Oct 16 – Who Are These Wearing White

Observers at New Melleray AbbeyWe are blessed to have two observers in our community right now. These are the men you see in choir wearing the white smocks rather than the religious habit. One is a diocesan priest from Pennsylvania and the other is a lay man from California. Both men participated in our Monastic Center program before asking to be accepted as Observers within the community.

Observership at New Melleray is the first step inside the community for a man discerning God’s call to monastic life. As with our two observers, he has already been in conversation with the vocation director and has spent time here at the monastery in our Monastic Center as part of his discernment process. At his request and with the endorsement of the vocation director and the support of our Formation Committee he is admitted to our 6-week observer program (6-months for ordained priests). An observer receives a full immersion in our life as he joins in our full liturgical schedule, lives in a monastic cell within the enclosure, eats in our refectory, shares in our manual labor within the monastery and at Trappist Caskets, and participates in all other aspects of day-to-day monastic community life. He also enters the first-stage of our formation program which includes an introduction to monastic history and spirituality and the practice of lectio divina. With the aid of the abbot and the novice master he observes monastic life from the inside, processes the experiences, and continues the work of discerning God’s call.

Are you interested in monastic life?

Visit our website to learn more about Stages of Growth in Cistercian Monastic Life at New Melleray. or download our Vocation Brochure.  

Would you like to learn more about the process of discerning God’s call and how we can help you hear His call?

Contact our vocation director to discuss how God is challenging you to seek Him in religious life.

 vocationdirector@newmelleray.org or 563.588.2319 x199 

Does a monastic observership at New Melleray capture your heart and imagination?

Consider attending a Come Away Weekend or spending time in our Monastic Center Program to start down the way to God in monastic life. 


Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” (Rev. 7:13)

from Constitutions and Statutes of the Monks and Nuns of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance:
C.46: Admission of Brothers

1 – Newcomers to monastic life are to be received kindly, but not easily admitted into the community. By frequent visits to the monastery they become acquainted with the members of the community. They are told about all the hard and difficult things that are to be found on the way to God. They are to be received as brothers only if they manifest the spiritual attitude needed for monastic life and give evidence of adequate maturity and health. When these qualities are present their desire to embrace this life can be recognized as an indication of God’s call and of their intention of truly seeking God with all their heart. 

An Observer in the Monastic Choir at New Melleray Abbey