Elders of the Benedictines:
A Portrait and Interview Project

Father Berthold Ricker, O.S.B., b. 1907

Father Berthold Ricker, O.S.B.Father Berthold is a member of the Benedictine community at Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Q: How does the Benedictine tradition serve as foundation for the way you live your physical life?

A: It's family life. The Benedictine Rule is humanizing. The Benedictine life is a very human life. There is a strictness but with moderation. You have the vow of poverty--you don't own things. You have the vow of chastity--you don't marry. You have the vow of obedience--you obey the abbot at the monastery and bishop if you are working in a parish. The Rule is very practical. It says that if you are working in the kitchen you should have enough help. It says that your clothes and shoes should fit you. It says you should get enough to eat. It says many things to lead you to a life of physical moderation.The rank in the monastery is according to the date you entered the monastery, not age, education, ordination, or any other factor. You don't fight for position. You have your place. It creates good order. This order is enhanced by our autonomy as a monastery. We are not told what to do by some regional, national, or international authority. Our abbot is the authority as he is guided by the community. If you read the Rule of Benedict, which was written in the sixth century, you have to marvel at the psychological astuteness of the document

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© 2003 by The American Benedictine Academy / www.osb.org/aba/