I’ve heard that some Benedictines take a vow of stability, meaning that they stay with their paticular monstery. How would they establish a new one? I’m assuming it can be done, but I wasn’t sure how it worked. Thanks:)
All Benedictines take a vow of stability. Its one of their three vows: Stability, Obedience and conversatio morum (which means, roughly, conversion of manners or conversion of life.)
From the accounts I have read, new Benedictine monasteries are created from an established monastery. Once the decision has been made to create a new monastery, monks or nuns will be sent from the mother monastery. The daughter monastery will remain under the supervision, and ultimate control, of its parent until it is agreed that the new monastery is stable and able to stand on its own.
Here in Iowa, one of our CIstercian abbeys recently created a daughter monastery, which has since become independent. Cistercians, of course, are not Benedictines but they are closely related and follow the Rule of St. Benedict.
Anyways, here is a short history of how the new monastery was created.
Sister Ina obtained permission to come back to Norway to see if the time was right to re-establish Cistercian life. She was helped by Sr Marjoe Backhus of Mississippi Abbey in Iowa, USA. The then-mayor of Frosta, Jens Hagerup, invited them to live next to the ruins on Tautra. A support group started in Trondheim and promised to pray every day at 6:00 p.m. that the Cistercians would come back to Norway. After a year and a half, Sr Ina became seriously ill and had to return to France for treatment. It looked like the dream was ended.
Across the Atlantic, Mississippi Abbey increased in number such that the nuns had to decide whether to build an extension to their monastery, or start a new one. Bishops all over the world invited Mother Gail Fitzpatrick to their diocese, including Australia, Tunisia and Tautra. Bishop Georg Müller, the Catholic bishop of Trondheim, was very eager to bring Cistercian nuns to the Trondheim diocese. Though the nuns tried to buy property in Småland, a family home became available on Tautra at the last minute. The bishop purchased the site, together with the neighboring field where the permanent monastery would be built, and Mother Gail sent seven nuns to Tautra in February 1999.
Mother Rosemary Durcan was named superior. Under her leadership the nuns had to turn three small family dwellings into a monastery. They established the most important rooms of a monastery: first the chapel, then the refectory (dining room), chapter room (meeting room where a chapter of Benedict’s Rule is read each morning) and the scriptorium (reading room). This last they did not have room for, so they used their individual cells for spiritual reading. Some of the cells had to have several functions, for example sewing, wardrobe, liturgy office and passageway.
St Benedict encourages nuns who live according to his Rule to earn their living by the labor of their own hands. Sr GilKrist Lavigne had made herbal soap as a hobby at Mississippi Abbey. The nuns decided to try soap production as their main industry. One room in the red house was set aside as the soap factory. Everything that had to do with the business had to be done here: buying of ingredients, research and development, the making of soap itself, cutting and storing, wrapping and packing, billing and shipping. In 2001 a benefactor made it possible to build onto the red house. The addition housed three more cells and an extension of the soap factory on the ground floor.
Although the church was not quite finished by March 25, 2006, the nuns celebrated the special ceremony which made Tautra Mariakloster an independent monastery. The nuns changed their stability from their motherhouse in the USA, and promised to live with the community of Tautra Mariakloster the rest of their lives. The next day Sister Rosemary was elected as Tautra Mariakloster’s first prioress.
Thanks for the help:)
what often happens is that a group of monks or nuns are sent to work and establish a satellite community in an area where the mother house discerns there is a need, and if that community succeeds in attracting new members and enough support to build a foundation, it can become a daughter monastery of the mother house. The history of how the Benedictines grew in this country is fascinating and worth a search to find a source.
The sisters here were doing parish work, having been sent from their mother house in Minnesota.They discerned a need for a full time commitment to pro-life evangelization, with their superiors quit paid parish employment, got enough support to start with a trailer in the outskirts of one of the poorest towns in the poorest county in the US. They got a gift of land from Texaco, but without access or easement for a road. After a long struggle that was obtained, a road into the land built with donated labor and supplies, the trailer and a couple of small houses that had been donated moved to the new site, and work of funding and building the monastery began.
the story is awesome and it is now a monastery, with a retreat house, and the casitas serve as housing for visiting priests and religous on sabbatical or retreat, and overflow for retreats. Retreat work, badly needed in this diocese, provides continuing support and the fruits can be seen in the explosion of pro-life witness in the diocese.
their story is here
there are 3 ladies currently discerning, and we have over 80 active oblates