Monastic Life at Douai - Douai Abbey

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Our Benedictine Life


As Benedictine Monks, our lives are grounded in the Rule of St Benedict, which dates from the sixth century.  The very first word of the Rule is “Listen”, and listening is the mark of a monk’s life. So we listen for God each day –

‡ in our daily round of liturgical worship at Divine Office and Mass;
‡ in our spiritual reading of sacred scripture;
‡ in our communal interaction, especially with the abbot;
‡ in those who come to visit or stay at the monastery;
‡ in our daily work, however humble.

An indispensable foundation for our living the life of the Rule is each monk’s profession of the three monastic vows:

1. Obedience, to the Rule and to the abbot, and through them to Christ;
2. Stability, by which we bind ourselves to a specific community, for better or for worse;
3. Conversatio morum, or conversion of life, by which we strive to renew each day our personal conversion to God.

The three vows support us as we seek to live more intensely the Christian call to love of God and neighbour, for the benefit of not only ourselves but the whole Church.
Monastic life is not without its diversions and distractions from the highway to God, which is why Pope Benedict reminds all who follow the Rule of St Benedict that their monasteries are –

not mere strongholds of culture and tradition, or even simple business enterprises. Structure, organziation and finances are necessary in the Church too, but they are not what is essential. A monastery is above all this: a place of spiritual power.
Benedict XVI to the monks of Heiligenkreuz, 2007
A typical Douai day...

0600...    Rising bell
0620...    Matins & Lauds (sung in English)
0715...      Meditation/private prayer
0745...     Sung conventual Mass
0830...    Breakfast, followed by work or study
1250...     Midday Office (sung in English)
1305...     Lunch (in silence, with reading)
(Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday recreation follows lunch)
1400...     Work or study
1800...     Vespers (sung in Latin), followed by lectio divina
1900...     Supper (in silence with reading and table service)
(Except on Sunday, common recreation follows supper)
2000...   Compline (sung in English)
2200...    Summum silentium, or Great Silence, until after breakfast
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