Discerning monastic life is a careful process.
By working through formation in stages, a man can develop the habits of heart and mind necessary to profess his final vows with freedom and joy.
Formation involves sharing in the work and prayer of the monastic community, personal lectio divina and daily classes. A candidate’s studies include monastic history and spirituality, the Rule of St. Benedict, and Sacred Scripture. He also meets regularly with a spiritual director and the Director of Vocations, who guide him through the formation process.
If you are a man between the ages of 21-45 and interested in learning more about monastic life, contact our Director of Vocations.
Almighty God, give me wisdom to perceive You, intelligence to understand You,
diligence to seek You,
patience to wait for You…
If a man is discerning the life of a monk at Saint Andrew’s Abbey, we encourage him to make a retreat with us. This allows him to become acquainted with the monks and experience firsthand the life of the community. He may then apply for acceptance as an observer.
Observers live in the monastery and share fully in the community’s life of prayer and work. After about six months of observership, the observer petitions the senior council of the monastery for acceptance as a novice. If accepted, the candidate is received to live inside the cloister.
The candidate begins his novitiate with the ceremony of investiture, at which he receives the black Benedictine habit and a new name. As a novice, the candidate enters more deeply in the monastic way of life through study, work and prayer within the monastic grounds. At the end of his novitiate, the conventual Chapter determines whether the novice should make his first vows. If accepted, the novice professes “simple” vows, which are binding for three years. This is a commitment to live out his monastic vows with fidelity and fervor.
When a candidate has professed simple vows, he initiates his juniorate. During these three years the monk continues his studies and formation, often at a Benedictine university or seminary. At the end of his juniorate the Chapter determines whether the candidate should profess solemn vows.
Upon acceptance for solemn profession, the candidate becomes a full member of the monastic community and the Chapter. The monk professes solemn vows as a lifelong commitment to live the commands of the Gospel through fidelity to the monastic vows of obedience, stability and “conversatio morum” (ongoing conversion of life).
While every member of our community is a monk, some are also priests. During the course of his formation, a man may also discern a call to the priesthood. The daily cycle of prayer and work, lectio divina and study, remains the same for all members of the monastic community, whether ordained or not. All are called to that life of mutual service and growth, nourished by the Eucharist and the Divine Office, as prescribed by the Rule of St. Benedict.