Conception Abbey is happy to be your Benedictine monastery located here in northwest Missouri, where we dedicate everything to the glory of God following the instructions of St. Benedict in his Rule. We’ve been asked as to what exactly is a Benedictine monk, and how does one become one. We would like to give you the answer and a bit of history as a welcome message from Conception Abbey.
First off, a Benedictine monk is a man of the Catholic religion who follows the rule of Saint Benedict of Nursia, a Christian saint and a patron saint of Europe. St. Benedict founded multiple monasteries in Italy. Recognized for his wisdom and leadership, men seeking to live out the monastic life sought him out to be their abbot. There is no evidence that he ever contemplated the spread of his Rule to any monasteries besides those which he had himself established.
The word “monk” comes from the Greek word “monachos” meaning “single” or “solitary”. It means to practice asceticism by living alone or with any number of other monks. Dedicating one’s life to serving others, or voluntarily choosing to leave mainstream society to live life in prayer and contemplation. In Greek the word can apply to women, but in modern English it is for men, as the word “nun” would be used for female monks.
“So that in all things God may be glorified.” – Rule of St. Benedict
Benedictine monks live a monastic life with the purpose of glorifying God in all things. For centuries, Benedictine monks have embraced Benedict’s Rule as their guide to monastic life. The Rule is comprised of 73 short chapters, containing two kinds of wisdom: spiritual and administrative. How to live through Christ and how to run a monastery wisely. Many of the chapters focus on being obedient and humble.
How does a person become a Benedictine Monk?
The following commitments are referred to as the “Benedictine vows” and are promised by a man wanting to become a Benedictine monk.
Promise of Stability – a commitment to one’s monastery
Conversion of Morals – living the monastic lifestyle of chaste celibacy and poverty, following the Gospel according to Saint Benedict’s teachings.
Obedience – working under the guidance of an Abbot, who acts as “father” of the monastic community.
We here at Conception Abbey hope you’ve enjoyed the brief history lesson. If you’re wanting a closer, more personal experience with Benedictine monks, then take a look at Conception Abbey’s Guest Center and our upcoming retreats. If you have been searching for something like this in your life, considering taking the short trip to visit us. If you are considering a vocation as a Benedictine monk, reach out to our vocation’s director to learn more.