Becoming a Monk in St. Benedict's Monastery

Life in St. Benedict’s Monastery combines contemplative and active elements in a way typical of our Congregation. The members are lay monks or priests. Very important is our life in community. This way of life is different from many others and requires a certain human and spiritual development.

A person taking into consideration this way of life should be an active member of a catholic community (parish) and discern his “vocation” for a good while.

An individual, who converted to the Catholic Church from another religion or returned to the Church after a longer period of “un-churched” life, cannot immediately aspire for monastic life. He must first settle, deepen and discern.

It depends on your age, family background, and life history, whether you can apply after graduation from school more or less immediately. Your family might yet count on your help. Also for reasons of personal development, it might be good for you to work first for some time. The experience of a life on your own, of earning and using money, of working together with all sorts of persons, including the opposite sex, may be a great chance for your personal maturation.

When you feel it is time to do the first step, you may call or write the Prior or the Vocation Director of the monastery. At the appropriate time, you will be invited to visit the community for a period not longer than two weeks. You are then an “observer.” Several visits of this kind may follow depending on certain circumstances such as the distance of your home or the place where you are living from the monastery and the costs of traveling.

When the vocation director finds it appropriate, he gives you the list of documents and personal items you must bring along. Then, you collect the documents and bring or send them by mail as early as possible. As soon as you have received the information that you are accepted, you may enter the monastery at any time as an aspirant.

If you are working on a good job and preparing for monastic life, you should quit your work only when you were already accepted for entrance to the monastery. It might even be advisable to make an agreement with your employer that he accepts you again, if ever you leave the community during the formation period.

The steps of monastic formation are the following:

Aspirancy lasts for several months depending mostly on practical circumstances.

Postulancy takes about one year.

Novitiate lasts one full year and is the official preparation for religious life. At the beginning, the novice is given a monastic name. At the end, he pronounces the First Monastic Vows for a limited period of time.

Juniorate is the period under Temporary Vows. It lasts at least four years. During this period, the young monk is still under formation and prepares for his future ministry in the Community and in the Church.

The aim of all these steps is Solemn Profession. The monk pronounces his vows for lifetime and commits himself totally to God, to the Church, and to the Community. For those who have prepared, after some time follows Ordination to the Deaconate and Priesthood.

The basic requirements for a young man considering monastic life can therefore summed up as follows:

He must be:

  • 22 to 36 years old
  • a practicing Catholic
  • physically and mentally healthy
  • a college graduate or a graduate of any 2-year vocational/technical course
  • free from obligations toward parents and family members
  • free from any financial debts (e.g. unpaid loans)

For further information contact the Vocation Director.

 


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