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Building Coffins Boosts Monks' Coffers

Brother Felix Leja at work on a casket. The New Melleray Abbey business is on target to grow 125 percent this year.
Allison Aubrey, NPR /
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Brother Felix Leja at work on a casket. The New Melleray Abbey business is on target to grow 125 percent this year.

Not too many businesses are expanding by triple digits these days. But deep in rural Iowa, the Trappist Monks have a business that's growing like gangbusters.

The New Melleray Abbey near Dubuque launched a casket-making business five years ago after their farming operation went under. Now, in between their seven-daily prayer vigils, the monks can be found in the wood-shop sanding and sawing. NPR's Allison Aubrey reports.

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