"Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days"

(Psalm 33)

Please click here to view our new film about the monastic vocation at Buckfast Abbey

We use the word 'vocation' to describe a call from God to follow His Son Jesus Christ in the way of life he shows us in the gospels. For some people, this call is to devote their life to serving God in a radical and all-encompassing way as a member of a Religious Order.
The 'call' can come to us in many different ways. Some people just feel it 'in their bones' and then set about looking around to see what kinds of Religious Orders there are.
Some people grow into a feeling that they would like to be part of an Order they have known for years. Some people come across a Religious Order by chance and are surprised - if not shocked - to find that something inside them draws them to find out more. However the idea of a vocation springs up, people are often a bit bewildered about it, a bit unsure of what to do about it, perhaps a bit scared of where this might be leading them. One thing is sure, however; all the people who have become monks here have been through the same uncertainty. So we know how it feels and, if you are considering whether you have a vocation, we offer these few thoughts to help you to discern whether God is calling you to become a monk at Buckfast Abbey.

Finding out about us
This website contains a lot of information about us and what we do; how we pray, what work we do, how we live in community. So have a good look around the site and get to know us. Try to imagine yourself being part of the community and ask yourself what you would like and what you wouldn’t like and whether, on balance, you feel positive.
There are also some books which will help you to understand what the monastic life is about. The most important thing to read is the Rule of St. Benedict. Then there are books like "To Prefer Nothing to Christ" by the English Benedictine Congregation (see https://vimeo.com/153230234 ), "Prayer and Community" by Columba Stewart and "The Benedictines" by Terence Kardong and many others which you can find listed in bibliographies on the internet

Finding out about yourself
Are you the kind of person whom the monastic life will help to follow Christ? Our experience suggests that a man will need the following characteristics for this to be so:
- A desire to seek God; to come closer to Him?
- A wish to spend time at several moments each day praying to God and praising Him for His goodness?
- A person who finds singing to be an aid to prayer?
- Openness to the advice, teaching and example of this group of people in community to help in the search for God?
- The maturity to be open to eventually making a life-long commitment to living the monastic life in this community?
- The ability to accept instruction and cooperate in the life of the community?
- An attraction to living in a community in an atmosphere of mutual service ?
- A person who is comfortable with times of solitude as well as times of community interaction; who is able to spend time each day working, praying or reading alone.

On a practical level, there are some characteristics which anyone who seeks to joins us must consider:
- They must have been a practising Roman Catholic for at least the previous two years ?
- They would need to be someone who has an aptitude for study as they will have to spend some time each day reading and studying?
- They should be in good physical and mental health?
- Those accepted to join us are usually between the ages of twenty-one and fifty years?
- Those who join us free from responsibility for other persons and solvent.

The process
People often ask how someone becomes a monk; what the process is. Having gone through the process of finding out about us and about themselves as outlined above, someone who continues to feel a call to join us would make contact with us. We would discuss their situation and if we feel that they might indeed have a vocation we would invite them to visit us for a week or so, to get to know us better and to follow the routine of the monastery to see if it suited them. If things went well we would probably ask them to visit us again after a few months, once they had had the time to think things through again.
An application to join us would follow and, if the application was accepted, they would join the monastery, becoming a 'postulant' for about six months, living in the novitiate and following the normal monastic routine. If the postulant and the community feel that things are going well, he then begins his year as a novice.
At some point during this time it is normal for a candidate to work with a psychologist to produce their psychological profile as one of the tools which can help in discerning a vocation. At regular stages there is a review by the candidate and the community to discern whether God is truly calling him to join us. Throughout this time the candidate is learning about the monastic life, both by living it and by studying it under the guidance of the Novice Master. There is a discernment by the individual and the community at the end of the noviciate, and if all are agreed, he takes 'temporary' vows for three years. After the novitiate year other theological subjects would be studied.
At the end of the period of temporary vows there is a further discernment by the individual and the community and if both parties think it is right to proceed, the way is open for taking lifetime vows.
So you see that although we expect a person who joins us to be looking for a life-long commitment to God through the life of our community, there are a number of years of discovery, learning about the monastery and its way of life, learning about oneself, trying to discern the will of God, before that decision in favour of complete self-offering is envisaged.



If on balance you feel that you would like to look more deeply into the possibility of joining our community, why not contact us by mail to:
Fr Francis Straw
Buckfast Abbey
TQ11 0EE

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