"Idleness is the enemy of the soul," St. Benedict says in the
Rule (Ch. 48:1). So, along with prayer he prescribes work: "Then
they are really monks."
Prayer is primary in Benedictine life and at Saint Meinrad, but
whether we are serving one another or the wider Church and world,
work is necessary to our lives, just as inhaling and exhaling are
both necessary to the process of breathing. It is a symbiotic
relationship, a rhythm of life in which intervals of communal and
personal prayer, work, and our common life together as monks are
interwoven into one continuous thread stretching to eternity.
To be sure, there is a lot of work to do at Saint Meinrad. Monks
are involved with the Seminary and School of Theology, pastoral and
parish ministry, our guesthouse and retreat programs, our secular
oblate program, the Abbey Press, and our Development Office. Monks
minister away from the Hill to youth, prisoners, other religious,
military personnel, and students; they assist our lay co-workers in
maintenance and repair of our facilities and grounds.
Our occupations, interests, and talents are diverse. We are
teachers, administrators, writers, artists, psychologists, tailors,
laborers, gardeners, students, health-care providers, retreat
directors, spiritual guides, pastors, computer technicians,
musicians, foresters, scholars, locksmiths, delivery persons,
craftsmen, housekeepers, cooks, librarians, firefighters, and
These are some of the things we do as monks of Saint Meinrad,
and it is all work that is very important to us and to those whom
we serve. However, none of these works in and of themselves makes
us monks. We are not defined by what we do, but rather by the
unique way of life we lead in seeking God.
We live our lives together here as monks primarily for two
reasons: to do the hard work of personal conversion, and to be a
collective witness to the world of that unity and integrity of life
centered in prayer-all in service to the Church.