Longtime Boston Herald photographer Leslie Jones took this photo of Trappist monks at the Abbey of Our Lady of the Valley in Cumberland, R.I., in 1928. His caption for the photo read, ‘Monks in Rhode Island, a very hard picture to get.’
The monks, formally known as the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, did not speak, communicating through sign language. They raised their own food and ate little — mostly bread, vegetables and tea or coffee. Meat was only given to those who were ill.
The Cistercians had originally lived in Nova Scotia until a fire destroyed the Abbey of Petit Clairvaux in 1892. The order bought 530 acres in Cumberland from the Providence Diocese in 1900 and completed the first building in 1902. The church was dedicated in 1928, the year Jones took the photo.