Our Life

Monastic life according to the Rule of St Benedict rests on a tripod of three activities: prayer, holy reading, and work. The monastic day moves back and forth between these activities.

We seek to pray constantly, whatever we are doing. Stopping work periodically to pray helps us remember what we are about; and stopping prayer to work is necessary to support ourselves, to help our prayer, and simply to participate in normal human life.

Christian prayer is unthinkable without time spent pondering the Word of God. Holy reading, or lectio divina, is a slow, contemplative way of reading that leads to prayer and begins to align our thoughts with the teachings of Jesus.

Work tests and solidifies the effects of our prayer and reading. The goal of prayer goes beyond interaction with other people to our relationship with God; but prayer which does not change the way we live and interact is not real prayer. The true measure of our prayer is not what we feel while at prayer, but whether we grow in loving behavior. 

Faithfully observing God’s teaching in the monastery until death, we shall through patience share in the sufferings of Christ that we may deserve also to share in his kingdom. 

Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue

The ways in which our love is deficient is often manifest in how we work together. Work brings us back to prayer and lectio as we struggle with our own weaknesses and difficulties. We ask for God’s assistance in all we do, and that our union with Christ may always grow deeper. 

Our Monastic Schedule

Values and Vows


If we want to reach the highest summit of humility, if we desire to attain speedily that exaltation in heaven to which we climb by the humility of this present life, then let us set up that ladder on which Jacob in a dream saw angels descending and ascending. Now the ladder erected is our life on earth, and if we humble our hearts the Lord will raise it to heaven.

RB, Chapter 7 “Humility”

The most essential monastic virtue, humility, is a willingness to learn the truth about oneself (however unpleasant). The truly humble Christian is not an insecure doormat, but a person whose whole security is Jesus Christ. We do not pretend to have all the answers, but are always willing to learn. We put love into action by not putting ourselves above others and by making what is good for the other person a higher priority than our own good. 


So important is silence that permission to speak should seldom be granted even to mature disciples.

RB, Chapter 6 “Restraint of Speech”

“Trappist” means “silent” to many people, and although we no longer observe the almost total absence of speech practiced in recent centuries, we still maintain an atmosphere of silence in which we can be attentive to God at every moment, and grow in self-knowledge. At certain times of the day (evening and early morning) we refrain from all communication with each other, verbal or non-verbal, to free one another for prayer.


The monk makes these promises in the presence of all, in the oratory: stability, conversion of life, and obedience.

RB, Chapter 58 “Receiving Monks”

On the deepest level there is only one vow, the vow to give oneself to God completely, in the monastic way of life and together with one’s community. Obedience, stability and conversion of life are critical aspects of that underlying vow.


No one is to do what she judges better for herself, but rather what is better for the other.

RB, Chapter 72 “On Good Zeal”

We vow to obey God, the Rule, our abbess, our community. All of us struggle with our own blindness and emotional attachments to our own wants and ways of doing things. The goal of obedience is not only a harmonious community, but primarily to assist each sister to grow in interior freedom from her own ego drives.  It is not an attitude of “go-along, get-along,” but a radical surrender of oneself, above all to God, but on a daily basis to whatever God puts in our life. It is also a kind of radical non-violence, refraining as much as possible from setting our personal will and preferences in opposition to those of others, which is the root of all violence.


Stay in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.

Sayings of the Desert Fathers

We vow to remain all our life with our local community. We live together, pray together, work together, relax together. We give up the temptation to move from place to place in search of an ideal situation. Ultimately there is no escape from oneself, and the idea that things would be better someplace else is usually an illusion. And when interpersonal conflicts arise, we have a great incentive to work things out and restore peace. This means learning the practices of love: acknowledging one’s own offensive behavior, giving up one’s preferences, forgiving.

Conversion of life

Progressing in this way of life [“conversion”] and in faith, we will run in the way of God’s commandments, our hearts expanding with the unspeakable sweetness of love.

RB, Prologue

We vow to live a simple, celibate life according to the customs of our monastery, and to be always open to change and grow. We are to accept with contentment the basic monastic regimen of our community and live out community decisions in a cooperative spirit. Above all, we must always be willing to ask forgiveness, to change our way of thinking and behaving, and to learn new and more loving ways of being toward other people and toward God.