If you are wondering what sort of person joins a monastery or if monastic life is for you, perhaps the following may help. Clearly, you need to be a Catholic and to have a basic knowledge of the Christian faith and the experience of having lived it.
A sincere desire to seek God and a devotion to Christ are basic to the monk’s life and vocation. A readiness to turn to God in prayer and contentment in his presence are indications of this desire and devotion.
Cistercian monks live in community. That means living together with others. Self importance has no place here. Someone who is content to serve others, who has a genuine concern for their good, and is able to live simply and amicably with them is the sort of person who finds contentment in community.
Prayer, Lectio divina (literally, sacred reading) and Work are the pattern of the monk’s life, so he foregoes an active apostolate, because he is convinced of the power of a life given to God in prayer.
A reasonably good education is essential. Fundamental skills, crafts and work experience are most acceptable, as is anything else you can bring with you. An important requirement is a humble willingness to learn.
While 20 is the minimum age for entry, we prefer if you were older with some experience of working for your living. Monastic life is physically and mentally demanding, and so you need good health and a reasonably balanced personality.
If you are interested in monastic life or have any queries, please contact the Novice Master;
Fr. Denis-Luke O’Hanlon
Novice Master, Mount Melleray Abbey, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Ireland.