Today, monasteries are refuges from the frantic pace of modern life; tranquil retreats insulated from the events, debate and hubbub that dictate life outside their walls. But, it wasn't always like this. For 1,000 years monasteries were at the very heart of public life in the British Isles. Join Dr. Janina Ramirez as she brings the past to life and relates how the monasteries forged a sense of national identity, helped shape the world around them and created a dazzling millennium of art. This program covers monastic revival and expansion under Norman rule, during which orders amassed land and wealth and built large scale abbeys. The Cistercians inspired a return to asceticism and friars served the urban poor, but British monasteries soon grew beyond moral and financial means. This film includes a discussion of music, art, healthcare, and scholarship during the monastic Golden Age.