Education is as important to the monks as it is to others. Ongoing spiritual and personal development is essential to what Saint Benedict calls, “The school of the Lord’s service.” Continual education also helps the monks stay connected to the world around them – yet without becoming part of it. Through workshops and conferences, on-line courses and guest speakers, at the Abbey and elsewhere, the monks continue to learn about new ways to improve their life of prayer, work and hospitality, and maintain their connection to the wider community.
To expand one’s mind and soul, the monks engage in a variety of education opportunities, including:
Music—Saint Augustine once said, “He who sings well, prays twice”. Each year, the monks participate in a Gregorian chant enrichment program. Professional music composer and instructor of Gregorian chant, Wilko Brouwers, of the Netherlands hosts a music workshop at the Abbey every year to instruct the monks on chant techniques. Mr. David Hughes of Connecticut also provides music instructions several times a year. This workshop gives the monks an opportunity to improve their technique and voices for the purpose of making their prayer in chant more pleasing to God.
In addition to this week-long workshop, the Abbey’s choir director, Fr. Marc Crilly, O.S.B., attends the annual Gregorian Chant Symposium sponsored by the Church Music Association of America.
Spiritual Enrichment—For one week each year, the monks put aside all that might distract them from focusing exclusively on God, and go on retreat here at the Abbey. In addition to their usual rhythm of daily prayer, a priest from outside the community leads them in two reflections each day which both help them greater appreciate their vocation and respond unreservedly to Jesus and Mary with love and generosity that they might become saints.
Formation and Education of New Monks—The future of the Abbey depends, in great part, on our next generation of monks. The basic monastic training necessary to form them in the charisms and traditions of the Abbey as well as in Scripture, Theology, Monastic History and Spirituality, Latin and Music is the greatest investment in our future.
Leadership, Responsibility & Personal Development—As in any successful organization, the Abbey recognizes that each member makes a valuable contribution to the good of the whole group. According to his own capacity, each monk is both a leader and a follower in relation to his brother monks and others. The Abbey draws on the expertise of Leadership Dynamics, Inc., Leominster, MA, among others, to assist the Abbot and monks in enhancing their skills so as to work as “God’s Team” for the salvation of all.
Technology Advancement—With so much information now available online, and new advancements in technology constantly being introduced to replace the old, the monks believe that their Mission of Saving Souls is greatly enhanced by learning how to make their Mission better known through social media and other forms of informational technology.
Your financial support is important to give our monks an opportunity to enrich their souls, help them in their apostolate of helping others, and keep abreast of the latest technology for the sake of the Abbey’s Mission.
We thank you for your past support and continued dedication to Saint Benedict Abbey. We invite you to pray with us daily.