Visitor's Questions

An encounter with the age-old hidden life of monks and nuns can awaken a variety of responses in those formed by contemporary American culture. Cistercian monks and nuns recognize this and are happy to answer questions put to us by visitors to our monasteries. We welcome any questions you might have and our responses are offered as an expression of monastic hospitality. Please use the form at the bottom of this page to submit your questions.

"I have heard that Trappist monks/nuns may never leave the monastery grounds (except for things like doctor's appointments). Does this mean that monks/nuns may never visit their family?

"I have heard that Trappist monks/nuns may never leave the monastery grounds (except for things like doctor's appointments). Does this mean that monks/nuns may never visit their family? What if someone joins the monastery and a family member becomes infirm as they grow older, can that monk not help or visit them? Do monk's and their families find this separation hard? I know of a Benedictine monastery and they allow 2 weeks a year for monks to visit family. What is the Trappist rational for such a strict break from familial ties? Thank you."

Why do Trappists exist, and what would motivate someone to become one?

"A person told me that Trappists don't do pastoral work like parish priests — they don't teach or work with the poor — they seem to be shut up in monasteries and just pray. Therefore, this person was asking me what is the use of Trappists in the church? Would it not be better if they worked in hospitals or parishes and the like, since there is a shortage of priests. Why do Trappists exist, and what would motivate someone to become one? Please, can you help me answer these questions?"

Is there ever a day that you just kind of take a day off and just stay in your room and sleep and read?

"Hello! I have always been very interested in the monastic life...you all amaze me! I am not a potential candidate as I have been married for 24 years and am not Catholic at this time. I read a lot about the cloistered life, but I wonder a few things. Is there ever a day that you just kind of take a day off and just stay in your room and sleep and read? I know its a silly question, and I feel you all do very important work...but are there days like that? I also wonder about your story...what was your path like that has led you to this destination? Was there a defining moment?

How do you manifest your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary? Do you include the rosary in the communal prayers?

Trappists (and all other monastic orders who are guided by the Rule of St. Benedict) pray the Liturgy of the Hours, which is more biblical than devotional. If so, how do you manifest your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary? Do you include the rosary in the communal prayers?

Can a Trappist monk or nun wear their rosary or a cross/crucifix if they choose to do so?

I have seen members of other orders wear their rosary or a cross/crucifix. Can a Trappist monk or nun wear their rosary or a cross/crucifix if they choose to do so?

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