Who are Benedictine Monks?

Benedictines are men and women who follow the Rule of St. Benedict, written around the year 530.
Benedictines live a communal life of prayer, work and mutual support under the direction of the Rule and a Superior.
Benedictines profess religious vows of Obedience, Stability and Ongoing Conversion.
Benedictine communities are found throughout the world, and each monastery has a unique character and identity.
Benedictine men and women have made significant contributions to the establishment and development of the Church in Oklahoma since its very beginnings.

Some important Benedictine Practices and Customs

Listening and Obedience

We listen for God speaking to us through the Scriptures and Prayer.
We seek the will of God in the instructions of our Superiors.
We strive to listen to one another to build a community of love.
We share with each other our stories to see God’s action in our lives.

Reverence and Respect

We worship God in prayer & liturgy.
We respect each other in our daily presence.
We use the tools, talents, and goods entrusted to us to build up God's kingdom.
We reverence the human community in Christian service.
We see the presence of Christ in each person.

Balance

We seek a balance between work, prayer and leisure.
We seek a balance between silence and dialogue.
We seek a balance between solitude and being with others.
Our life as a whole is a response to the call of God.

Stability

We strive to never flee from difficult situations.
We seek the needs of the community and individuals.
We support each other throughout our lives.
We are mindful of those who went before us, and those who will come after us.

Conversion of Life

God calls us to grow in holiness each day.
We strive to seek God in all things.
We see each day as an opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and others.
We are committed to a life-long journey of becoming more and more open to the love of God and others.

Private Prayer and Reading

Central to our monastic way of life is a commitment to personal prayer and spiritual reading.  In prayer and in meditating on the Scriptures and writings of spiritual teachers, we open ourselves to the voice of God who calls us to Himself.

Communal Prayer

In addition to private prayer and reflection, an important element of our life is the communal celebration of the Opus Dei, or the Work of God. St. Benedict teaches that we should prefer nothing to this time when we come together to sing the Lord’s praises and to listen attentively to God’s Word. Guests to the monastery are invited to sit  in the monastic choir for the Work of God.

Silence

Often guests to the monastery comment on the quiet that they experience during their visit. Monks value silence in order to create an atmosphere of attentive listening, prayer and reflection.

Work

Work is an important aspect of Benedictine life. For St. Benedict, to work is to participate in God’s act of Creation and to express our human dignity.

Our work helps us to participate in God’s act of Creation.
Our work supports the community.
Our work makes it possible to contribute to the needs of others through service and charity.
Our work helps us to develop and express our personal talents and gifts.
Our work builds upon the overall mission of the Church

Hospitality

In his Rule, St. Benedict writes: "All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Matt 25:35)." (Rule of Benedict 53) For this reason, Benedictines have a strong tradition of hospitality, and try to extend every courtesy to all guests. Guests at Saint Gregory's Abbey include everyone who comes on our grounds, but especially refers to our students and employees, and those who stay at the monastery.

Meals

For St. Benedict, the meal is more than the simple taking of nourishment. In Benedictine spirituality, the meal takes on a "sacramental" character, and can be viewed as a continuation of our sharing of Eucharist. In light of this, we at St. Gregory’s observe silence at some of our communal meals. Breakfast is eaten in silence. Our silent breakfast is an opportunity for us to reflect on the Word of God we have heard during our morning prayers and to resist the temptation to fill the day with "chatter." Lunch is an informal meal and talking is permitted. Supper is a more formal meal, and begins and ends with shared prayer. The practice of table reading is kept at supper Monday through Friday. During these meals a member of the community reads from books on a variety of subjects. On Saturdays and Sundays, supper is eaten informally and talking is permitted.