Morning Work

After Terce, the monks assemble in the Chapter Room, the community meeting room adjacent to the Church, where daily work is assigned. Most will be occupied on the mushroom farm in some manner. Food is being prepared and cooked for the twenty-one monks and the guests on retreat. As St. Benedict writes: “When they live by the labor of their hands, then they are truly monks” (Rule 48:8). Hard physical labor also provides balance of mind, body, and spirit, central to the life of prayer. Further, labor strengthens the bonds of fraternal communion by sharing in a common task. Work ends at 11:30.

Afternoon Work

After None, there is time for a short siesta. At 1:45 PM, the community returns to work until about 3:30 PM. On some days work will continue in the mushroom farm. On others, different tasks may be assigned — cleaning the Church or infirmary, cutting grass, painting, or working in the library. All of these tasks can provide opportunity for quiet simple prayer.

On several days of the week, those in formation, novices and postulants, have classes on various topics such as Scripture, liturgy, monastic sources, the Cistercian patrimony, and the vows. On days when classes meet, the work of the monks in formation ends at 3:00 PM, so that they may do final preparations for their classes. One of the purposes of the courses is to provide a philosophical and theological foundation which will allow for a deeper formation and integration into the monastic way of life.