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We have about 50 monks.

By our work. Our main sources of income are the monastery shop, our publishing house for books and CDs, and Mass stipends. We also receive gifts from our benefactors. Since we are vowed to poverty, our expenses are reduced.

We do not have radio or TV, but we do have access to a few newspapers. This discretion in using media does not mean we are indifferent to the world. From time to time, we also attend talks given by important figures who visit the monastery.

Not usually. After ordination to the priesthood, a monk can go away for a week to celebrate his first Masses. But our families can come and see us three or four times a year. We can also write to them. Above all, our families are present to us in prayer.

Routine is a real risk for us. But when seen with the eyes of faith, our life only appears to be monotonous. We have specific occupations at each moment of the day. Liturgical feasts are high points. God is the exact opposite of boring: he is a source of endless fascination! The more we know God, the more we want to enter into the intimacy of the Holy Trinity.

As in every family, opinions sometimes differ about how things should be done. Everyone has his own character and we are not perfect. So we do sometimes argue. But St Benedict says in his Rule that we should make peace with our brethren before the sun goes down (ch. 4). Our unity is a gift of God, which it is the abbot’s special responsibility to preserve. One of his most important tasks is to serve the unity between all members of the monastic family.

Any human life has its share of difficulties. Monastic life has its own hardships: enclosure, early rising and regular fasting do not exactly gratify human nature. And even though we live in community, our life has its share of solitude. Nevertheless, the Rule of St Benedict’s success lies in its discretion. In other words, it seeks to adapt to each person: both to monks in poor health and to those able to do more. Above all, however, the Holy Spirit makes joyful hearts of all who have left everything to follow Christ!

Monks are not immune from doubting their faith. The truths of the Christian faith can be obscure and seemingly hard to believe. But God does not refuse his grace to those who ask for it. Anyone who puts his trust in God will emerge from these trials with a purer, stronger faith.

We came here freely and stay of our own free will. This does not rule out times when it is hard to persevere. But God is faithful and his grace is in no shortage. Married couples also have a duty to be faithful to one another. On rare occasions, monks do leave. This is a great sadness for us, which we carry in our prayer. It is rather like having a living limb amputated.

The abbot is elected by the monks via a secret ballot. He must obtain two-thirds of the votes to be elected. The new abbot is confirmed by the Holy See. He remains abbot for life, but may resign if he feels that the task is beyond his strength.