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Monasteries

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  • Monasteries

    Has anyone ever been to a monastery before? If so, what were your experiences there like?

    (Also, I wasn't sure if this shouldn't instead be in Ecclesiology since Protestants don't have monasteries, but please move it if you feel it's more appropriate there).
    "Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being; remind yourself what nature demands of people. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy."
    -Marcus Aurelius

  • #2


    Many years ago (when I was in my mid-teens) I was with a small church group that visited the Monastery of the Holy Spirit which is near Conyers Georgia (a bit SW of Atlanta). It is run by a division of the Order of Cistercians known as the Trappists. We stayed for a little over an hour.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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    • #3
      Several times. An awesome sense of peace and tranquility.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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      • #4
        There is a Coptic monastery by Newberry Springs, about 30 miles east of Barstow. I intend to visit it someday.
        Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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        • #5
          Originally posted by T-Shirt Ninja View Post
          Has anyone ever been to a monastery before? If so, what were your experiences there like?

          (Also, I wasn't sure if this shouldn't instead be in Ecclesiology since Protestants don't have monasteries, but please move it if you feel it's more appropriate there).
          I used to be a Franciscan 'monk', but most Franciscans do not live in monasteries. Some segments of the Franciscan order are monastic, but most have active ministries in cities and usually move to new locations every six years or so. Traditionally, they are supposed to live and work among the poor. Franciscans take the same monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, but some traditional monks may also take a vow of stability, meaning to live in the same monastery for the rest of their life. Even when this is not a vow, it is generally expected, but there is always room for exceptions, so some will move to a different monastery or live and work outside of their monastery. The segments of the Franciscan order that live a more contemplative lifestyle more closely resemble the lifestyle of traditional monks. Also, the novitiate year (before temporary vows) for all religious orders (not just Franciscans) is purposefully designed to be rather monastic in terms of devotion of greater amounts of time to prayer and contemplation, limited travel, and simple menial labor.

          I have visited several monasteries, for spiritual retreats or just as a matter of tourism, the latter especially for those monasteries that are famous for their beer and cheese. With respect to my spiritual visits, I find most monasteries to places of deep, contemplative prayer, places of deep peace. But that environment may help surface areas of one's own life that are not founded upon divine peace. This may be very helpful in one's spiritual and practical journey to become aware of areas of one's life, personality, and vocation that are in need of greater reflection and integration. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in a monastery for the rest of one's life; I am not built that way; but I have seen the spiritual fruits among some who do live this lifestyle.

          By the way, there are some Franciscan religious in both some more traditional segments of Lutheranism and Anglicanism.
          βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
          ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

          אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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          • #6
            I've never been, but I would really like to.
            I DENOUNCE DONALD J. TRUMP AND ALL HIS IMMORAL ACTS.

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            • #7
              I visited the Ave Marie Grotto monastery in Cull man, AL when I was a kid. I thought the artwork was really cool. I didn't interact with any monastics, though.
              "Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being; remind yourself what nature demands of people. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy."
              -Marcus Aurelius

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              • #8
                Visited an Eastern Orthodox women's monastery in Michigan (Dormition Monastery) over a weekend last January.

                One of my strongest memories of it was the incredible atmosphere of quietness and stillness.

                The services did not leave me with any strong impression or strike me as being particularly better/worse/different than the Orthodox divine services in a parish (other than some external things like mostly female voices).

                There are some really lovely people there, though. The priest who serves the community kindly agreed to spend some time with me answering my questions about Orthodoxy, and that conversation was extremely helpful to me. The abbess is also wonderful.

                Overall, definitely a positive experience but too short; I'm hoping to go back again for a longer visit, maybe this summer.

                Originally posted by robrecht View Post
                most have active ministries in cities and usually move to new locations every six years or so.
                What's the principle or rationale behind this (specifically the moving to new locations part)? I'm curious because I've heard of the monastic virtue of staying in one place but have not previously heard of this practice.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sparrow View Post
                  What's the principle or rationale behind this (specifically the moving to new locations part)? I'm curious because I've heard of the monastic virtue of staying in one place but have not previously heard of this practice.
                  There probably isn't one single reason or rationale but a variety of meaningful perspectives are mentioned. One should not be too attached to a specific ministry or church as if it is uniquely one's own accomplishment or possession. A willingness to go where the Spirit blows. Not being complacent. New challenges encourage growth and learning. New leadership for local parish communities. The religious orders also elect new leadership every three years, with most people serving two terms for a total of six years. New leadership can provide new vision for how the order can better serve the church or better align with the charism of the order, for example, for Franciscans this is service to the poor and evangelization by one's work and the example of communal life. If a province has drifted away from this charism, new leadership can reassign people to more relevant work. Hope that makes some sense.
                  βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
                  ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                  אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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                  • #10
                    Nope, but when I was a member go the RCC the church I used to go to was on the grounds of St Joseph's Scholasticate. so I don't know if that counts.
                    http://scholasticate.sjti.ac.za/
                    "If you can ever make any major religion look absolutely ludicrous, chances are you haven't understood it"
                    -Ravi Zacharias, The New Age: A foreign bird with a local walk

                    Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
                    1 Corinthians 16:13

                    "...he [Doherty] is no historian and he is not even conversant with the historical discussions of the very matters he wants to pontificate on."
                    -Ben Witherington III

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post


                      Many years ago (when I was in my mid-teens) I was with a small church group that visited the Monastery of the Holy Spirit which is near Conyers Georgia (a bit SW of Atlanta). It is run by a division of the Order of Cistercians known as the Trappists. We stayed for a little over an hour.
                      I probably should add that at the age I visited I didn't pay much attention to the monks and what they said but found the architecture and grounds fascinating.



                      I looked the place up on the interwebz and found that they've become increasingly "visitor friendly" having added a cafe, gift shop and book store (the largest Christian bookstore in the state) and more recently a museum.
                      Last edited by rogue06; 01-20-2015, 10:44 PM.

                      I'm always still in trouble again

                      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by robrecht View Post
                        There probably isn't one single reason or rationale but a variety of meaningful perspectives are mentioned. One should not be too attached to a specific ministry or church as if it is uniquely one's own accomplishment or possession. A willingness to go where the Spirit blows. Not being complacent. New challenges encourage growth and learning. New leadership for local parish communities. The religious orders also elect new leadership every three years, with most people serving two terms for a total of six years. New leadership can provide new vision for how the order can better serve the church or better align with the charism of the order, for example, for Franciscans this is service to the poor and evangelization by one's work and the example of communal life. If a province has drifted away from this charism, new leadership can reassign people to more relevant work. Hope that makes some sense.
                        That's helpful, yes. Some of those reasons I guessed at, having heard them before in different contexts, but not all of them.

                        Personally, I've seen a lot of positive effects and increased fruitfulness from long-term commitments to missions work in contrast to shorter commitments of two years or less. Because of my experience in an environment where longer-term commitments were particularly fruitful and just a general tendency to admire people who devote their whole live to one thing, I tend to view long-term and lifelong commitments (e.g. the EO St. Nicholas Kasatkin of Japan) very positively. And I also tend to be very suspicious of ministry models where people move around so much that there is neither accountability for how the missionaries/ministers live their lives nor follow-up for the people they minister to. So coming from that kind of perspective, where I've been looking at the positive aspects of long-term commitments and the unideal and easily-exploitable aspects of vagrant ministry, it is just curious to me to see a different model being recommended, especially in contrast to the monastic virtue of stability.

                        But six years is a very solid chunk of time, so I don't think it would have the pitfalls of, say, tent revival preaching. Spending six years in one place is definitely respectable.

                        Anyways, thanks for the insight into the reasoning behind that ministry model.

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                        • #13
                          There's a monastery not all that far from me that welcomes Protestants. I know my pastor tries to go once per year.
                          "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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                          • #14
                            I went on a field trip once in my World Religions class. I don't remember much besides the classroom atheists troupe making snide comments about money being used to build church architecture not going to the poor.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Manwë Súlimo View Post
                              I went on a field trip once in my World Religions class. I don't remember much besides the classroom atheists troupe making snide comments about money being used to build church architecture not going to the poor.
                              Next time tell them it's a good point and one that was made by one of the apostles as well.

                              Only tell them it was Judas if they ask.
                              "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

                              There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

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