St. Joseph’s Abbey, a Benedictine monastery located in St. Benedict, Louisiana has made caskets for their own members for quite some time now. They decided to sell their simple, wood caskets to anyone who is interested. Selling a casket without being a licensed funeral director is illegal in Louisiana, despite the fact that one could well order a casket from Amazon.com or Wal-Mart. According to the ideal of St. Benedict, the monsteries should be able to support themselves by the work of their own hands. Throughout the centuries, Benedictine monasteries have supported themselves in a variety of endeavours ranging from farming, cheesemaking, education, and so forth.
The State of Louisiana was threatening heavy fines and even prison for the abbot and the monks involved in making caskets. The monks decided to take the State of Louisiana to federal court and won. You can read more about the decision of the Hon. Stanwood Duval by clicking here.