Perhaps you or someone you know is interested in discerning a vocation to monastic life. Men and women have been drawn to the life of monastic prayer for centuries. In the Christian tradition, the Rule of St. Benedict has served as one of the major models for monastic living for more than 14 centuries.
The Order of the Holy Cross is a Benedictine community of men in the Episcopal Church. The central expression of what Benedictine monasticism is all about is summed up in the vow made at profession: Stability, Conversion to the monastic way of life, and Obedience.
STABILITY is a commitment to the common life, prayer and work of the Order. It expresses the belief that the monk will encounter God in this community of men whom God has given. The search for God then becomes a shared one.
CONVERSION TO THE MONASTIC WAY OF LIFE is an expression of our willingness to be drawn deeper into relationship with God. It includes celibate chastity and holding all possessions in common. It calls us to common prayer as well as private prayer, mutual service, and silence.
OBEDIENCE is the promise to listen to God with an open heart and with the willingness to act on what we hear. In particular, it binds us to listen attentively to what God is making known in Scripture, in the Rule, through our brothers in community, and through those whom we choose to place in authority.
Entrance into the Order of the Holy Cross is a gradual process that begins by contacting the formation director listed below to begin a process of discernment to explore your vocation. During this time of discernment, visits to Mount Calvary Monastery are encouraged so that you can begin to observe our life and develop relationships with the brothers stationed here.
When you and the formation director mutually agree that you are ready to move further in your vocational process, a two-week aspirant visit at Mount Calvary is required. During those two weeks you will live at the monastery, participating in the life and work of the community. Following that visit, if both you and the community think you should move forward, you would be invited to make formal application for admission to our novitiate.
Upon admission to the novitiate as a postulant (your first six months) you are introduced to the Order’s life and ministry. The purpose of the postulancy is for the candidate and the community to discern through his life and work in the community that he has a vocation to the monastic life as it is lived in the Order of the Holy Cross.
At the end of the first six months, if the postulant chooses to continue, and the community consents, he is admitted as a novice and receives the monastic habit. It is during the next year that the basic foundation of the monastic life is laid.
After completing the novitiate, the novice with the consent of the community, makes his annual profession, renewing his vow each year until he feels ready to make a life commitment. Perhaps God is inviting you—or someone you know—to explore more deeply the possibility of a monastic vocation. If so, write to our Director of Formation, Br. Adam McCoy, OHC at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you feel ready to do so, you may want to attach your completed Introductory Questionnaire to your message to Brother Adam.
The principal resource for all Christian monks, indeed, for all Christians, is Holy Scripture. Holy Cross Benedictine monks read, study and pray Scripture daily. In both the Anglican and the monastic traditions the daily recitation of scripture-based prayer, called The Divine or Daily Office, is fundamental. A person who wants to become a monk will want to make this his daily practice. The Book of Common Prayer provides the necessary framework for Anglicans. A helpful website for the Daily Office is: www.missionstclare.com.
The Rule of St. Benedict
- Timothy Fry, OSB, RB 1980: The Rule of Saint Benedict in English. (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1981)
- Kardong, Terrence, OSB, Benedict’s Rule: A Translation and Commentary. (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1996)
- Esther De Waal, c/OHC, A Life Giving Way: A Commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict. (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1995)
- Online text of Benedict’s Rule.
Benedictine Spirituality and History
- Jean LeClerq, OSB, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture. (New York: Fordham University Press, 1961)
- King, Peter, Western Monasticism: A History of the Monastic Movement in the Latin Church. (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publ., 1999). Contains a chapter on Anglican monasticism.
- Columba Stewart, OSB, Prayer and Community: The Benedictine Tradition. (London: Darton, Longman, and Todd, 1998)
- Michael Casey, OCSO, A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict’s Teaching on Humility. (Petersham: St. Bede’s Publications, 1999)
- Michael Casey, OCSO, Strangers to the City. (Brewster: Paraclete Press, 2005)
- Esther De Waal, c/OHC, Living with Contradiction: Reflections on the Rule of St. Benedict. (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989)
- Michael Casey, OCSO, Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina. (Liguori: Triumph, 1996)
- Innocenzo Gargano, OSB, Holy Reading: An Introduction to Lectio Divina. (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2007)
- Mariano Magrassi, OSB, Praying the Bible: An Introduction to Lectio Divina. (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1998)
On the Order of the Holy Cross
- Adam Dunbar McCoy, OHC, Holy Cross: A Century of Anglican Monasticism (Morehouse, 1987)
- Richard Paul Vaggione, OHC, The Rule of James Otis Sargent Huntington and his successors (The Order of the Holy Cross, 1991)