Ora et Labora - "Prayer and Work" - is one of the primary mottos of Benedictine monasticism. This simple formula establishes a mandate for monks to balance their life of contemplation with work in service of the monastic community, the Church and the wider world.
The monastic charism and the demands of the liturgical life place certain limits on the types of work monks do. Consequently, monasteries tend to adopt apostolates (or works) that allow them to live in community and to turn to prayer several times throughout the course of the day.
The monk's individual work is ultimately determined by the abbot, who balances the interests and talents of the monk with the overall needs of the community and the Church. Many young monks continue their education or training upon entering the monastery to receive the knowledge and skills they will need to serve the community and the Church as the abbot and community see fit.
Saint Meinrad Archabbey has a number of important, community apostolates in which our monks serve. These include:
Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology - a graduate-level theological institution whose mission is to prepare men for priesthood and to educate and form lay men and women for ministry in the Church. Enrollment in our priesthood, deacon formation and lay degree programs continues to grow each year, and monks are involved in this ministry as teachers, administrators, formation deans, spiritual directors and support staff.
Archabbey Guest House & Retreat Center - offers hospitality and a year-round retreat program. Monks are involved in this ministry as administrators and retreat directors.
Abbey Press - a printing business offering eco-friendly, paper-based gifts (cards, calendars, wrapping papers) as well as a wide range of spiritual and theological publications. Monks are involved in this apostolate as writers, editors, computer technicians and administrators.
Parish Ministry - Since its founding, Saint Meinrad Archabbey has served the Church by providing pastoral assistance in some of its local parishes.
In addition to working in these apostolates, monks also serve the monastic community as artists, musicians, healthcare professionals, sacristans and tradesmen (i.e., bakers, carpenters, painters, tailors).
As part of his discernment, a young man is encouraged to imagine ways in which his personal gifts and interests fit the needs and works of the monastery he is hoping to enter.