“There are clearly four kinds of monastics. First there are the cenobites, that is to say, those who belong to a monastery, where they serve under a rule and a prioress” (Rule of St. Benedict 1:1).
We are cenobites who live in community under the Rule of St. Benedict and a prioress. Living in community is an important and essential part of being a monastic. Community brings together a variety of personalities who are all seeking God together. We rely on each other in life’s challenges and rejoice with each other in life’s joys. “This, then, is the good zeal which members must foster with fervent love: ‘They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10),’ supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience to one another” (RB 72:3-6). Our seeking God together in community bonds us in love which reverences the unique gifts of each individual, but also places a responsibility on each one to be available for the community.
Along with seeking God together, we commit to share common meals, living spaces, and household chores. St. Benedict also teaches a balance of work and prayer. Our daily work in punctuated with our daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours. We move between community and solitude as we move between work and prayer. But ultimately, as monastics, we are called and desire to be in community.