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The Benedictine Way

The first step in following a 'Benedictine Way' is to concentrate on the first word of the Rule:  listen.  Here our Holy Father Benedict gets our attention and sets the framework for teaching us how to follow Christ in community.  When groups of people interested in how the Rule can support their spiritual life begin to meet, they are encouraged to keep this single word always in their hearts and minds.


 A Benedictine Way group is usually composed of a number of participants who form a Chapter. Groups vary in the number of times they meet each month.  Some meet once a week or every other week and some meet monthly. Living in the Spirit of St. Benedict's Rule the community focuses on prayer, study and the balance of these in everyday life. When gathered together, many Benedictine groups participate in some or all of these activities:  

  • Vespers or Evening Prayer
  • Chapter Meeting
  • Lectio Divina
  • Study of the Rule
  • Community meal
  • Compline or Night Prayer
  • Vespers or Evening Prayer: Traditionally the evening prayer office of the Church,  Evening Prayer in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours centers around the Psalms and includes The Magnificat.
  • Chapter: During the meeting portion of the time together, the group conducts the business of the group.
  • Lectio Divinia: The prayerful, meditative reading of Scripture,  Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of Benedictines. It is often done in private but may be done in small groups. Like the study of the Rule, Lectio Divina is a moment of listening to God through a few words and reflecting on their meaning for everyday life.
  • Study of the Rule: Study of the rule is an important component of the Benedictine Way. Often, the Rule is read while a group is eating together or it may be the focus of a meditation. Members of the group may wish to focus on a different chapter of the Rule for each meeting and reflect on its impact on their lives. A number of commentaries are available for this purpose and they are included in the Benedictine Way bibliography.
  • Compline: The last prayer office of the day, it is said or sung before retiring at night. In this Office we are invited to consider our day-that which we have done well, that which we maybe could have done better-and we ask God's protection through the night.

While the format and size of groups may vary substantially, a Benedictine Way community should seek to be a spiritual haven, a place of hospitality and stability, a place of opportunity for strengthening reflection and meditation in the Benedictine tradition.

Participants in the Benedictine Way may find it useful to become affiliated with a monastery in the Benedictine tradition. There are a number of traditions: Benedictine, Camaldolese, Cistercian, and others. Becoming a Benedictine oblate (or associate) of a monastery gives many the opportunity for a monastic spiritual home and lifetime source of spiritual growth. Soon Friends of St. Benedict will be introducing its new Monastery Affiliate Program to help our members identify and affiliate monasteries near where they live.

Additional links on this topic:

Benedictine Gatherings