The Cistercians Monastic Life

Votive Candles and CrossThe unique significance of the monastic vocation is the humble and persevering search of God, incarnate in Christ Jesus.

This search finds concrete and visible expression in the Monastery, situated in a solitary place, where a community gathered together by God chooses to live according to the Gospel, as expressed in the Rule of St. Benedict and the Cistercian Tradition.

The Monastery becomes in such a manner a school of charity, where nothing is preferred to the love of Christ. The Cistercians give themselves entirely to God, who calls them to this way of life. Conversion of heart requires them to take up every day the asceticism of humility in order to experience the joy of growth in love. Self-renunciation is expressed in the promise binding the sister for life to the monastic way as practiced by her own community. As an image of the living Church, the monastic community is a place of prayer and communion with the entire people of God, serving them in a spirit of humility as hidden apostles of Christ.

The absence of outside pastoral or social works and separation from the world allow all the members to dedicate their energies to the construction of a living Church in miniature, where God dwells and shares his life with mankind.

Continual prayer, which is the fundamental charisma of the monastic life, finds expression in the following elements:

  1. The celebration of the Eucharist: This sacrament of the redemptive grace of Christ, centre and summit of the Liturgy, unites the Community ever closer to God and to each other.
  2. The praise of God: The singing of the psalms raises to God in the name of the Church the petitions, desires, sufferings, and song of thanksgiving of all people. The hours of the day and vigils before sunrise, within the rhythm of the seasons of the Church’s year, converge in the unique celebration of the Mystery of Christ.
  3. Silence: An atmosphere of silence fosters vigilance of heart and helps each one to dwell in mindfulness of God, in communion with the Community.
  4. Lectio Divina: Spiritual reading, meditated personally and shared and verified in community dialogue, aims to deepen knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, the Mystery of Christ and salvation history, in which each person is involved according to God’s plan.
  5. Manual work: This has always been highly regarded in the Cistercian tradition.  Manual work enables the community to earn its living and expresses at the same time an authentic solidarity with all workers.  It colours the monastery’s life-style of simplicity, poverty and hospitality. Work helps each person to grow in the gift of self and to advance in a responsible collaboration with her sisters.
  6. Daily schedule: The entire monastic day is arranged to involve the whole person in the sole service of the will of God, in the very place which God has prepared for our joy and salvation.
  7. Reception of guests: The monastic community is always open to welcome visitors who wish to join in their prayer both in the liturgical celebrations as well as in the silence and solitude of natural beauty. A guest house provides rooms for those who wish to make a period of retreat. This is especially important in today’s world where people can rarely find a place of quiet in order to listen to their own heart. The community also offers the possibility of personal conversation with one of the sisters for spiritual guidance and group discussion.
  8. Centre of Spirituality and Inter-religious Encounter: The monastic community welcomes guests of all religious views. It is a place of spiritual search and encounter that fosters the unity of all peoples in respect and dialogue, fostering peace and harmony, in a setting of natural beauty where all can grow in appreciation of the need to work together for the good of the planet.

 

Do you want to know how to become a monk or a nun? Visit this page of our Order.

You can entrust to our Community your intentions of prayer through our Contacts page.