We belong to a 1,500-year tradition of seeking God and witnessing to Christ through a lifelong commitment to prayer and to community living, rooted in the life of faith with Christ as the center. This vowed life overflows into a variety of works and forms of service that respond to the needs of specific social and cultural environments. For over fifteen centuries, Benedictine monastic communities have served the People of God in many ways, including education, health care, agriculture, hospitality, pastoral care, and service to the poor. Whatever forms of work monastic communities undertake, our lives are ultimately committed to the search for God within the context of community and to being transformed through the practices of monastic life and through prayer. We have dedicated ourselves to daily celebration of communal prayer through the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharist and to personal prayer with Sacred Scripture, all centered in the person of Christ.
The distinctiveness of the Benedictine vocation is best exemplified by the profession promises that are unique to monastics: stability and fidelity to the monastic way of life. This commitment to seek God within a particular community for a lifetime, along with fidelity to the unique demands and graces of the monastic way of life, give the Benedictine vocation its distinctive character. The monastic profession formula established by St. Benedict himself in Chapter 58 of his Rule calls us to promise stability, fidelity to the monastic way of life, and obedience.
What is monastic stability?
Monastic stability is sharing the whole of one’s life with a particular community of women or men. Each monastery is an independent entity; therefore, the community that one enters and makes profession is the community of which they are a member until death.
What is fidelity to the monastic way of life?
This aspect of monastic profession is a commitment to embrace all elements of monastic living: the common life, communal prayer, personal prayer, simplicity, celibacy, stewardship, silence and solitude, obedience, work, hospitality, moderation, etc. Fidelity is a life-long endeavor practiced by daily observance of monastic practices. At the heart of this fidelity is the commitment to conversatio, or conversion of heart, a transformation that takes place over a lifetime of fidelity.
What is monastic obedience?
Benedictines practice obedience by honoring the authority of the Rule, the Prioress or Abbot, and the monastic community. Monastic obedience begins with an inner disposition of listening with the ear of one’s heart. Growth in humility occurs as one surrenders one’s own will and follows the will of another, imitating Christ who was obedient to the Father.
Each Sister in our community who has made perpetual monastic profession has committed herself to these promises. Together, we form a community in which each member can live out her commitment.
This Benedictine way of life challenges me daily to live Christ's prophetic Gospel.
Sr. Sara Aiden
The variety of gifts and the various ways we share these gifts in community enriches us all.