Thank you for your interest in our life here at The Monastery of the Risen Christ.
We are a monastic and contemplative community, in the Benedictine tradition, with an emphasis on both solitude and community. This is a difficult balance, and requires specific human skills and a certain level of spiritual development. We ask that individuals considering our way of life be in a process of spiritual direction with someone to help discern the mystery that is the call to religious life. This is best done locally, that is, with someone near your home.
We ask too that this process be an extended one, not just one or two visits. As the work progresses and the life of prayer increases, if it seems that God is calling you to consider a monastic and contemplative vocation, we would be happy to explore the possibility of a call to our way of life with you.
The following issues come up often, so we want to address them early on for prospective candidates. Our life is challenging, and different from many other ways of life. We can only accept candidates who are under age 45. In addition, we have found that those candidates in their late teens and early twenties, typically do not persevere, therefore we encourage people to wait until their mid to late twenties before seriously considering our way of life. Those who have experienced a life on their own, supporting themselves, have done well here.
We are a Roman Catholic order, and as such, candidates must be Catholic. Those considering converting to the Catholic faith are strongly encouraged to become involved in a local parish RCIA program. Recent converts are asked to be involved in their local parish for a couple of years before considering us, in order to distinguish the call of conversion from the call to religious life. In addition, those who have been away from the practice of the Catholic faith for a period of time should become re-acquainted with the Catholic faith and involved in the life of the local church. There are programs in parishes to help in this process. Your spiritual director can help you too.
The inquiry process begins by initiating contact with our vocation director. After some correspondence, if it seems appropriate, an invitation to visit the Hermitage is extended. There are normally a number of visits of varying lengths over a number of months. You will be staying within the cloister with the monks, getting to know the community and their way of life. This is then followed by a two to three-month observership.
Prior to beginning the Observership (the last stage of discernment before beginning the Postulancy) you will need to be free of all financial obligations, including all school loans.
If you have any further questions, or are interested in pursuing the possibility of a vocation with us, please feel free to write:
Father Daniel Manger, Monastery of the Risen Christ
P.O. Box 3931
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403
Please know of our prayers for you in this important search for a clearer sense of God’s call.
by Fr. Daniel Manger,OSB,Cam. Monastery of the Risen Christ.
Amidst the time of pandemic, it may be that a person who is forced to take time to reflect upon their life and the ultimate questions about one’s life purpose emerge. As St. Benedict had counseled amonk ‘must keep death before him’. Thisis not to be understood as a mere morbid preoccupation of a person who is a monk. However, the counsel is to be understand , the question of the monastic
spirituality’s trajectory in a monk’s whole life. The trajectory is that of taking up the cross , that is Jesus’ mandate for every disciple. The bearing of the cross is one done to model one’s life and that of a monk on the love that Jesus embodied toward the salvation of all people. It is to be understood as a “kenosis” (Greek word in the N.T. meaning “self-emptying”). What does this imply for a monk or any disciple? In a modern definition it would mean to let go of the egocentric retentions that often we absorb in to our day to day life of career, relationships, even so called leisure. Egocentric people often are very tyrannical with themselves and with others in their behaviors. It is as though person gets trapped in a one stage development, often to referred to a child’s stage of development nicknamed, ‘the terrible twos’. Everything and everyone is is to be centered on ‘me’ with full attention and there is no room for descent in others, for the egotist wants total control of his or her environment and project of life. Co-workers, family and friends must prove themselves as being in allegiance to the egotist by sacrificing their attentions on altar of the egotist’s ambitions. This is a far cry from discipleship and monastic life . Yet each of us in some way as human being are carrying this defect in us and it has to be healed, transformed into a more mature way of being human as was display for all to see in Jesus of Nazareth’s life and behaviors. Monastic living endeavors to be constantly in pursuit of the renunciation of this egocentric self and the manifold ways it emerges in each stage of development. Camaldolese monks and indeed all Benedictine monasticism and Eastern Orthodox monastic life as well.
Camaldolese monastic tradition harkens back to Saint Romuald, who followed the Rule of St. Benedict under the Cluny Benedictine movement. However, he perceived the gradual depreciation of the simplicity of the Rule’s observance and also the loss of the appreciation of the Desert Father & Mothers tradition the the 3rd and 4th centuries that inspired monastic life in church history. Saint
Romuald wanted to both live and restore simplicity and the hermit life bringing back into focus the various pathways of ‘self emptying’ demanded by Jesus of his disciples. Saint Romuald saw this a communal consciousness that birth out of the Christian life the church. Certainly a particular expression of Christian life but a charism given to some to take the route of letting all things die away out of life that produce only egocentric ways of living and the temptation to abandoned the pursuit of the ‘pearl of great price’ that Jesus taught about in parable. The result has been that the Camaldolese tradition continues after 1,ooo years to embrace this inspiration given to St. Romuald and his early followers up to the present day in 2020. Men and woman of many walks of life and from many countries share this inspiration and a burning desire to act upon it amidst the consumeristic ideology that often over takes and blinds or makes deaf those who put their trust in the egocentric drive to consume and control and subjugate , whole populations to support this consumerism ideology and to my mind a certain fascists tendency growing among even the young adults of many countries today. The specter of this reaches into the global degradation of the environment of the planetary
community, extinction of species, habitats that interact and support life on our beautiful planet.
Against the backdrop of the dramatic historical era and the pandemic , once again the perennial wisdom the of psalmist ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46:11a) reminds monks and indeed all Christians to reconsider devoting themselves to simplicity of life’s purposes and to cherish the
great treasure in one another, as created in the image and likeness of God. To cherish our universal home, which Pope Francis has taught in his famous encyclical Laudato Si. The Camadolese monastic spirituality names this as, ‘privilege of love’. For the monk or nun or oblate of the Camaldolese
spirituality, the privilege of love is the center of Jesus teaching of taking up one’s cross and following Him. Historically this comprises 3 significant expressions in the Camaldolese tradition, hermit solitude lived in community, cenobitic life, or communal life and evangelization of others to live the gospel life of Christ, even if it requires martyrdom. Over the centuries, Camaldolese have produced artists,
created the first musical scale and many musical compositions, scientist in homeopathic remedies, care for the sick and dying, theological writings, leadership in the church, architectural designs and ecological care of the great forests that at one time existed in Italy and elsewhere. This in some form or fashion continues today expressed in hospitality towards world religions, ecumenical efforts with other Christian churches. The ‘medicine of mercy’ which Saint Pope John XXIII counseled is within the region of the heart-spirit of our Camaldolese monastic spirituality. So, I invite you to receive this reflection, if you are searching for way to respond gift of the Holy Spirit to come join us in one
way or another to reply and undertake the self-emptying gospel way and become a healer amidst the spiritual desert of our mutual effort to ‘Be still and know that I am God.’