The holy Patriarch, Saint Benedict, in writing his rule, wished to found a supernatural society, a school of perfection in the practice of evangelical holiness . . . a center of the pure Christian spirit.
- Blessed Columba Marmion, OSB
Continuing the Tradition
The monks of Mount Angel follow the traditional monastic observances, including those of enclosure, or cloister, silence and the wearing of the monastic habit. The community identifies itself as Benedictine because it observes the Rule written by Saint Benedict of Norcia, who is considered the Father of Western monasticism.
Life of Prayer
In his Rule, our Blessed Father Saint Benedict teaches that "nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God" (43:3). Nothing is to be preferred to the liturgical prayer of the Church. At Mount Angel, the Hours of the Divine Office are chanted in common, with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist as the center and high point of the monastic day.
Throughout the day an atmosphere of quiet prayer and reflection prevails in the monastery. Life for the monks of Mount Angel Abbey is a gentle and regular rhythm of prayer and work. besides gathering in the church six times each day to pray together, the monks spend time alone in contemplative prayer, lectio divina, spiritual reading and personal devotions in the quiet of the monastery. Silence is diligently cultivated in the monastery, especially at night, to maintain a prayerful quiet in the house of God and in the souls of the monks.
The monks of this monastery take the monastic vows of obedience, stability and "conversatio morum," that is often translated as conversion of life or morals. Our obedience is to Christ and His Church. We live this obedience under a Rule and an abbot, who rules the monastery more by example than by legislation: the purpose of the Holy Rule being an assistance and guide in following the Holy Gospel. Stability has been described as the vows that stops us from running from the cross. Community life lived in charity is a great deal of hard work. When faced with challenges, sometimes we'd like to run away, but God always supplies to us sufficient grace and love to resolve our human difficulties, and in the process, be transformed.
The vow of "conversatio" is a promise to daily follow the monastic way of life, which is very much about conversion. If the Holy Rule presumes anything, it likely is that by God's grace, and our cooperation with it, change is possible. Over the years, even entrenched vices can be transformed in to virtues.