In every age, God has raised men and women that feel the call of Christ to be his disciples, and they have responded in a radical form, abandoning the comforts of friends and family in order to dedicate themselves completely to the Lord. The radical nature of this way of life finds a corresponding harmony of the human heart that is “restless until we rest in you”, as St. Augustine says. When the lord walked upon this earth and gathered around him disciples that wanted to be with him, to live with him, to suffer with him — always. A monk ardently desires to follow the Lord in the same way.
What are the requirements to become a monk?
- Men between 20 and 40 years of age
- Practicing Catholics
- Docility towards the Holy Spirit
- Eagerness to wield the powerful and luminous arms of obedience in order to follow Christ as our true King.
There are several phases:
1.) Visitation: A young man comes to experience our type of life, viewing the community over several visits. Many of our candidates leave our summer vocational discernment program.
2.) Postulancy: The period of postulancy is pretty flexible, adapted to the needs of the person. The goal of this time is for the candidate to experience the monastic life in an informal way before the first formal step to becoming a monk.
3.) Novitiate: The period of a year of intense formation of the human and monastic virtues. The themes of study include: monastic history, monastic literature (selected texts from our library of monastic traditions), the Rule of St. Benedict, the Psalms, Gregorian Chant and Latin. The ultimate test of this time is to see if a man is truly disposed to the monastic life and is prepared to convert his heart, if he is able to live in community, and if he has the necessary maturity for this type of life.
4.) Simple vows: A temporary profession of three years, in which the young man gradually assumes major responsibilities of the monastery. It is during this period of time that a monk can begin his studies for the priesthood if he is called to this vocation.
5.) Solemn vows.
6.) Monastic Priesthood: The monastic tradition has responded to the priesthood in different ways at different times. In the 4th century desert tradition, monks tended to avoid the priesthood, because it was considered too sublime, too high of a calling for a lowly monk, and thus a temptation against humility. St. Benedict introduced something new into the tradition: he speaks about having monks ordained in order to serve the sacramental and liturgical needs of the community, provided that they remain good and humble monks and don’t put on airs because of their priesthood! With the passing of the centuries, it became common practice for more and more monks to be ordained until at a certain point, Church law required that all monks be ordained; the non-ordained were called lay brothers. After the Second Vatican Council, the canonical distinction between choir monks and lay brothers was abolished. Nowadays, the criteria for monastic priesthood are basically two:
- Does this particular monk have a calling to the priesthood?
- Does the community need priests for sacramental ministry within the monastery, for ministry to guests, for the apostolic works of the community?
For Vocation Inquiries please include some brief information about yourself and send your inquiry to the Vocations Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.