Monastery Life

Our life as Benedictine monks of Mount Angel Abbey is guided by the Rule of St. Benedict. We follow a communal schedule of prayer and work that includes gathering six times each day for prayer. We also spend time alone in contemplative prayer, spiritual reading (lectio divina), and personal devotions.

Our Prayer

In his Rule, our Holy Father St. 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, which is the primary work of Benedictines. The Benedictine monks of Mount Angel Abbey build each day around the hours of the Divine Office, 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. Life for a Benedictine monk of Mount Angel Abbey is a gentle and regular rhythm of prayer and work. In addition to gathering in the Abbey church six times each day for common prayer, 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 help maintain a prayerful quiet in the house of God and in the souls of the monks.

Our Work

At the center of a Benedictine monk’s life are prayer, work, and Christian brotherhood. Mount Angel’s principal apostolic works are the operation of Mount Angel Seminary, Saint Benedict Guesthouse and Retreat Center, the Abbey library, and pastoral ministry. Each monk brings his gifts to the monastery, and all kinds of work are valued and shared. For example, one may work in the kitchens, on the grounds, or in the laundry, as well as in a position of management and administration. The seminary provides the opportunity to study and teach. Of special value, are the arts – music, iconography, painting, woodworking, calligraphy, mosaic and graphic arts. There is also ample opportunity to perform the work of pastoral care, preaching, sacramental ministry, spiritual direction, and parish assistance.

Our Community Life

Personal presence, friendship, recreation, and conversation are important elements of our community life. The monk is not alone in his search for God and the desire to be conformed to Christ. Through communal living, we learn to assist and to support one another. The Benedictine monks of Mount Angel experience fraternity daily as we pray, work, relax, recreate and study together.

The Vows

The Benedictine monks of Mount Angel Abbey 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. The abbot rules the monastery more by example than by legislation; the Holy Rule is 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 sufficient grace and love to resolve our human difficulties, and in the process, be gradually transformed.

Iconography 3The 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 into virtues.

“The man of God, Benedict, among the many wonderful works that made him famous in this world, was also conspicuous for his teaching: for he wrote a Rule for monks, remarkable for discretion and rich in instruction. If anyone desires to know more deeply the life and character of the man, he may find in the ordinances of the Rule the exact image of his whole government: for the holy man cannot possibly have taught otherwise than as he lived.”
– Pope Saint Gregory the Great

Commentaries on the Holy Rule of St. Benedict

Introducing Benedict’s Rule
Michael Casey, O.C.S.O. & David Tomlins, O.C.S.O.

Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict
Aquinata Bochmann, O.S.B.

The Rule of Saint Benedict: A Doctrinal and Spiritual Commentary
Adalbert de Vogué, O.S.B.

RB 1980 in Latin and English with Notes
Timothy Fry, O.S.B., et al

Commentary on the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict
Dom Paul Delatte, O.S.B.

Benedict’s Rule: A Translation & Commentary
Terrence G. Kardong, O.S.B.

The Monastic Horarium – the Daily Schedule

Rise before 5:00 am

Office of Vigils 5:20 am

Lectio Divina 6:00 am

Office of Lauds 6:30 am.

Grand Silence ends.

Breakfast 7:00 am

Conventual Sung Mass 8:00 am

Morning work begins 9:00 am

Angelus & Mid-day Office 12 pm

Lunch 12:15 pm

Afternoon work begins 1:30 pm

Afternoon work ends 4:00 pm

Office of Vespers 5:15 pm

Angelus & Supper 6:00 pm

Community Recreation 6:40 pm

Grand Silence begins.

Office of Compline 7:30 pm

Retire for the evening.

Time for spiritual reading or study 8:00 pm

The Monastic Community

Photo of Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, 12th abbot of Mount Angel Abbey.Father Abbot
Right Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B.
Born October 24, 1951
Professed a monk of Mount Angel Abbey on September 8, 1974
Ordained a priest in 1981
Elected 12th Abbot of Mount Angel on March 12, 2016
Received the Abbatial Blessing on April 28, 2016

Fr. Teresio Caldwell, OSB, Prior of Mount Angel AbbeyFather Prior
Very Reverend Teresio Caldwell, O.S.B.
Born September 25, 1979
Professed a monk of Mount Angel Abbey on September 8, 2003
Ordained a priest on June 14, 2014

Fr. John Paul Le, OSB, subprior of Mount Angel Abbey.Father Subprior
Reverend John Paul Le, O.S.B.
Born February 28, 1983
Professed a monk of Mount Angel Abbey on September 8, 2009
Ordained a priest on June 19, 2015