Would a monastery give shelter to someone with no place to go?


#1

Hypothetical situation:

A man is wandering around and going to the nearest monastery to see if he can live there. If the man is able to work and offers his services to the monks, would the monks accept his request to live with them?


#2

Maybe.


#3

Great question for our Friend JR...

I doubt if any monastery would turn away a wanderer. They would surely take one n and feed him etc. As to whether they would permit him to live with them indefinitely, that will depend on other factors that I am not knowledgeable on.

Peace
James


#4

I would email a monestary and ask. It is about charity. I am sure if he is willing to work and do it with love he may be allowed to stay. If he is lazy what good would it do him if a monestary lets him freeload. It wouldn't help the monestary or the wanderer. I can ask for you I am near a couple of monestarys and the Priests of the Sacred Heart teach at the seminary I am at and could ask. They seem to be very giving and charitable. Scoob.


#5

it depends, I know of no monastery who would turn someone away, but they would in prudence investigate and observe before allowing him to be a permanent fixture, and he would of course have to agree to conform to their manner of life, as appropriate for a lay person.


#6

This is a hard thing.

How does one live at a monastery yet not be a monk. Is it fair for the monks to have a non-monk living among them?

I can see the monastery providing some short term assistance but fail to see how this could be managed well long term.

I do know of a monastery that has a family that assists as caretakers of the grounds and guesthouse but they are paid and live in their own house on the monastery property.


#7

Not to live WITH them of course’ but many monasteries have and need lay workers who can also take part in eg the daily office. And many have eg flexible guest accommodation.

And it can and does happen that some of those go on to enter. I know of one Franciscan Brother here in Ireland who wento to work on the building of a new friary for one year and stayed as a Brother for over 50 years until his death.

It is not re charity if work is being offered. In these days of few vocations many friaries here have more paid lay staff then friars.

And this kind of giving of work used to be more common than now. Maybe life was simpler then? Less focus on eg insurance and medical care provision.


#8

it depends I would suspect if a homeless man came around the monastery where the seminary was at they would direct him to the nearest homeless shelter. But not really sure the monastery during hurricanes is open as a shelter but that’s only temporary.


#9

Here is my personal experience: I was a bum (yes, homeless and not employed) forty years ago. I just happened to find myself wandering around in New Orleans. I came across some kind of seminary. The doors had signs on them warning that homeless would not be admitted. However, a shady corner of their grounds was unfenced, so I decided to take a nap under a a tree. A policeman acosted me and ordered that I leave.


#10

To be fair, here's the other side of the story: Continuing my life as a bum in Key west, I smoked some very strong marijuana in the (vain) hopes of hooking up. I started halucinating and ended up walking barefoot about 30 miles to Big Pine Key. There I found the St Peter's Catholic Church and the priest let me stay in the vacant groundskeeper's trailer. He even suggested that I could stay permanently in return for the landscaping work.


#11

Alleluia… That is so good and right.


#12

:twocents:
Like someone else said, it's not fair to the monks to have someone freeloading. They work hard to make ends meet, and often its on the generosity of benefactors. It's not fair to the wanderer to enable laziness either, if that be his (or her) bent.
However, the service of Christ often reveals his will in strange ways. There are numerous stories of various saints taking in poor wanderers into friaries and monasteries in times past, and this Christian charity prompting a conversion and entrance into the order. These days, however, I doubt any community would allow anyone to stay more than the night, due to security. After that, any community has a long application process for entrance.
A direct response to Jeffery's experience: no seminary will allow uninvited guests on the property, because the seminary is a house of formation, and there are a lot of unique concerns to a seminary that a parish or community might not have. I'm glad he was able to receive such charity elsewhere.


#13

[quote="jeffrey_erwin, post:9, topic:254997"]
Here is my personal experience: I was a bum (yes, homeless and not employed) forty years ago. I just happened to find myself wandering around in New Orleans. I came across some kind of seminary. The doors had signs on them warning that homeless would not be admitted. However, a shady corner of their grounds was unfenced, so I decided to take a nap under a a tree. A policeman acosted me and ordered that I leave.

[/quote]

[quote="jeffrey_erwin, post:10, topic:254997"]
To be fair, here's the other side of the story: Continuing my life as a bum in Key west, I smoked some very strong marijuana in the (vain) hopes of hooking up. I started halucinating and ended up walking barefoot about 30 miles to Big Pine Key. There I found the St Peter's Catholic Church and the priest let me stay in the vacant groundskeeper's trailer. He even suggested that I could stay permanently in return for the landscaping work.

[/quote]

These two replies highlight the very different ministries between these two places.

A seminary is dealing primarily with the education and formation of men for ministry and the priesthood.

A parish is dealing primarily with service to the local community.

You can not really compare them.


#14

[quote="AndrewRaZ, post:12, topic:254997"]
:twocents:
Like someone else said, it's not fair to the monks to have someone freeloading. They work hard to make ends meet, and often its on the generosity of benefactors. It's not fair to the wanderer to enable laziness either, if that be his (or her) bent.
However, the service of Christ often reveals his will in strange ways. There are numerous stories of various saints taking in poor wanderers into friaries and monasteries in times past, and this Christian charity prompting a conversion and entrance into the order. These days, however, I doubt any community would allow anyone to stay more than the night, due to security. After that, any community has a long application process for entrance.
A direct response to Jeffery's experience: no seminary will allow uninvited guests on the property, because the seminary is a house of formation, and there are a lot of unique concerns to a seminary that a parish or community might not have. I'm glad he was able to receive such charity elsewhere.

[/quote]

Can barely believe that you are saying these things. Hospitality is sacred.

Not for what we can gain from it, simply to feed and clothe Jesus.

Small wonder religious life is in decline.


#15

Remembering that our Faith comes from the (near) east and that the monastic movement also started in the east, perhaps it is good con consider eastern customs - even though I am no expert.

However - -

My understanding in Bedouin cultures (which could include shepherds) a stranger is welcome for three days. Also, there are (I believe) references in the OT to leaving parts of fields unharvested so that the poor and passers by could help themselves. There is the passage in the NT where the Apostles were pulling grain and eating it and this was not considered stealing so long as they kept moving.

Then we have the fact that for much of history, monasteries were places of refuge and were noted for their hospitality and I think we get a picture of what one might expect if one were to approach a monastery.

A hot meal, a bed, prayers and then be sent on your way.

Peace
James


#16

[quote="JRKH, post:15, topic:254997"]
Remembering that our Faith comes from the (near) east and that the monastic movement also started in the east, perhaps it is good con consider eastern customs - even though I am no expert.

However - -

My understanding in Bedouin cultures (which could include shepherds) a stranger is welcome for three days. Also, there are (I believe) references in the OT to leaving parts of fields unharvested so that the poor and passers by could help themselves. There is the passage in the NT where the Apostles were pulling grain and eating it and this was not considered stealing so long as they kept moving.

Then we have the fact that for much of history, monasteries were places of refuge and were noted for their hospitality and I think we get a picture of what one might expect if one were to approach a monastery.

**

Just like that?With no ongoing help offered? With all the resources the Church has.**

[/quote]


#17

What greater acr of formation than a postivie act of charity? Calling the police? Well maybe he would have got “three hots and a cot” in jail…


#18

I think that one can assume that such a one would be directed to an appropriate agency for further help.

The “Church” may have many resources, but those resources are spread out worldwide and various institutions within the Church work to support themselves.
The more pertinent question would be - what are the resources of the Monastery?

Peace
James


#19

[quote="Hopemercy, post:17, topic:254997"]
What greater acr of formation than a postivie act of charity? Calling the police? Well maybe he would have got "three hots and a cot" in jail..

[/quote]

A seminaries main focus is the education and formation of men for ministry and the priesthood. It is not the care of the local community.

You, I, no one, has any right to judge them as to how they do things.

Having said that, you make a huge mistake when you say, "Calling the police?" No where in the post did the poster say that the seminary called the police. He said that it a no trespassing sign was posted and that he ignored it and that police came upon him and made him leave. You make an uncharitable judgement that the seminary called the police though they would be well within their rights especially since the sign was posted.

There are a lot of issues that are involved in caring for the homeless and there is nothing wrong with a seminary that chooses to leave this to the organizations in the Church who's primary mission is this.


#20

The signs were on the doors of the residential row houses of the seminary. They were not “no trespassing” but simply stated that homeless, etc would not be admitted. There are many homeless in New Orleans as well as religious fanatics of various sorts (and I fitted into both catagories.) So I understood but was a little disappointed. The vacant corner lot was not posted, as I remember, so I was much more disappointed when the policeman told me to leave. I don’t know if he was called by a seminarian.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.