Monastic Experience at Mount Melleray Abbey

the groupA group of 16 people including students and lecturers experienced monastic life through a 4-day stay at Mount Melleray Abbey, with a community of Cistercian [Trappist] monks. The monastery is situated on the slopes of the Knockmealdown mountains in County Waterford, Ireland.

Situated in a lovely, peaceful place, the Abbey was a wonderful home to the group, each person participating in work activities with the Monks as well as attending prayers with them. Prayers started at 4:00 am, a difficult wake-up call... However the contageous inner peacefulness of the monks praying made it well worth the effort!

Each participant was given passages to reflect upon whilst 
doing work activities, including cleaning and digging, with the stronger members carrying logs.

The following excerpts are taken from Mount Melleray Abbey's Website:

The Monastery as a Place of Prayer & Work

Unceasing prayer is the continual readiness to surrender to the will of God.  It is an inner climate of attention to his Word and to his indwelling Love.  To foster and express this hidden prayer, the monastic community gathers several times during the day to chant the divine office.  This is composed primarily of psalms, hymns, and scripture readings.  These respond to the changing themes of the liturgical year and immerse the monk ever more deeply in the mystery of Christ.  

"Work, especially manual work, has always enjoyed special esteem in the Cistercian tradition since it gives the monks the opportunity of sharing in the divine work of creation and restoration, and of following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.  This hard and redeeming work is a means of providing a livelihood for the brothers and for other people, especially the poor.  It expresses solidarity with all workers.  Moreover work is an occasion for a fruitful asceticism that fosters personal development and maturity.  It promotes health of mind and body and contributes greatly to the unity of community". Constitution 26  

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