American-Cassinese Congregation

The Constitutions and the Directory


Part I: Matters Pertaining to the Individual Monasteries

Chapter IV: Fundamental Elements of Monastic Life

Article 4: Community Life

C 76. The monks of the monasteries of the Congregation take to heart the primacy of charity and the communal dimensions of Christ’s saving action. Hence they choose communal life above all other forms of monastic life and recognize in the formation of a Christian community of charity the preferred context for pursuing personal holiness. By mutual service and generous sharing of life the monastic family anticipates the heavenly life and gives hope to a world that is sorely tempted to despair of the possibility of people’s living together in trust and love.

D 76.1. All monks are to share the tasks of community service to the extent of their ability and according to the needs of the community.

D 76.2. The sick and the aged are to be served with the greatest care. For this reason the abbot shall appoint an infirmarian and shall himself visit the sick. It is the abbot’s duty to see that the sick have the opportunity of receiving the Eucharist daily and that, when appropriate, they receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

C 77. The monks of the monasteries of our Congregation normally live the cenobitic life either in the monastery of their profession or, in obedience to the abbot, in a monastery dependent on the monastery of their profession.

D 77. The abbot must consult the council of seniors before sending a monk to a dependent priory.

C 78. Enclosure, which fosters cohesion among the members of the community and helps to provide an environment for prayer and recollection, is a necessary condition of communal monastic life.

D 78. The abbot is to establish the areas in which enclosure is to be observed (CIC 667.1). He may, for a special need or occasion, grant a dispensation from the rules of enclosure.

C 79. To send a monk to serve in any apostolate that is already being exercised in the name of the community and also requires that the monk live apart from the common life of the monastery, the abbot must have the consent of the monk concerned.

C 80. The abbot may permit a monk to live outside the monastery in accordance with the provisions of universal law (CIC 665.1).

D 80.1. Permission to live outside the monastery, unless for reasons of health, studies, or an apostolate exercised in the name of the monastery, may not be granted for longer than one year.

D 80.2. The abbot, with the consent of the council of seniors, and, if the monk is a cleric, with the prior consent of the ordinary of the place where the monk is to reside, may grant a monk permission to live outside the monastery for reasons other than those cited in D 80.1.

D 80.3. In such cases, the following procedure is to be observed:

D 80.3. 1. The monk must request in writing the permission to live outside the monastery, indicating the reason for the request and the length of time for which he is seeking the permission. The length of time must not exceed one year.

D 80.3. 2. The permission is to be given in writing and must include the following (see Appendix 5):

  1. the name of the person for whom it is granted;
  2. at least a summary of the reasons for the permission;
  3. the length of time for which it is granted;
  4. from which obligations, if any, the monk is free during his absence;
  5. whether the monk is permitted to wear the monastic habit and whether he retains active and passive voice in the monastic chapter during the period of absence;
  6. the terms of any financial agreements made between the monk and the abbey and whether the abbey is liable for any debts or actions or omissions or obligations incurred by the monk during his absence;
  7. the provision that if the monk does not return at the end of the period for which the permission is granted he may be subject to dismissal from the monastery.

D 80.3. 3. The abbot and the monk are to sign the written permission, one copy of which is to be kept in the monastery and one by the monk.

C 81. There exists a mutual responsibility to nurture the bonds of fraternal charity between monks living in the monastery and monks living outside the monastery. Each monastery should develop practices that facilitate contact.

C 82. If a monk wishes to embrace the eremitical life, the abbot, after consulting the council of seniors, may permit him to do so, either for a definite or for an indefinite period of time. The hermit monk must submit his rule of life to the abbot for his approval and he remains subject in obedience to the abbot.


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