March 27, 2007

Women's monasteries and convents in crisis: not enough room for the new recruits

Go read about it on the blog of the Anchoress.
Click HERE for it.


Anonymous Kevin said...

Any similar "round-up" of the men in Bendictine and other monasteries? Where should an older (43) discerning man consider consecrated life?

12:36 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Click on "Men's IRL Affilates" on the upper right of the following page.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Loyolalaw98 said...


I think Kevin's question is pertinent. I encounter a number of older people who feel they have vocations, but:

1.) have totally put it off, or

2.) Did enter into seminaries in their 20's and were turned off by the "nonsense" that did/does exist.

I've noticed too that the Benedictines, e.g., you at Prince of Peace, also Mt. Angel - seem to have the broadest age limits.

Why do you think that is?

Perhaps the Benedictine quest for closeness to God - what Marmion calls the common Benedictine aim "of knowing God in and for Himself," deters all but the serious regardless of the age.

Also - I think that the Benedictines, over and above all orders, have taken to heart the VCII elimination of the "second class citizenship" that brothers used to face.

Many other orders have "sidestepped" this by really elimating brothers, or by being exclusively an order of brothers, but not a mix of both brothers and priests. I know at mt. Angel they recently elected a brother to their governance council.

I'd really be interested to hear you opine on this Father Stephanos, either here or in a separate post.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

The apostolate of every monastery is not about ministries, running schools, retreat houses, helping parishes.

The practical "format" or context of Benedictine monasticism IS community: living with peers both younger AND older.

Additionally, the community builds its daily life around the schedule of the Liturgy of the Hours and the private prayer of each monk.

Those two elements, community and liturgy, constitute the "sine qua non" form of Benedictine monasticism.

After that, the possibility of other activities (schools, retreats, parochial ministries, etc.) are non-essential extras.

Other orders may define their charisms around teaching, preaching retreats, helping or running parishes, etc. Benedictines are not those other orders.

That being said, we accept older men only with the concern as to whether or not they are able to live in community in a responsible and virtuous way.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Loyolalaw98 said...


Thanks, as ever you're erudite and concise!

While some of your sacerdotal brethren are the former, very few combine it with the latter.


4:03 PM  
Anonymous Jeron said...

I, too, am an older person (36) discerning a vocation; a "2nd career vocation" as I hear we're called. I don't have internet at home & the nazi webmaster where I work blocks certain websites under the filter of "tradtional religions," so unfortunately I wasn't able to check out I've visited 4 Benedictine communities and 2 Trappists since I began actively discerning 2 years ago. This weekend I'll be visiting my 5th Benedictine House & cannot wait! Still looking for that community that feels like "home."

12:41 PM  

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