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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.

Who, we might ask, actually witnessed the moment when the soul of Jesus re-entered his body and escaped from the tomb? Certainly all the angels in heaven. And probably all the souls that Jesus had just that hour freed from the "prison" of Sheol.

From a homily by Fr. Paul Jerome Konkler:  As we approach Palm Sunday and Good Friday, we are watching Jesus preparing for his death by which he redeemed us. Most monks follow St Benedict's advice to be mindful frequently of their death. Far from being a morose thought, this mindfulness enables us to escape wasting our precious time on the trivialities of life, and to live with richer meaning. By offering our difficulties and pangs and sacrifices in prayerful union with Jesus, we are bound to him in saving the souls he loves and wants to bring to his Heavenly Father.

A Lenten Homily by Fr. Paul Jerome - Jesus carrying his cross through Jerusalem to Calvary, a mystery of our faith: Jesus eagerly receives the cross from his executioners. He falls at least three times, and gets up each time for our encouragement. He meets his grieving Mother, and the other holy women who have been following him. He revealed to St  Bernard his most grievous pain came from the cross rubbing on his shoulder until all the flesh and muscle tissue was torn down to the bone. He gave us the example of receiving help from Simon the Cyrenian when he needed help.

After many, many years of patient waiting for the Lord's Time, the monks of New Clairvaux Abbey began worship in our new/reconstructed Spanish midieval church on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.  The seed of the project began in mid 1950's when a young Fr. Thomas Davis was being driven to the foundation in Vina from our motherhouse in Gethsamne to join the brothers here, and on the way from the airport viewed the delapedated ancient stones gathering Moss in Golden Gate Park, and being told they were from a monastery of our Cistercian Order that had been carted to the U.S.

We celebrate the Founders of the Cistercian Order, Saints Robert, Alberic & Stephen.

A poem on Renunciation by a Monk of New Clairvaux

The Relentless Tock

"Tick-Tock", says the Clock,

"Go and Do what you Ought!"

Stop! A new thought:

Is this the Gospel I was taught?

Is this what God has wrought?

To be a slave to the relentless tock?

I cast down the idol of the Clock!

God Alone be my peace, portion and my lot!

--A monk of New Clairvaux

We share our joy that on Oct. 7, the feast of the Holy Rosary, Bishop Jamie Soto of the Diocese of Sacramento presided at the Mass of Ordination conferring Holy Orders upon our brothers Stephen Bay Nguyen and Guerric Ariel Llanes and consecrating them to the Holy Priesthood.  About 200 relatives and guests joined us for this special blessing, including Fr.

The General Chapter of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance is held every three years, when all the abbots and abbesses of the communities around the world gather together to direct, guide and renew the Order.  The latest Chapter is being held in Assisi, Italy this Sept. 6 -27. 

Life can appear to be moving very fast.  Even here at the Abbey where most people come to "get away from it all," the monks keep in step with the world while living somewhat apart from it.  Many new changes have occurred.  Some of our most senior members have been called to heaven.  Most of our junior monks who were in formation and taking classes have now "graduated."  Some of our elderly monks have retired from their post while the younger ones have assumed greater areas of responsibility.

This month our abbot takes his turn in answering the questions. Fr. Paul Mark is a native of North Dakota, entered the community in 1980, was elected abbot in 2009 and re-elected in 2015:

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT BEING A MONK: “The loving support of brothers in a common life of radical dispossession, where each brother gives of himself to the common will, the Holy Spirit at work among us. The simpl...e, ordinary, daily rhythm, marked by the centrality of the Church’s liturgical, sacramental prayer and personal lectio divina.”