Salt Lake City

“Michael Patrick O’Brien writes, ‘For me, one of the light’s most recognizable garments is the simple black and white robe of a monk, and the light’s ever soothing embrace is the sweet memory of my monastic mornings.’ In that sentence, he sums up his decades-long adventure with the spirited monks of Holy Trinity Abbey, a Catholic oasis in the middle of Utah’s Mormon country. He was fortunate to come of age under the tutelage of Trappist monks, and to enjoy close relationships with men who choose the search for God over the more mundane lures of the world. O’Brien began visiting Holy Trinity in 1972 at the age of 11 at his mother’s urging following his parents’ divorce. The abbey remained a constant in his life until its closure in 2017. This beautiful memoir portrays his monastic friends as both exceptional and ordinary, holy and all-together human. In doing so, O’Brien reminds those of us who have been hanging on by our fingertips why we still love the Catholic Church and what it is called to be: a place of service and mercy. A place where, like Holy Trinity Abbey, the core message is love.” —Judith Valente, co-author of How to Be: A Monk & A Journalist Reflect on Living & Dying, Purpose & Prayer, Forgiveness & Friendship

Monastery Mornings is as much a memoir about a sensitive Irish American boy’s journey into manhood as it is an unabashed love letter to Huntsville, Utah’s beloved Trappist monastery. O’Brien’s detailed history of the monastery and endearing portraits of the monks who helped raise him provide a compelling backdrop to a compassionate, brave personal narrative that both amuses and inspires.” —Jennifer Napier-Pearce, former executive editor, The Salt Lake Tribune

“The author of this charming volume combines his life’s story with that of the famous Utah Trappist monks. A consummate storyteller, O’Brien shares his remarkable journey by weaving the tale of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity monks with his own search for a life of belonging and meaning. The final result is as entertaining as it is enlightening. An extraordinary contribution and achievement.” —Br. Columban Weber, OCSO, Abbey of Gethsemani

“Every monastery has devoted, local frequenters, but this delightful tale is unique in that it extends from childhood well into adulthood with beneficial consequences for the community and even for the state of Utah.” —Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO, Abbey of Gethsemani, Author of In Praise of the Useless LifeAmounting to Nothing and How to Be

IN THE NEWS: Salt Lake Tribune Article


This event is free and open to the public.  Although registration is not required, it would be helpful to get a head count.  Please register below.


Compass Rose Lodge creators, Jeff and Bonnie Hyde, along with their sons Dakota and River, have drawn inspiration from Ogden Valley’s agricultural and industrious heritage to craft a one-of-kind farmhouse experience which will wrap its arms around you. With steam-punk elements and modern amenities, you won’t forget you’re still in the twenty-first century.

With inviting indoor and outdoor common areas, as well as event spaces, Compass Rose is the perfect venue for relaxing couples retreats, adventurous vacations, and even small business summits.

The onsite Huntsville Astronomic and Lunar Observatory (HALO) will be one of the only amenities of its kind in an easily-accessible downtown setting.  Lodge guests and the community will be able to view neighboring celestial bodies with great detail such as the rings of Saturn or Jupiter’s Galilean Moons. Views of spectacular deep sky objects including galaxies, nebulae, and globular clusters await those wishing to peer farther into the heavens.

First Lift Coffee will serve early birds en route to the mountain seeking the first lift of each ski day, as well as those who enjoy sleeping in, and curling up in a comfortable setting with a warm cup of joe. The coffee shop will offer a complete selection of specialty beverages, along with breakfast and baked items.