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Blog

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.

I would like to share with our friends a Lenten reflection based on the very important Gospel we heard a few weeks ago, on the 1st Sunday of Lent (I know that was a while back, and I beg your pardon, I am a slow thinker!). If you recall it was the Temptation of Jesus in the Desert (Matt. 4:1-4). I feel that we can learn a lot from the conversation between Jesus and the devil, as it reveals two completely opposite mindsets. Let me explain.

It is one year since our dear Fr. Anthony Bellesorte passed over to the Lord, on March 22, 2018.  In memorial of his passing I have a special treat for you: I had the honor of being Father's caretaker in his last months, and before he passed I asked him some questions, and he wrote down his responses which I now share with you below; our last opportunity to receive the wisdom of our beloved friend and brother, Fr. Anthony.

                                 --Br. Christopher

 

1.            WHAT I LOVE ABOUT BEING A MONK-

I'd like to share a little about the Regional Meeting our Abbot Fr. Paul Mark and I attended at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina Feb. 21 – 26.  I had accompanied the abbot to serve as one of the secretaries.  For those who are not aware, the Regional Meeting is the yearly meeting at which all the superiors of the 15 houses of the US Region of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, both abbots & abbesses, gather at one of the monasteries to discuss and address common concerns and pastoral needs.

“In the greeting of all guest, whether arriving or departing, let all humility be shown. Let the head be bowed or the whole body prostrated on the ground in adoration of Christ, who indeed is received in their persons.”  (Rule of St. Benedict, Ch. 53) 

An oriental saying” whoever cross the threshold is a guest.” It means that our guest house is opened to everyone of all denominations and we welcome everyone with warmth and respect. Our Mission statement states: our monastery welcomes all people in a spirit of hospitality and thus hospitality is our core values and beliefs.

Fr. Placid explains what it means for the monk to live as “Strangers to the world” and how the monk deals with the changed relationship with his family and loved ones:

“Your way of acting must be as a stranger to the World” (Rule of St. Benedict, Chap. 4).

Question of the Week: "What it the main difference in living out the monastic life between communities of monks and communities of nuns?"

I am the Father Immediate of our Order’s house of nuns in Central America. This provides me the opportunity to accompany a community of women journeying the same Cistercian grace as we monks of Vina to seek first the Kingdom of God.

Abbot Emeritus Thomas Davis Shares on the following passage of the Rule and what it means for those whose life is dedicated to the liturgical prayer of the Church:  “Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves in sight of God and of His Holy Angels, and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way that our mind may be in harmony with our voices.” (RB 19):

Stephen, Robert, and Alberic, were aflame with zeal to live a simple life devoted to Christ when they decided to renew their lives as Benedictine monks and start the New Monastery, which would become Citeaux, the Mother House of the Cistercian Order. Certainly, much time has passed since that original inspiration, and many changes to the world and Order have occurred, so one might ask: can we still honor the vision of our Founders?

The question has been proposed: How do monks deal with the current grave difficulties facing the church and the world? An example is provided by our own Br. William:

My very first days in the monastery!  I remember every detail or perhaps I should say I “feel” every detail.  I entered the monastery on October 15, 1980 after a two-day trip by Amtrak from North Dakota my native state. 

To talk about those first days I need to share with you the days prior to my entrance into the monastery.  I connected and visited with friends and relatives.  Finally my family gathered on my last day home to say farewell.  These were weeks poignant with emotion, as I did not know when I might ever return and see these people again.