May 27 – Novice Directors
We are currently hosting a dozen novice directors from our region as they conduct their bi-annual meeting. When not attending their conferences they join us in choir for Liturgy. Today they shared the state of their communities with us. We also had a festive, conversational meal which allowed for additional sharing and relationship building.
The novice directors meet in these sessions to assist one another in the substantial task appointed to them by their communities. These meetings provide an opportunity for them to build relationships and share lessons learned with their peers from the other houses in the United States.
While staying with us, the novice directors toured Trappist Caskets and our farmland, visited Dubuque, saw the Mississippi River, and visited our sisters at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey.
from The Rule of St. Benedict
Chapter 58 – The Procedure for Receiving Brothers
58.6 – A senior chosen for his skill in winning souls should be appointed to look after [newcomers] with careful attention.
from Constitutions and Statutes: of the Monks and Nuns of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance
C. 47 – The Master of Novices
One who is skilled in winning souls is to be chosen as master of novices. He is to be prudent, well formed in the monastic way of life, effective in communicating the wisdom of the Fathers to the juniors and capable of giving them direction.
C. 49 – Formation of Novices
1 – The master of novices should lead newcomers to share in the life of the monastic family. He is to instruct them in monastic observances, especially the Work of God, lectio divina, prayer and manual work.
2 – Even in the school of love obstacles to full affective maturity can occur. It is of great importance that the community provide for the brothers such help as they need to overcome these obstacles. The master of novices should constantly discern their characters and their progress and help them to grow in self-knowledge.