Sharing in Our Life
The monastic community of New Melleray Abbey is rooted in a living tradition of Christian spirituality. The wisdom found in Benedictine and Cistercian ways of living deepen and guide the contemplative stirrings found in the human heart. As an expression of the hospitality central to the Rule of St. Benedict, the monks of New Melleray treasure the gift of our way of life and desire to share it with others who are seeking to deepen their commitment to Christ in the spirit of St. Benedict. There are several ways guests may share in our way of life.
1. Retreatants and Visitors: Our guest house has 22 rooms for women and men of all faiths who are invited to come on weekends or for a few days during the week to make personal retreats, or to come as visitors.
2. Monastic Center Associates: For many years New Melleray has welcomed men of all faiths to participate in our Monastic Center. Four rooms are available for them in a reserved section of the guest house. The Monastic Center is offered to men who want to either further their vocational discernment, or to those who have already discovered their calling in life but feel the need for renewal. They may stay for several days or even a couple weeks. Men in the Monastic Center join us in choir to share in chanting the Liturgy of the Hours. They may also join in our manual labor each afternoon. Participants in the Monastic Center have meals in one of the guest house dining rooms reserved for them.
3. Long-Term Guests: Another way to share in our way of life is our Long-Term Guest Program. Men who want to come for one to twelve months are invited to live within the community. They may come to experience the Benedictine way of life more intensely but are not yet ready to make a life-time commitment to a monastic vocation. Or, they may be attracted to monastic life but not necessarily considering it for a lifelong vocation. Long-Term Guests have rooms in the enclosure alongside those of the monks and they have a place in choir for the Liturgy of the Hours and a place in our dining room for their meals. These men help us with their labor and talents. By their generous service and longer residence in the monastery Long-term Guests grow in their own lives of prayer and spiritual development. They will first participate in the Monastic Center in order to discern whether or not a longer commitment is desirable. There are no age limits. They may be married or single, priests, deacons, or laity. Long-Term Guests need to be in good health and have insurance. They are covered by our Worker’s Comp in case of an injury at work. Character references and background checks are expected.
4. Long-term Guests as Monastic Brothers: A fourth way Long-Term Guests may share in our monastic life is by becoming a Monastic Brother (also called Family Brothers) with an ongoing commitment to the community, alternating between living with us for limited periods of time and living in their own homes. Their first commitment is to their family, their spouse, their own lives. But when their circumstances allow it, they may share more fully in our way of life. They have permanent rooms in the enclosure and meals with the monks. They participate in the Liturgy of the Hours in choir and in our manual labor. There are no time limits on the length of their intermittent residences with us. It will vary from one person to another depending on their other commitments. By immersing themselves more fully in life according to the Rule of St. Benedict, but without vows, they seek to grow in their own lives of prayer and love of God.