On Sunday, July 9, 2017 Fr. Stan appointed a committee, selected by the community, to plan for the future growth and development of Mepkin Abbey. The Committee members are Br. John Corrigan, Fr. Guerric Heckel, Fr. Gerard Jonas, Fr. Columba Caffrey and Fr. Joseph Tedesco, the committee’s chairperson. They submitted their first proposal, for a new program called the Mepkin Affiliate Program (MAP), to the whole community on Wednesday, August 22nd which was unanimously accepted by the community.
Vision Statement for the Mepkin Affiliate Program – MAP
The Mepkin Affiliate Program is an opportunity to make a temporary commitment to living the Cistercian monastic way of life.
We recognize the gift our Cistercian heritage is to us. As we move into the future, we continue to invite others into a lifetime commitment to this way of life, while also wishing to share this contemplative tradition with a broader community. We currently offer the opportunity to make a temporary commitment to the Cistercian way of life through our Monastic Guest Program Through MAP, we are adding two opportunities: the Monastic Institute and the Monastic Residency Program. We see these new programs as a way of continuing and expanding the inter-spiritual experience we have fostered through the long history of our Monastic Guest Program. (Inter-spiritual experiences differ from ecumenical or interfaith experiences in that there is a sharing from a more contemplative and experiential level. So, the question becomes not so much “What do you believe?” but “How do you pray?”- “How do you experience God, the Holy, the Sacred?”)
This new endeavor seeks to respond to the challenges of today’s culture and the hopes and dreams of those who seek God in the 21st century.
Three Components of the Mepkin Affiliate Program
Monastic Guest Program
Established decades ago at Mepkin, the Monastic Guest Program is for men of any faith tradition who come for a month immersion experience of monastic life, often as a personal transition time, while sharing in the activities that occupy the monk’s day.
The Monastic Institute
This is a new five-week (June 28 – August 3, 2018) program that explores the Rule of Benedict and The Core Elements of Cistercian Life and what relevance they may contribute to providing rich inter-spiritual experiences for men of various religious traditions. Participants engage fully in all the activities of the monks – formal prayer seven times a day, personal prayer, manual labor, some community meetings, spiritual companioning, formal classes, and contemplative dialogue. The Institute also serves as a requirement to begin the Residency Program, and for some part of the postulancy for those who wish to explore full membership in our community or participate in the monastic residency program.
The Monastic Residency Program
This new program entails a temporary year commitment as an affiliate member to living the Cistercian way of life. Men who are accepted into the program engage fully in all of the activities of the monks – formal prayer seven times a day, personal prayer, manual labor, some community meetings, spiritual companioning and formal classes.
The Mepkin Affiliate Program is for:
- Those wishing to have an integral experience of monastic life as the monks live it.
- Those discerning a call to full membership in a monastic order.
- Divinity students or seminarians who would like to explore this aspect of our Christian heritage and what relevance it may have to today’s world.
- College students wishing to take a gap year or a time to prayerfully discern their future.
- Those already living in an intentional community or wishing to be part of one.
- Those who have recently retired or have some distance from the experience of the death of a spouse and others in a time of transition.
- Members of other religious orders and diocesan priests.
- Those on sabbatical, particularly those serving in ministry.