The call of God to the monastic life is a specific one. The word ‘monk’ derives from the Greek word ‘monos’, meaning ‘one’, ‘single’, ‘only’, and refers to a monk’s single aim or intention. For the monk, this single aim or intention is the search for God – to respond to the desire he feels in his heart from God for God and union with him now and for eternity in the life of the Blessed Trinity, the three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who invite all people to share in their communion of love.
The monastery is the place where he lives out this search with his brethren. To find God he has to become mindful of him. The prayer, study and work that make up an ordinary day are all organized to help him remain closely united to God at all times. Silence is also practised to help him avoid sins of the tongue by avoiding unnecessary talk.
You may feel God is calling you to live in this way. It is a challenging and disciplined life and, if lived with integrity, will lead directly to God. However, it is one way. There are other equally valid ways. So, if you feel a call, it needs to be tested. How does one begin?
Firstly, if the call is persistent, discuss your feelings with a priest you can trust and feel at ease with. You may be a little afraid at first of even admitting to yourself that you feel called. So you need to find the right person. After perhaps lengthy discussions, you will be in a position to know whether a visit to us would be appropriate for you.
The following are the criteria are used in considering a man’s suitability for the monastic life.
He will have read the Rule of St Benedict, particularly the Prologue, Chapter 4 on the Tools for Good Works, Chapter 5 on Obedience, Chapter 6 on Restraint of Speech, Chapter 7 on Humility, Chapter 58 on the Procedure for Receiving Brothers and Chapter 72 on the Good Zeal of Monks.
- He will be between 21 and 44 years of age
- He will have been baptised and confirmed in the faith of the Roman Catholic Church
- He will be in good physical and mental health
- He will have a sound basic education
- He will have some experience of regular and stable employment
- He will be able to work cooperatively as part of a team
- He must be free of debts and family ties
If you fulfil these criteria, ask the priest to write a reference for you. Men who are members of other Christian ecclesial communities are also welcome to apply, but they may only be considered for entry into the Community after two years’ incorporation into the Catholic Church.
You will then be in a position to make an application to visit to us. The first visit is brief, usually only for a few days. You would occupy a room in the Guest Wing. These visits would continue over a period of months. If the call seems to intensify, and we think it appropriate, a two-week monastic experience would be arranged. During this you would live in the Novitiate and take part fully in all aspects of the daily life and work of the Community. After such a visit it would be determined if entry as a Postulant would be appropriate, before receiving the Benedictine habit, as a Novice. This period of discernment lasts for two years. If you wish to continue, the Chapter, or senior members of the Community, then decides if you are ready to take Simple Vows for three years. These are renewable yearly, if appropriate, for up to nine years. However, most candidates know after three years if they want to give their life to God in Solemn Vows for life.