Hospitality is one of the paramount injunctions of Saint Benedict in his rule for monks. He says that visitors are never lacking so he supplies us with a well choreographed ritual for the reception guests. This included a formal welcoming both physically and spiritually and even included washing the guests’ feet because of the distances they had to travel on dusty roads. Of course that was also a sign of humility because Our Lord’s act of washing the feet of the apostles which was usually relegated to servants. Jesus came to serve and not to be served.
Another of St. Benedict’s directives concerning the guests is that they eat with the abbot, which would necessitate a special kitchen and dining room.
This would free the rest of the community to eat in their own dining room and follow the very detailed prescriptions for dining while listening to the required readings.
Beside praying with the guests and briefly reading from Sacred Scripture for their instruction, the guests were to eat with the superior or a deputed brother, which afforded an opportunity to further inform them of the divine law.
For over 50 years we monks have been receiving guests. They range from the causal and curious visitors to those which chose to spend an extended time of prayer on a retreat. Although we no longer wash the feet of guests, we still seek to share our knowledge and experience of the divine, while humbly offering all the other services of hospitality.
The electronic age has greatly amplified, if not changed, the whole concept of hospitality. As we learn the drawbacks and dangers of the digital age we also stand on the threshold of a revolution in sharing and exploring an increasing number of fields on every level of human existence. And because the human person is inextricably bound with the divine, we are constantly being invited into a deeper union with, and a more fruitful service to, our brothers and sisters who seek entrance into their inner monastery.
So, by means of this website, we monks hope to hold a perpetual “open house” where the dust of your journey may be humbly, but thoroughly, removed and where you may be refreshed and fortified on your spiritual adventure.