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.

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:

Fr. Thomas comments on Who is My Neighbor? “Various commands are given us in the Gospel, such as love one another, love your enemies, love God with all one’s heart, soul, strength and mind, and love one’s neighbor as one’s self. We understand what it means to love one another, we knowwho our enemies are, and we grasp something about God. But the Gospel question, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ opens up for us an insight on love, for Jesus, nor the Gospels for that matter, really define who a neighbor is. Jesus tells us how to respond to persons in various situations.

Abbot Paul Mark comments on our hope in these turbulent times:  “The year is leaving us nearly breathless; the largest wildfires in California’s history raging on both sides of our Sacramento Valley, spewing smoke and ash all over us, making it hazardous to walk and breathe out of doors; political turmoil and fear as the country approaches a presidential election; social unrest shaking the foundations of law and order, at least as we perceive these; a pandemic that continues to run unleashed resulting in thousands of serious health issues and deaths, disrupting businesses and causing school closures.  What more can I add?

A monk of New Clairvaux shares on Intercessory Prayer:

“About two or three times a week the brothers receive 2 typed pages of prayer request sent to us by e-mail or telephone.  I always like to receive this packet and take it back to my cell to pray over.  I’m grateful that people share with us their needs,

Our Br. William shares on his patron, Blessed William of St. Thierry, whose memorial is observed on Sept. 8:

“The discovery of the humble Abbot of St. Thierry as one of the most original and penetrating minds of the twelfth century  is the scholarly achievement of the last few decades”  - a quote from Church History.

William of St. Thierry (1085-1148) a Flemish noble, born at Liege (1085) was a twelfth century French Benedictine abbot of Saint Thierry Abbey, a Theologian, a mystic who became a Cistercian monk and writer.

Fr. Thomas shares on Benedictine Justice: "The monks gather day and night in the choir of our Monastic Church to chant and “render praise to our Creator for the judgments of his justice” (Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 16).  I believe that with this verse, Benedict inserts the entire Opus Dei (Liturgy of the Hours) into the mystery of creation and its relationship with the Creator.  While parts of this chapter in Benedict’s Rule are based on and identical with a previous Rule called The Rule of the Master, the words “for the judgments of his justice” (super iudicia justitiae in the original Latin) are introduced by Benedict himself. 

What is this Benedictine ‘Justice’?  Fr. Terence Kardong, OSB, and Sr. Aquinata Brockmann, OSB, define this justice as a bond of fidelity between two persons. This is a different understanding of justice that what is commonly considered as being

Fr. Placid contributes a teaching on Lectio Divina:  "What is a good and apt description of Lectio Divina?  In the novel, Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet is handed a letter from Mr. Darcy, following a disastrous marriage proposal.  Upon reading the letter, she is startled that it challenges her assumptions about him and makes her reflect on her possible prejudice against Mr. Darcy.  She reads the letter several times to remind her of certain events until she has almost memorized it by heart.  It changes her thinking and behavior regarding Mr.

Here at New Clairvaux Abbey we support our monastic life by farming, including cultivating grapes and making wine.  We are pleased to announce that our vineyards have now met the exacting standards for organic certification.  Our vineyard manager Br. Luis explains:

“Good news! The community recently received news of its organic certification for monastery vineyard blocks St. James and Trinity.  This certification follows a three-year probation period required by California Certified Organic Farmers, the largest certifier in the nation, wherein we transform our farming practices to exclude chemicals and farming practices that could pose risks to the health of persons and the land.  Our patrons and guests can be assured that we have, in the spirit of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, made decisions for the betterment of the earth and for the enhanced safety of all our valued guests.  

On August 15 we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, the patronal feast of the Cistercian Order.  I thought that you might like to  listen in on a recent talk that the abbot gave to the brothers on Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Cistercian tradition, particularly in the thought of our patron St. Bernard (7:48 minutes).

God bless you,