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Author Topic: How do you start a monastery?  (Read 5328 times)
Petertherock
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« on: November 25, 2009, 09:24:PM »

I have in the back of my mind the thought of founding a traditional monastery. Obviously I am not a priest so I would have to find a traditional priest to provide the sacraments. I know you also need the OK of the Bishop to be "official" but I don't know how receptive the NO Bishop would be to a traditional monastery.

I also don't want to be a laughing stock like the Dimon Brothers. Of course the hardest part would be getting funding because you would certainly have certain bills plus you would need land and some sort of building for the cells and a chapel. I guess what I am asking is how would one go about founding a monastery and go about promoting vocations.

Our priest told us the last couple of weeks that Maine is the most unchurched state in the country. Meaning, there is less Churches in Maine then in any other state. Also, the entire New England region is at the bottom of the list in how important religion is to them. Meaning, people in the New England are don't feel relgion is important at all. I believe Father said Maine is the 3rd worst in the country. So I think there is a need for more monasteries and especially more traditional monasteries. I just would like to know how to begin or if something like this would even be possible.

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Darryl
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2009, 09:33:PM »

1. prepare a place for the priest to say mass.
2. get a priest to come and say a mass there.
3. stay there and do what you should until the priest comes back....?
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devotedknuckles
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2009, 09:40:PM »

Have u been to a monastary before of any order? Have u explored the different Rules? Don't take this the wrong way just tryin to get where your at. I'm not an Oblate or TO to any order but I have a very deep interest in Monachism and comparitive Rule study. Interestingf thread I have a very large library dealing with Western Monachism. Maybe Ill post some bibs.
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2009, 09:54:PM »

How faithfully are you following a rule of life? I think the idea of founding a monastery while noble is not really what you should be focusing on. If you think you have a calling to the monastic life talk to a good priest first. Instead of founding a monastery perhaps you can enter a traditional Catholic monastery but the important thing is to be open to the voice of God which can only be heard in silence.

Each day is an opportunity to grow in union with God and to retire to the "monastic cell" in our interior life. You know God may not be calling you to the monastic life but perhaps he is calling you to suffer in the world.
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Petertherock
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2009, 10:26:PM »

To answer some of the questions I have been in a monastery. It was some of the best times in my life spiritually and physically. The day I was told my diabetes would prohibit my acceptance was like an end to my life. Because of my age and diabetes, most orders, in fact all orders I have contacted have rejected me. The abbot and my spiritual director at the monastery I was at (it was a Maronite monastery) was very much in favor of my acceptance and lobbied for the council to change their mind. But Fr. Abbot told me their answer was, "We will never accept anyone with diabetes."

I remember Fr. Corapi talking about how he was forced to leave the Franciscan monastery he was at for a completely different reason and he said removing the habit was like peeling off his skin. I can surely understand what he went through, because I would explain it the same way.

The first and most important step for me is to pay off the debts I have. That is the biggest step whether I found my own monastery or am able to find an order that will accept me.

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Darryl
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spasiisochrani
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2009, 10:35:PM »

My bishop (Bishop John Kudrick of the Byzantine/Ruthenian Catholic Eparchy of Parma) is interested in starting a monastery:

A special invitation from Bishop John:
Monasticism – the "very soul of the … church"

It is clear to me that the Eparchy of Parma needs the witness, example and service that only well-established and vibrant monasticism can give. This eparchy is the only one in our Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church without a men’s monastery/community. Our women’s monasteries/communities, because of their charism or because of the advanced age of the nuns, are restricted to a ministry of prayer. Although we are blessed with the (greatly appreciated) apostolic activity of monastics from outside the eparchy, their participation in the life of this eparchy is understandably limited.

Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter "Orientale Lumen" ("The Light of the East") devotes considerable attention to monasticism as a necessary "reference point for all the baptized" (9). He states that monasticism is the "very soul of the … church" (9) [All such numbers are references to "Orientale Lumen"].

We cannot deny the blessings of monastic experience, past and present, here and elsewhere in our church, but we must be open to re-visioning. This may take the form of extending a present experience or taking a totally new approach. I envision either a men’s or women’s monastery, or both, that will be based on the spirit of "Orientale Lumen." We must take advantage of the "extraordinary flexibility" of Eastern monasticism to "personalize (it to) the times, rhythms and ways of seeking God … to fulfill the expectations of (this particular) church in (this) period of its history" (13).

I am sharing this communication with you because of either your experience in monasticism or your possible interest in participating in such a venture. Please feel free to share this with anyone else who may share our interest. I would appreciate your comments or questions that may help in further consideration. We would also appreciate your prayer.

January 17, 2008

Feast of St. Antony the Great
+Bishop John


Monasticism in the Eparchy of Parma

While still leaving much to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the input of those who will pioneer this endeavor and of those knowledgeable of the law, I propose the following: (Please note that I am not suggesting that existing monasteries/ communities do not reflect these points.)

The monastery will be Byzantine and Catholic in its common spirituality, taking leadership "to rediscover [our] full identity … according to [our] own special disciplines. …" (21).

The monastery will follow the Byzantine tradition as it is known by those churches who trace their roots to the Eparchy of Mukacevo, and further to Constantinople.

The monastery will provide an environment where the monastics may live the Christian life, "intensely and exclusively" (9).

The monastics will not be substitutes for the holiness of the rest of us but will "witness to the fact that we Christians are at different stages of the spiritual journey," inviting all to a deeper spirituality (9).

"Concretely lived charity (will be) the basis" for interpersonal relationship (9).

Living "suspended between … the Word of God and the Eucharist," the monastics will realize their call is both "individual and, at the same time, an ecclesial and community event" (10).

A structure of authority will be developed to allow for "obedience as the listening which changes life" (10).

Communal prayer will be adequate to "assimilate the Word through chanting" (10). The Mukacevo plainchant (prostopinije) will be the norm.

The monastics will share their goods in a way to "proclaim the awareness of one’s own radical poverty" (10).

There will be a regular celebration of the Holy Eucharist, in its fullness, as "the culmination of their prayer experience … the Word becomes Flesh and Blood" (10). The monastics will draw the strength of their community from the Holy Eucharist, by which they realize that they are "‘kinsmen" of Christ, anticipating the experience of divinization" (10).

Efforts will be taken to develop into "a living sign of the expectation of (divinization)" (10).

A respect for the matter of creation will be demonstrated by the sanctification of time and of that which is entrusted to the monastery (11).

The monastics will engage in on-going formation for "spiritual discernment in continuous purification," especially strengthened by prayer and fasting (11).

They shall engage in study to "contemplate Christ in the hidden recesses of creation and in the history of humankind … seeking the meaning of life" (12) and to provide the church at large with inspiration to respond to the needs of the moment (14).

The model of the "spiritual father" will be followed in the on-going formation of the monastics. The monastics will be encouraged to develop this model in their own lives for others, as well (13).

The monastics will build a communal dimension by (a) opportunities for developing spiritual friendships ("koinonia"); (b) a communal service/ministry ("diakonia"); (c) preaching, teaching, writing to proclaim the Christian message ("kerygma"); and (d) communal worship ("eucharistia") (Cf. 10 and 14).

Although living in community will be the norm for the monastics, an option will be available for those who must, at least for a time, live separately. A structure will be established to maintain participation in the community.

Efforts will be taken to integrate learning and participation into a single reality, as Jesus Christ is the Truth and the Life – but also the Way (15).

The monastics will have adequate time for silence, to courageously meet one’s self, without the deafening of noise. This will provide time for a "prayerful assimilation of scripture and the liturgy more than by systematic meditation" (16).

The monastery will be a center for evangelization and ecumenism, reaching out to both Eastern and Western churches, and to all (2, 3).

The monastery will be a place of pilgrimage and retreat. Hospitality will be an important characteristic of the community.

The monastics will be expected to share the fruits of their spiritual discipline with the church at large, both with the hierarchy and with individual seekers.

Initially at least, the bishop will maintain supervision of the monastery and will participate, on a limited basis, in the life of a men’s monastery.

Priest-monks must be incardinated into the Eparchy of Parma or given leave from their own eparchy or religious order.

Initially, all monastics will maintain ownership of their personal property but use thereof and purchases will be subject to monastic authority.

Initially, all property of the monastery will be owned by the Eparchy and the Eparchy will assist the monastery financially. With time, the monastery will be self-sufficient.

A uniform attire will be expected for church and formal community activities.

New members of the monastery will be admitted according to the same process as those who seek admission to the Eparchy of Parma formation program toward ordination, although acceptance criteria will correspond to the monastic vocation.

Stages of formation will be immediately established.

Any or all of the above may change, subject to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

All correspondence concerning this endeavor should be addressed to me personally:

Bishop John
Eparchy of Parma
1900 Carlton Road
Parma, OH 44134

Email sent to the Eparchy’s Office of Communications, viscom@parma.org, will be forwarded to me.


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Credo
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2009, 10:38:PM »

Quote from: Petertherock
Our priest told us the last couple of weeks that Maine is the most unchurched state in the country. Meaning, there is less Churches in Maine then in any other state.

Usually when someone says a person or area is "unchurched," they mean that the Christianity itself - as opposed to the number of buildings - has little or no traction.
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SCG
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2009, 10:43:PM »

Maybe a good start would be a lay apostolate dedicated to education and evangelization. "Apostolate" is a good traditional word. It conveys the idea of functioning in a capacity somewhat like that of the apostles. It reaches out, in imitation of the apostles who were “sent out” to witness to those outside the church, and it sounds like those are the kind of folks you’re trying to reach.
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Petertherock
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2009, 10:53:PM »

Quote from: Petertherock
Our priest told us the last couple of weeks that Maine is the most unchurched state in the country. Meaning, there is less Churches in Maine then in any other state.

Usually when someone says a person or area is "unchurched," they mean that the Christianity itself - as opposed to the number of buildings - has little or no traction.

This is probably correct given what our priest said last week about New England not valuing religion. I have thought of everything from founding a monastery to founding a soup kitchen or a place to distribute food to the homeless. But any of these things will involve paying off debts and saving money. The problem with the soup kitchen or food distribution idea is there are already a few places that already do this. Of course I could always volunteer at one of these exsisting places to start off with. But my heart is really on the monastic life.

Because of my work schedule and living conditions any kind of "rule" is pretty much out the window. I do try to at least do Compline before going to bed. I also try to say 15 decades of the Rosary every day as well as the morning offering when I wake up.

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Darryl
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2009, 11:01:PM »

It is a good think that you say the Divine Office and Rosary. If some Christian community is what you have in mind, why don't you gather friends with you to pray. Even if you could only say Lauds or Vespers in common once a week, it would be a good thing. Maybe you could have a dinner after Vespers for fellowship. That's how great things happen: one step at a time.
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I promise not to put anything here which might help us question our mind-forged manacles, inspire us, or help us in any way at all.

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