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Thoughts of Monasticism

July 7, 2008

A large part of my grade for Intro. to Monastic Spirituality is a 12-15 page paper due today. I decided to write my paper on the effects that Vatican II had on monasteries. Something happened when I was about halfway through writing the paper…Something that always happens when I’ve done extensive research, checked out like 15 books from Bridwell, written a thorough outline, and drafted 11 pages: I’m wondering if I’m even following the assignment. At that stage in the game, even as much as I work ahead, it’s really too late to change. This happens each time I have a large assignment. I work for weeks on the research, planning, and drafting of a paper and then a week before it’s due, I panic that I’ve completely messed up everything.

The assignment is to research one aspect of monastic spirituality. My paper is a great deal of research on Vatican II and especially the Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of the Religious Life, which is one of 25 documents put out by Vatican II and addresses monastic life specifically. I’ve enjoyed doing the research and it’s a decent paper, so we’ll see what happens. I e-mailed it to my professor two days early on Saturday.

I have relied on the internet to research specific monastic communities in America to see how they are using technology (which is only possible because of Vatican II) to generate income. I’ve found fantastic websites for monasteries selling caskets, vestments, and most surprisingly, fruit cake. The internet has opened wonderful doors for even very remote monastic communities to support their lifestyle by selling handmade goods on the internet. Of course, many communities still run schools and bed and breakfasts in order to maintain the Monastery.

By far the best website that I found was from a relatively new benedictine monastery in Chicago. They run an award winning Bed and Breakfast in conjunction with Monastery of the Holy Cross. They have a paypal account, googlemaps embedded in the website, and they podcast all of their homilies. The picture of an icon of Benedict and his sister Scholastica has the caption: “Ben and Schol” on the Flickr page. I still ADORE St. Gregory’s, but Monastery of the Holy Cross seems like a pretty cool place.

Now that the paper is done, I’m enjoying myself again. I’ve started reading The Cloister Walk and Prep. I spent some time at the pool this weekend and on Saturday I walked close to 10 miles. I’m walking about 25 miles a week and thus allowing myself to eat whatever I want. This caught up with me this weekend and I’m putting an end to insane amounts of sugar. I downloaded some pretty cool trial software from that tracks caloric intake, exercise, and water. If nothing else, I hope it helps me pay attention.

The countdown to Puerto Rico is officially on! I leave 3 weeks from this morning… Crazy how quickly time flies!!! Lisa and the kids just got down there on Saturday and they LOVE it! Between now and when I leave I’ll be spending a few days in Oklahoma City for Renee and Mike’s wedding! July is proving to be an exciting month. 🙂

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 8, 2008 7:08 am

    Interesting article, have a look at my own Association of communities, different denominations,


    and my Yahoo ecumenical list of about 410 members for monastic subjects, spirituality, contemplation, info, news, new experiments, contemplation, etc at

    Also have a look at the 4th Order, Interfaith – and other links on my site – for example the attmept to emphasize the Jewsih origin and Old Testament context in an order, the Green Mountain community that are very aware of our universe-context (that planet earth is not our only context, but the entire expanding universe/s or multiverses of astro-physics.


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