Are you hastening toward your heavenly home?
Rule of St. Benedict 73:8
Q: What is a monk?
A: A monk is a Christian committed to seeking God through a life of prayer and work in community. Saint Benedict describes cenobites (monks who live in community, as opposed to hermits who live alone) as “those who belong to a monastery, where they serve under a rule and an abbot” (RB 1:1).
Q: What are the vows professed by a Benedictine monk?
A: The vows professed by Benedictines predate the more familiar trio of “poverty, chastity, and obedience,” which became the predominant profession formula in the 13th century with the rise of mendicant orders (Franciscans, Dominicans, etc.). Saint Benedict states in his Rule: “When he (i.e. the new monk) is to be received, he comes before the whole community in the oratory and promises stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience” (RB 58:17).
- Stability – We promise to remain bound to our monastic community for the rest of our lives. This rootedness is a stark contrast to the mobility and lack of long-term commitment in our society.
- Conversatio (Fidelity to Monastic Life) – We promise to live a life of prayer and work guided by the Gospel of Christ and the Rule of our Holy Father Benedict. The vows of poverty and chastity are included in this vow.
- Obedience – We promise to set aside our self-will in order to follow Christ more fully through the guidance and leadership of our Abbot and the other members of the community.
Q: Are there any requirements to become a monk?
A: Saint Benedict tells us in the Rule that “the concern must be whether the newcomer truly seeks God and whether he shows eagerness for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.” (RB 58:7) Ultimately, a man who feels called to the monastic life must have an intense desire to know God more intimately and to seek him through a life of prayer, community, and service. Additionally, candidates should also:
- be between the ages of 18 and 35
- have completely High School and are capable of studies at the college level (though a college degree is not required)
- be in good physical and psychological health
- have received the Sacraments of Initiation within the Catholic Church
Q: What is the process to become a monk?
A: The journey to becoming a monk begins with the initial contact — the inquirer remains in contact with the vocation director and asks questions about our way of life. Men are invited to visit the monastery and experience our way of life in order to help clarify their vocation. Candidates who show interest in entering the community are asked to make at least two, one-week visits, after which they may make a formal application to the postulancy. This is a six month to one year period during which the postulant further discerns his vocation while living, praying and working in community. A two year novitiate follows, which is a time of intense prayer, study and formation in the monastic way of life. If at this point the novice remains steadfast in his vocation, he may petition to profess temporary vows for four years. During the juniorate, the junior monk is assigned a ministry or may also be sent out on mission or for further studies. If a monk has persevered, he petitions the community to profess solemn vows, committing himself to the monastic life for the rest of his life.
Q: What does a monk do all day?
A: A monk’s life is a balance of Ora et Labora, prayer (both private and communal) and meaningful work. Our day is structured around the communal praying of the Liturgy of the Hours. This prayer is made manifest in the work that we do throughout the day — this unceasing prayer gives purpose to our ministries and empowers us to serve God’s people. Here is our typical daily routine in a nutshell:
- 6:00 am – Morning Prayer (Office of Readings & Lauds) followed by time for Lectio Divina and private prayer
- 7:00 am – Breakfast
- 8:00 am – Morning Work Period
- 11:15 am – Eucharist
- 12:00 pm – Midday Prayer followed by Lunch (there is time for rest/personal time after lunch)
- 1:30 pm – Afternoon Work Period (The work day typically ends between 4:00 and 5:00 pm. Monks then have the opportunity to relax, pray, read, exercise, etc. before Vespers.)
- 6:00 pm – Evening Prayer (Vespers)
- 6:35 pm – Supper followed by Recreation
- 7:15 pm – Night Prayer (Compline)
For more information please visit our website: www.benedictinemissionhouse.com
Br. Tobias Dammert, OSB (Vocation Director)
- (402) 352-2177, ext. 303
Br. Damian Cayetano, OSB (Assistant Vocation Director)
- (402) 352-2177, ext. 302