This year’s Monastic Institute will be held June 28 – July 31. The annual Institute offers men the opportunity to come and participate fully in our way of life.
A typical monastic day begins with rising at 3:40 a.m. Our first community prayer is Vigils at 4:00 a.m. in the Church. We will make this first service optional for those in The Monastic Institute.
Your first monastic activity will be 20 minutes of Silent Prayer in the Retreat Center Chapel at 5:15 a.m. followed by 20 minutes of Individual or Communal Lectio Divina (praying with the scriptures) in the retreat center commons. At 6:30 a.m. we gather again in the Church for morning prayer, Lauds. Breakfast is available from 5:00 – 7:15 a.m. At 7:30 A.M. Eucharist is celebrated in Church followed by fifteen minutes of thanksgiving, then a short prayer, Terce, to begin the workday. Work lasts from 8:45 until 11:30 a.m. Midday prayer is in the Church at noon followed by our main meal at which there is reading (or music on Sundays and Feasts.) The other two meals are taken in silence.
After a one-hour rest period the afternoon is devoted to exploring the foundational aspects of our monastic way of life, The Rule of Benedict and the Essential Elements of Cistercian life. Through a form of contemplative interspiritual dialogue with members of our community and the participants we will pursue what relevance these aspects of the monastic tradition have for those seeking God in the 21st century. This will be followed by 15 minutes of journaling and a 45-minute small group conversation three times a week.
Supper is at 5:00 p.m. Evening prayer, Vespers is at 6:00 p.m. in the Church. From 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. will be devoted to conversation with the presenters twice a week or a Chapter Talk for the whole community by the presenter. The closing prayer service of the day is Compline at 7:35 p.m. Compline is followed by silence until after Eucharist the next day. Retire around 8:00 p.m.
Since this is a Monastic Immersion Experience, as a Monastic Institute Guest, you would be expected during your time with us to live just as the rest of the Brothers do: follow the schedule; put in about three hours of work a day and observe places and times of monastic silence. Our meals are simple vegetarian but balanced and good. Alcoholic beverages and the use of tobacco are not allowed. The monks do not watch TV or listen to the radio. We do receive a daily paper and weekly news-magazines. The monastic library, with its full range of periodicals is available to you. Mobile phones, IPads, cameras, and personal computers can be brought and used at your own discretion. Computers are available and we provide writing materials and postage.
If you are a priest or religious, we ask that you have mailed to us the written permission of your competent ecclesiastical superior in order to enter the program. If you are neither a priest nor a religious, we need to have two letters of recommendation from a spiritual director, priest, pastor, mentor, guide or employer mailed directly to us. You will also need to supply us written evidence- preferably a copy of your insurance policy – that all the medical/hospital bills you may incur will be covered. These documents, too, should be sent to us prior to your coming.
There is $1,200 Program Fee when accepted which may be made with installments. Partial or full scholarships are available. Finances need not prevent participation. We will notify you promptly upon the acceptance of your application and references. By May1 will let you know if you are accepted for the Institute.
We would like for you to come to Mepkin Abbey for a personal interview upon submitting your application. If that is not workable for you we will consider a zoom interview. You are welcome to visit Mepkin Abbey before deciding to make your application. A retreat with us prior to applying for the Monastic Institute program would be ideal if your schedule would allow for it.
For an application form contact Fr. Guerric Heckel firstname.lastname@example.org