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
Archabbey Guest House & Retreat
Center - offers hospitality and a year-round retreat
program. Monks are involved in this ministry as administrators and
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,
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.