Joining A Monastery, Need Advise?


#1

Hello Everyone,

I'm Lucien and I'm new to these forums. The reason I came here, Is because I need a bit of advise.

I currently live in a foreign country, and I have decided to "try out" joining a monastery for a week, possibly two. One of the local monasteries (Carthusian) has accecpted me to come in.

My Questions are:

1) First of all, should I pay them something (like a donation) for staying with them? (money is not something I have much of). Please advise.

2) Will I have duties during this time? If so, any idea what they might be?

3) What Items should I take with me? Clothes, rosary, bible. Anything missing from the list?

3) I attend church regularly, I know the bible well, I pray the rosary etc. But I'm not very knowledgeable with saints and stuff like that. Will this be a problem in any way?

I'd Really appreciate some advise on these things.
Thanks,
Lucien


#2

I think these are all questions you should be asking the particular monastery in question. I would give a donation if I could, they are allowing you to stay with them. I also imagine you will be expected to live the life of a monastic, which often includes work. As for what you should take, what more do you need than clothes and a bible? I would speak to whoever extended you to invitation to visit and ask them the particulars.


#3

Hi Lucien, God bless you for following your vocation! I will reflect the above and say that you should ask these questions to the Monastery itself - try ask them to whoever has given you the "yes" towards discerning with them. I'll try to answer your questions generally in the meantime, though it won't be of much help as you shall see!

[quote="lucien123, post:1, topic:271646"]
1) First of all, should I pay them something (like a donation) for staying with them? (money is not something I have much of). Please advise.

[/quote]

Pay - not unless they have asked you and have made it clear that you must pay.
Donate - possibly, if you can.

If this situation is you going into the monastery to test a vocation, they probably will not be expecting any kind of money. If they do ask for something, explain to them your current financial situation.

2) Will I have duties during this time? If so, any idea what they might be?

Quite possibly you may. It all depends on what kind of retreat they have planned for you. Carthusians are very contemplative, hermit monks so you may very well have a week of silent retreat with spiritual direction, reading and odd jobs like washing dishes and helping the lay brothers. Perhaps not. Who can say? You will have to wait and see!

3) What Items should I take with me? Clothes, rosary, bible. Anything missing from the list?

Clothes to sleep, clothes to do labor in, and clothes for the chapel would probably cover your clothing. Rosary, of course. Bible yes but they probably have many. Missal if you have one. Toothbrush, perhaps a torch depending on their monastery. I wouldn't worry too much about what to take in terms of physical things!

3) I attend church regularly, I know the bible well, I pray the rosary etc. But I'm not very knowledgeable with saints and stuff like that. Will this be a problem in any way?

Certainly not. You are there to test if God is calling you to His glorious household to be His servant. You're not there to get a diploma :D All you need to do is have an open heart and a love of Jesus Christ. What is the use of knowing 1000 saints if one does not seek the will of God? Don't worry about what you do or don't know about this or that. Whatever happens, you will learn what is necessary in due time.

I'd Really appreciate some advise on these things.

Hopefully that helped a bit. I suppose you will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, don't focus too much on what you will have to do or what it will be like or small details. Just live everyday dedicated to God - live today as if you were in the monastery as much as you can.Before you know it, you'll be in the monastery and discerning God's call.

God bless you in your vocation, I pray that God's will be done :)


#4

The best advice I can give is to not give up. Persevere. I know less about the Carthusians but in the Rule of St. Benedict the postulant has to persevere and endure many refusals before being admitted, to test if the postulant really seeks God and is a good fit with the community... both its charism and its members.

For the rest... what do do, when/how to pray, etc, no doubt either the novice master or perhaps a young monk delegated by him will show you the ropes. A bit part of your visit will involve praying the Divine Office (aka Liturgy of the Hours) and for the Carthusians that will mean getting up in the middle of the night (around midnight) to pray a very long office. That will take some adjustment.


#5

Thanks for the reply. Should I get a copy of the divine office then? (considering that the ones they have will probably be in a different language, which I dont understand much of?

Please advise,
Lucien


#6

[quote="lucien123, post:5, topic:271646"]
Thanks for the reply. Should I get a copy of the divine office then? (considering that the ones they have will probably be in a different language, which I dont understand much of?

Please advise,
Lucien

[/quote]

The Carthusians have their own version of the office, so any version you find on the outside will be different than what they use, although the basics are the same. I believe the offices are all said in Latin, and chanted, which obviously takes a considerable amount of time to learn. Your priority should probably be more about entering into the rhythm of the monks' life and thinking and praying about whether such a life could be for you.

Don't worry too much about your knowledge or lack thereof. A monastery is like a school for learning to serve God, everything you might need to learn is taught inside. Visiting is a chance to see what the life is, and to discern whether you want to learn to live it.

If you wanted to start learning more about the office, though, this site is excellent divinumofficium.com/cgi-bin/horas/officium.pl. The pre-Tridentine monastic office is probably closest to the Carthusian one, although I suggest rather the "rubrics 1960" one, as it is the official office of the church for non-monks today, in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.

Please do post about your experience after your stay, it is a rare privilege to get to visit a Carthusian monastery, and I and many others would be very interested to hear what it was like!


#7

Thanks for the advise everyone, Tuautem, Ill keep you posted after i get back.


#8

Goodness me, the Carthusians are quite a first choice!

To be honest, I had no idea they accepted guests, seeing as they are so enclosed. I would suggest that you contact the 'Guest Master' at the monastery to ask what you will need, although I would expect you'd need the normal essentials like clothes and toothbrush, etc, that you'd take with you no matter where you travelled.

As for the Carthusians themselves, I highly recommend getting hold of the DVD "Into Great Silence" diegrossestille.de/english/ which is, as far as I know, the only documentary ever made about the Carthusians from the inside. It is an absolutely fascinating - and grace filled - film documentary. I watched it in a full sized cinema, along with about 5 other people.

It should give you a taste of what the Carthusian life is like. Just watching it was a deeply spiritual experience for me, even though I have no call to that style of religious life (my calling is more towards diocesan priesthood).


#9

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