We may be considered part of the "new monastic" movement, in that our members live in their own homes, often have secular professions, and may be married, partnered or single. Our professed members take the traditional Benedictine vows of Stability, Obedience and Conversion of Manners, interpreted according to our particular state in life.
By the vow of Stability a member commits to stay with our community "through thick and thin". Not to abandon their vocation for some trivial reason or move on to what they may perceive to be a better community. People do make vows and then leave, such is a fact of life in a dispersed order, as much as in a regular residential community, however such decisions must not be taken hastily, because the grass, in fact, is rarely "greener on the other side". St Benedict well understood the human tendency to wander off in search of pastures new when the going gets tough, so the vow of stability serves as an anchor to hold us through those inevitable tough times.
By the vow of Obedience each professed member commits to accept the decisions made by the Abbot and his Council in so far as they do not conflict with his conscience and to look to the Abbot and Priors for spiritual guidance and support. This vow requires first and foremost a constant and unswerving attention to the cultivation of the virtue of humility.
By the vow of "Conversion of Manners" (conversatio morum) the professed monastic promises to endeavour to grow daily in love and wisdom and to allow him or herself to be transfigured into the likeness of Christ, through purity of heart and simplicity of life. Although celibacy is generally considered to be implied as part of the vow of conversatio morum, this does not necessarily need to be the case. In this order we affirm whichever state of life - single, married or partnership - brings out the best in each individual. This is the position on celibacy taken by New Monasticism in general and we find that it has an historical precedent in the ancient Celtic church, as Fr Sean O'Duinn OSB writes of the early Celtic monasticism in Where Three Streams Meet, "While celibacy was the monastic ideal its absence did not prevent someone from attaining learning, piety and esteem within the Celtic monastic system".
Ordinarily the postulancy is three to six months, noviciate of a year and a day followed by profession. Both novices and professed are encouraged to study the Rule of St Benedict and other monastic writings daily, to recite Morning and Evening Prayer (as a minimum) and to spend some time in Eucharistic Adoration/meditation.
The habit of the order is a black tunic with a hooded black scapular for men and a plain black scapular for women to be worn with a white wimple and black veil. A black or white cowl or the white mantle of CSR may be worn by professed members. An all white Benedictine habit may also be worn, particularly during summer months and in hot countries. Oblates (both clerical and lay) may wear a black tunic or cassock and a short black scapular with no hood, if they wish. They support the professed members through prayer and good works and participate in a daily spiritual discipline, in so far as their circumstances in life may allow.
Memorial of the Holy Cross
Ant. Save us O Christ our Saviour by the virtue of the Holy Cross: as Thou savest Peter in the sea; and have mercy upon us.
V. All the world shall worship Thee, and sing of Thee. R. And praise Thy name.
Collect Keep, we beseech Thee, O Lord, in perpetual peace, those whom Thou hast vouchsafed to redeem by the wood of the Holy Cross, O Saviour of the world, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God world without end. Amen.
Rt Revd Dom Alistair Bate OSBA (csr), Abbot Founder
Prayers to St Benedict from the Liturgy
Collect Almighty and everlasting God, whose precepts are the wisdom of a loving Father: Give us grace, following the teaching and example of thy servant Benedict, to walk with loving and willing hearts in the school of the Lord's service; let thine ears be open unto our prayers; and prosper with thy blessing the work of our hands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Let all the holy people of God rejoice in the glory of our holy father, Benedict. Let all monastic men and women sing God's praise, with all the holy ones of heaven.
O holy father Benedict, guide and teacher of the monastic life pray for your sons and daughters and for the whole world.