More on Vocations
Sentences on a Vocation with the Benedictine Community of Saint Anthony
(An Old Catholic Community)
Monastery of Mary in the Wilderness
Hermitage of Mary in the Wilderness
Abba Anthony RD Curley, OSB/BCSA
+Abbot Martin Andrew, OSB/BCSA
For those souls seeking a true vocation toward Perfect Love. We are seeking those who desire living within a religious Community of Benedictines where: silence and solitude and unceasing prayer in the wilderness…in GOD alone … are the basis of their internal Rest in GOD.
(The photos included in this booklet show various things that are part of our religious environment and surroundings)
Many souls say they desire a monastic life, but they cannot surrender themselves to be obedient to the Rule of Benedict and the superiors that GOD has placed over them for their spiritual good.
When a soul comes to sense he or she has a vocation (calling) from the LORD – he must surrender to that call and slowly make haste to come and see.
One cannot come and see from a distance – one must come and see first hand – discerning and allowing those charged with counseling the discerner about his vocation.
One does not come with an “agenda” of his own – he comes with a “surrender” that is from GOD alone – desiring GOD alone over the things of the world, the flesh or the devil.
There are responsibilities that must be understood – there are spiritual necessities and material necessities – for both the body and soul are involved in a vocation as a monastic (monk).
There is a preparation before we explore a vocation – time alone with GOD in prayer and the willingness to be obedient to the calling of GOD, if an invitation is given to “come and see.”
If you are seeking the Face of GOD through Christ Jesus, you are seeking to come to know Him, as GOD knows you.
You are distracted, when you stay in the world too long – and the distractions lead you away from the calling to monastic life.
Monastic life is for a few souls that are hearty – souls that must not have all the amenities – but are willing to suffer hardships, as they are required in a religious community setting.
Hardships are always present – and a soul may have to get used to a bath every three or four days – less food – less entertainment and the like.
A soul must become a part of the Divine Office in community, when we meet at the hours for the community prayer – and the soul must be in a state of constant prayer, even when speaking to others and in private – working as he prays.
A soul must never complain or gripe over his situation – He shoal always be thankful and have gratitude for the Grace and the Mercy of GOD toward himself and his fellow sinners.
A soul seeks the Face of GOD – leaving his agenda behind him – seeking full surrender to the Rule of Perfect Love – seeking GOD and the common good of the community over his own selfish interests.
A soul cannot look on his Brothers as being perfect – but he sees them also in the process of becoming true religious Brothers living in a religious community.
GOD makes haste slowly in perfecting us in Perfect Love – we surrender to His work within one another and us.
We practice daily at leaving the Judgment (Condemnation) of another and our self to GOD alone – we are Merciful toward sinners, even as we desire Mercy toward the sinful person that we are.
One must be willing to follow the Schedule established by the Abbot of the Benedictine Community for the Divine Office and work schedules.
One must be willing to comply with work assignments without grumbling – but to happily desire to contribute to the common good of the community through service as the children of GOD within a family of Brothers.
One must recognize the need that physical labor is necessary for the order to continue – this means helping the infirm and weak – bearing the burdens they cannot bear due to age and infirmity.
One must be willing to seek the Godly counsel of the Abbot, if there needs to be a change in the assignment of work.
One must contribute financially to the needs of the community, if one is a resident, partaking of the food and lodging that necessarily cost the community.
We carry this load together – and we must never allow our self to live off of the labors of a few others without helping in some manner proper to the order.
We bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the Law of Christ, knowing that each one must also carry his own load (Galatians 6: 1-6ff).
Seeking the Face of GOD in prayer is the better work we do.
We are not actively involved in social work, nor will we be as a matter of primary ministry – from time to time we may be involved – but we are primarily involved in the work of GOD through prayer and meditation.
IF you are active in your calling – we suggest you consider that your calling somewhere else with our blessings.
IF you are contemplative in your calling – we welcome you to become a resident with us, provided you are willing to take the promises and vows of – Obedience, Stability and Conversion of life and manners.
You will be required to review and ponder the important parts of the Benedictine Rule, the “Regula Benedicti” – recognizing there are some anachronisms in it that we have modified for the local practice.
The Regula remains our Rule with the primacy of the Holy Scriptures and with the help of the writings of the desert fathers and other church fathers.
The Abbot will have the final word in all decisions.
The Archabbot is a retired founder of the BCSA and Hermitage – and he answers to the Abbot (currently, Abbot +Martin).
As you might see, there is order within the order – there need to be rules – otherwise nothing would remain intact for two weeks – that is nothing would remain after two weeks.
We must be loyal to the laws of the land and the local civil authorities as well as to the Law of GOD (Romans 13).
When we enter monastic Life we are entering into a more concrete relationship with GOD in the context of Community.
We are no longer island to our self – we are part of the whole – and religious Community makes this more evident – monks, for example, have a much closer relationship with one another than let’s say even a Church parish Community.
Inside the monastic enclosure there is the potential the “familiarity will breed contempt.”
We see, when we are no longer guests that monks have individual quirks and perhaps, even a down right contrary disposition – let us remember – before GOD – we are like one another.
IF GOD so Loves us – then, we ought to Love one another in Christ.
IF we cannot countenance the behavior of someone – sometimes it is better to depart and leave a Community that is religious without judgment – and perhaps live in another religious setting.
There are some souls that enter a monastic Community and expect special treatment, because they may believe: “I have a special calling from GOD that sets me part from the average monk.”
This is Pride and a touch of arrogance dear friend.
GOD sees us all as sinners that need His Mercy – the true monk understands this after a time.
I might add here that even the little soul that writes this document has seen himself in the past as “someone special” – he is not – he is a repentant sinner like everyone else that has come to his senses.
Remember dear soul (and we repeat this often, as we do here) – the purpose of monastic Life is PRAYER and WORK in that order.
WE are nothing special – but we are repentant sinners who have come to obedience, stability and the conversion of our Life and manners in Jesus – through Christ Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit.
IF you feel like you want to become a part of a religious Community – it is imperative you leave your feelings (affections) at the door of the enclosure. Bring with you the Desire we all have – Perfect Love.
A monk, dear soul – a monk should never TRY to Live the Life of a monk so much as he TRUSTS the LORD to Live this Life as a monk through the LORD’s Strength.
Prayer and Work (Ora et Labora) are what we are about 24/7 – when we forget this we enter into temptation.
WE have a TEASURE in our earthen vessel to show us that the transcendent Power is from GOD and not from our self. (II Corinthians 4)
The Life of the monastic is austerity – doing without in many cases – we are owed nothing.
One question that comes up from those seeking a vocation is answered ahead of time: If you wish to have health insurance – you are responsible – we cannot afford this as a Community – we do not have the financial resources dear soul.
It is best, if you have external support from others for you vocation that you purchase your own health insurance plan.
When you are under the Novitiate the issue of your proportionate cost for food and board (Utilities, Water rates, etc) may be discussed and an agreement will be made prior to your being received as a Regular Monk under first, Temporary Vows and, then, Permanent Vows.
WE desire that all communications within the Community be open in a private manner – that everything is always handled in LOVE.
No disrespect is tolerated from anyone – monks are to treat each other with respect at all times, pursuant to the Rule of St. Benedict.
In all circumstances we are to follow I Corinthians 13.
In cases where scandal may happen – it will be handled in accord with the Rule of St. Benedict.
IF civil law and criminal law is violated – the monk is responsible to answer for his actions. We require that the Policies of SAR, Inc. and the Benedictine Community of St. Anthony be understood and followed to the letter.
We are a cloistered religious Community – this is who and what we are in the LORD.
We welcome you to the cloistered religious Community of cenobitic and semi-eremitical monastic Brothers.
The semi-eremitical expression of a Brother is not encourage until the Brother has proven himself as a cenobitic Brother and is under Permanent religious Profession (Vows).
May GOD bless you in your discernment process.
It is prayerfully hoped that you will consider this religious Benedictine community seriously – listening to the Voice of our LORD – and discerning with us what is His calling for you.
Be assured that we desire what is GOD’s best for you – and now what we desire.
This is GOD’s calling – and we come with you to recognize the calling of GOD for you.
Let us pray with you and work with you in this matter.
We invite any questions or clarification dear soul to the Vocations Director or the Abbot.
IF you sense a desire to “come and see” and explore who we are in our simplicity – please write us a letter of interest:
Vocations Director @ Saint Anthony House
Benedictine Community of Saint Anthony
(Monastery and Hermitage of Mary in the Wilderness)
PO Box 24
Nashua, Montana 59248
Motherhouse Phone: 406-746-3205