Seeking God at this place of New Clairvaux, we are a community of Cistercian monks living the Rule of Saint Benedict. We witness God's love for the world according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by a life of prayer, labor, and sustainable stewardship of our resources in a simplicity and openness to the signs of the times. Our monastery welcomes all people in the spirit of hospitality, and engages others in collaborative relationships.

Brother Christopher comments on the Spiritual Battle:  We sometimes hear, especially during Lent, that the Christian life is one of Spiritual Combat.  What does this mean?  One thing we might say is that the Christian life is a daily battle for FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE.  These oppose the tactics of our spiritual enemies, namely: DOUBT (in God, His Goodness, and even His Existence), DESPAIR (over the state of our world, ourselves, our salvation) and SELF-ISOLATION (or self-centeredness).  All these have the aim of SEPARATING us from God.  Faith, Hope and Love, on the other hand, UNITE us to God

Br. Peter Damian comments on good works for Lent:

“The beauty of a good life lived for God” (Saint John Chrysostom).

In the quote above, Saint John Chrysostom did not say the ugly life lives for God, but the beauty of a good life does. The good life consists of good attitudes, good intentions and good works. In the Lenten Season particularly, almsgiving, fasting and prayer are the good works. These three traditional practices make our lives beautiful. 

FACEBOOK FRIDAY- Dear Facebook Friends, Br. William shares on the Prophets: 

Prophet Jeremiah: Born c. 650 BC.  Jeremiah resisted God’s call, initially pleading that he was too young. Then the Lord touched his mouth and placed His words in Jeremiah’s mouth and he became a great prophet preaching all over Israel.
God instructed him to write those early oracles: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, -oracle of the Lord- plans for your welfare and not woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to

Abbot Paul Mark comments on the Papal Encylical Fratelli Tutti:

Pope Francis recently issued a new encyclical letter entitled Fratelli Tutti, rendered in English as Brothers and Sisters All.  I have only begun to read the encyclical and will not venture a summary.  In any case this blog does not allow the space to give even a brief summary of this deep, rich, meditation and I encourage you to read it for yourself.  But here follows a few thoughts inspired by the encyclical.

On January 11 the monastic community had the joy of re-electing our abbot, Fr. Paul Mark Schwan for his third term of six-years.  In preparation for the election, Fr. Placid had given the community a talk on the Role of an Abbot according to the Rule of St. Benedict.  We share a portion of that talk here:

“If the abbot learns how to really grow into the grace of the position, it is through trials.  These trials are through the interpersonal clashes that can happen in community. The Latin word is opprobrium. This could be translated as opposition or

Diocese across the United States are observing Jan. 22 as a special day of prayer for full legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person.  Martin Luther King Jr. once famously commented in the context of civil rights legislation that while it is true that morality cannot be legislated, civil legal recognition is necessary both to protect the oppressed and as a sure guide and support to the unperceiving. 

I would say that while laws are to be ardently worked for, the most important work to be done is the transforming of hearts so that no one will ever WANT to have an abortion!  This is the work of Grace and evangelization.  We know that abortion

Fr. Thomas offers some thoughts for the holy Advent season:  “Our patron St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s (+1153) Advent Sermons offers some impressive thoughts for our preparation as we look forward to the coming Solemnity of the Incarnation, Christmas. We are challenged to keep upmost in our minds certain questions about Christmas: WHO is coming, from WHERE is he coming and to WHOM is he going, WHAT is his purpose in coming, at WHAT TIME will he arrive and by WHAT MEANS will he arrive.

After the Israelites entered the promised land, each tribe lived their own way. They had no leader after Joshua died. Then the elders of Israel came to the Prophet Samuel and requested a king to rule over them, as other nations have (1 Samuel 8:5). Samuel was displeased with their request, however, he prayed to the Lord who said: “Grant the people’s every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.” (1 Samuel 8:6-7). Samuel anointed Saul, the first king of Israel, but he reminded them that “the Lord  your God is your king.” (1 Samuel 12: 12).

Fr. Placid ponders St. Benedict’s guidance on Self-Will in the Rule:  “The Rule of Benedict has listed as one of the Tools of Good Works in Chapter Four to “hate Self-Will” (RB 4:60).  For Benedict, Self-will is always seen as negative.  In the RB, anything to do with seeking self-interest would be considered selfish and part of self-will.  The cure for self-will is placing oneself under the instruction and obedience of another, and resisting placing our own will above them.  This leads to being

Br. Christopher shares on a great saint: 

"On October 22 we celebrated the memorial of St. John Paul II, also known as John Paul the Great.  St. John Paul was the pope during my formative years and a great influence on me.  This year is also the 25th anniversary of his prophetic encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life).  I wanted to share a bit of this with you all, it is a great reminder.  It is not just about abortion, it is about creating an ethos and culture of life in which all life is valued, a culture of caring for one another.  St. John Paul taught: