“Truly as we advance in this way of life and faith, our hearts open wide, and we run with unspeakable sweetness of love on the path of God's commandments. "
The Rule of St. Benedict,Prologue
Everyone helps out with the chores (washing dishes, cleaning the monastery, gardening and so on) and takes up in turn the duties connected with the Mass and the Daily Office: bell-ringer, reader, acolyte and the like. The daily maintenance of the facilities and grounds of the monastery is a common responsibility.
All such work is secondary to a common life of praying and working together, and in that context the communal prayer, the chanting of the Office, that Benedict calls "The work of God," has a special place. So we space these hours out in a traditional way, rather than grouping or combining them to allow time for other work (as the more active monasteries must).
Study and lectio divina are perhaps next in value for us. But the monks in fact engage in a variety of jobs, developing their own skills and preferences: take care of the farm and sheep, the orchard, the business office, maintaining the buildings and vehicles, developing and cataloging the library, and so on. We have always had monks who developed their talents in music and the arts and crafts: painting , ceramics, book-binding. Because of our openness to guests, monks are often called upon for formal or informal conferences with individuals or groups of guests.
The stages in becoming a monk are traditional in Benedictine communities, with only slight variations in terminology and timing.
An observer spends a month to six weeks "looking over" the community, attending the Hours, helping with the chores and the like. Initially, he stays in the men's guest house, but in a few days he moves into the cloister. Usually, one asks for observer status after having visited the monastery a few times. But persons coming from a distance may indicate their desire to be an observer without that.
A postulant is someone the monastic community recognizes as a possible candidate. Postulants live in the community (sit in choir) and take a fuller part in the community life. The length of postulancy varies, usually from six to eighteen months.
Given the mutual agreement of the candidate and the community, the Church requires a canonical novitiate of one year. The novice wears the Benedictine scapular, sits in the choir and participates fully in the community life.
After completion of the novitiate, the candidate may then make a simple profession, consisting of three-year vows. He is then a full-fledged but "junior member" of the community. These temporary vows may be repeated.
To continue as a member of the community, the monk must make a permanent commitment. "So that, never departing from his guidance, but perservering in his teaching in the monastery until death, we may by patience participate in the passion of Christ; that we may deserve also to be partakers of his kingdom." (Conclusion to the Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict)
As the "elders" of the community, the solemnly professed monks are the voting members of the monastery and serve as advisers to the prior or abbot.
Since ours is not an "active" monastery, there is not a great need to have many of the monks ordained as priests. Our primary vocation is to be monks. We can arrange for priestly studies and ordination for brothers as the occasion arises.
Status: Actively recruiting new members to live the monastic life of St. Benedict.