The theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar said, "There are great missions that are given for the sake of exterior activity in the Church. However, God can also give great missions for the sake of self-surrender alone, with or without extraordinary graces of prayer. These latter missions though not recognized and canonized, can have an equally great, albeit, hidden and anonymous, impact on the Church and the world." Monastic life can sometimes give the appearance of a life of deprivation and constant sacrifice. But when viewed only in these terms, monastic life may conjure up images of dreary and unhappy monks floating around the cloister. I would venture to present an alternative image: the disciple in John's gospel reclining against Jesus. This image says more to me about friendship and as Cistercian monks we try to cultivate this closer relationship to Christ by living a communal lifestyle, marked by frequent prayer and balanced by periods of work. While we have no exterior apostolate or ministries as such, Cistercian monks (and nuns) do make "an equally great, albeit, hidden and anonymous, impact" just by carrying on the way we do, a way that has been handed down to us by our Cistercian monastic fathers and mothers and staying close to the heart of Christ.
I invite you who may be thinking about becoming a monk to come and see what it is like to truly live at the center of our Church where the heart of the living Christ beats steadily.
~ Father Guerric, Vocation Director
The best way to learn about anything is to have a personal experience; we encourage young Catholic men to visit us and experience our way of life firsthand. As Jesus invited His first disciples, "Come and See!"
Come and See visitors will be able to:
- Attend Mass and pray the Divine Office with us
- Enjoy the beauty and peace of our Abbey grounds
- Speak with the Vocation Director about our life and your call
- Recieve a personal tour of the cloister
- Opportunity to join in the monks' morning work period if desired
- Quiet your heart and spend time listening to God
Usually a first visit is 4-5 days, although a weekend visit or other arrangement can be made according to your schedule. We welcome you to contact the Vocation Director to spend a few days with us and experience our life!
To schedule a visit, or simply to ask a question, contact Father Guerric using the form below:
Thank you, we want to hear from you!
Requirements for candidates:
1. Practicing Roman Catholic
2. Between the ages of 22-40
3. Some college and/or work experience
4. Free of: debts, long term family obligations, addictive habits, regularly prescribed drugs.
5. Good physical and emotional health. Health reports (including HIV testing), college transcripts and baptismal/confirmation certificates are required for entrance.
P.S. For those Women who are interested in our way, we encourage you to contact the Cistercian nuns of Our Lady of the Redwoods Abbey, located in Whitethorn, CA. www.redwoodsabbey.org
Cistercian monks dedicate themselves to a life-long journey of worshipping God in a hidden life within the monastery under the Rule of Saint Benedict and an abbot. It is cenobitic, where everything is in common, a school of brotherly love seeking God, following Christ, and concerned with those God loves. Cistercians are called to render to the divine majesty a service that is at once humble and noble through the way of solitude and silence, liturgical prayer, lectio divina, and manual labor. The purpose of the monastery is to bring the monks into close union with Christ, since it is only through the experience of personal love for the Lord Jesus that the specific gifts of the Cistercian contemplative vocation can flower.