The Constitution and the Statutes

of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation

Established by the General Chapter


Section II: Norms for the Individual Monasteries

D. Of Novitiate and Profession, and of the Juniors
3. Of the Effects and Consequences of the Vows


C39 1) The vow of stability and the vow of fidelity to the monastic way of life (conversatio morum) are related to one another and to the vow of obedience.

2) By the vow of stability a monk promises persevering fidelity to the community of the autonomous house of his profession, with its abbots under whom he will live, faithful the rest of his days to the monastic way of life in that particular community.

3) By the vow of fidelity to the monastic way of life (conversatio morum) a monk promises fidelity to the whole complex of cenobitic monastic asceticism, which includes the sharing of goods, consecrated celibacy, common prayer, lectio divina, silence, and a moderate degree of solitude.

C40 A cenobitic monk, with the consent of his abbot and of the bishop of the diocese in which he wishes to live, may become a hermit for a time to be determined by his abbot. The hermit remains under obedience to his abbot.

C41 1) For a serious reason a monk may transfer his stability from one monastery of the Benedictine Confederation to another. It is required and is sufficient to have the consent of the abbots of both monasteries and the consent of the chapter of the receiving monastery. A probation period of one year is required, and the consent of the abbot and chapter of the receiving monastery is required at least at the end of the year. A new profession is not required (CIC 684.3).

2) For a serious reason a member of another religious institute in perpetual vows may transfer to a monastery of our Congregation. This is granted by the supreme moderator of that institute with the consent of his council and by the abbot president of this Congregation with the consent of the abbot of the receiving monastery and his council and of the chapter of the receiving monastery. After completing a probationary period of three years, the transferring religious may be admitted to solemn profession as a monk of the receiving monastery. Consent of the chapter of the receiving monastery is again necessary at least at the end of the probationary period (CIC 684.1-2).

3) Any further regulations for these types of transfer are to be determined in the Customary for each autonomous monastery.

C42 A monk may ask to transfer for a time to another monastery of the Congregation when, in his prudent judgment, this might be to his spiritual or moral or psychological advantage or might contribute to the good of the respective communities.


C43 By the vow of obedience a monk subordinates his own will to the authority of his abbot, to the service of his community, and to the service of the entire Church. Monks are bound to obey the Supreme Pontiff as their highest superior, by reason also of their vow of obedience (see CIC 590.2).


C44 By his monastic profession a monk embraces consecrated celibate chastity for the sake of the kingdom of God (see CIC 599). Like all perpetually professed religious in the Church, a solemnly professed monk invalidly attempts marriage (CIC 1088).


C45 1) By temporary profession a monk surrenders his right to administer his goods (that is to say, here and elsewhere in the proper law of the Swiss-American Congregation: all of his wealth and property, personal and real), or to use revenues coming to him in any way, without the permission of his competent superiors, as shall be determined by the proper law of the autonomous house. The temporarily professed monk nevertheless retains the right of ownership of his goods actually possessed and of those which accrue to him during the time of his temporary profession.

2) By solemn profession, an act including the assumption of all the canonical effects of a perpetual vow of poverty, which is in the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation a solemn vow of poverty, a monk commits himself to total community of goods with the other brethren of his monastery, as that is regulated by the universal law of the Church, by the proper law of this Congregation, and by the proper law of each autonomous house of the Congregation. Consequently:

a) Since, in accordance with the monastic nature of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation, a monk fully incorporated into his community by solemn profession must abandon all possessions of his own, he must, before his solemn profession, make a full and complete renunciation of his goods actually held or yet to accrue to him in the future. This renunciation is to take effect from the day of his solemn profession, and it should be made in a form which, if possible, is also valid in civil law (CIC 668.4).

b) A monk, thus renouncing fully all of his goods, present and future, by the act of his solemn profession, which includes the canonical effects of a solemn vow of poverty, loses the capacity of acquiring and possessing. As a consequence thereof, any act of personal and private disposition of goods, or use of goods or of the revenue therefrom, which he makes after his solemn profession is invalid.

c) Anything which accrues to a monk, by inheritance or gift or as revenue or in any way whatsoever, after his act of renunciation effective from the day of his solemn profession, belongs to the monastery of his profession and must be turned over to the monastery (CIC 668.5). He remains empowered to perform any and all acts which, by civil law, are necessary in order for him to receive as a private person goods conveyed to him by inheritance or gift or revenue or in any other way, but the goods thus conveyed to him and received by him as a private person in civil law then become the property of his monastery. If, by reason of civil law, the title to certain sources of money (for example: Social Security, insurance payments, trust funds, royalties) cannot be relinquished by the individual monk, the income from these sources must be turned over by him to the community.

C46 1) A novice, before his first profession, must cede to whomever he wishes the administration of his goods, making disposition for their use and for the revenue coming from any of them.

2) Sometime before his solemn profession, a monk must draw up, in form valid in civil law, a last will and testament which is to be valid from the day of his solemn profession. In this last will and testament he shall designate as his beneficiary the monastery of his stability, since the purpose of a will valid after his solemn profession is that of safeguarding in civil law his total community of goods with the other monks of that monastery.

3) If a professed monk has reason to change any provision he has already made for the administration or management of his temporal goods, or to place any act whatsoever in matters of temporal goods, he must first have the permission of his own abbot, according to the customs and proper law of his monastery (CIC 668.1,2).

S44 Communities and individual monks shall exercise a responsible stewardship in their use of material things. The judgment of the individual monk in these matters is subject to the abbot's approval. The detailed discipline for the handling of money, gifts, clothing, and furnishings shall be determined by the local Customary.

S45 1) A monk assigned to the pastoral ministry is to follow the diocesan regulations in the management of property and funds.

2) A monk living outside his monastery must give to his abbot an accurate account of his personal income and what he has done with it, and of his personal expenditures.

S46 If a monk is transferred for a time to another monastery, donations, legacies, benefits, royalties, and other goods coming to him in ways not dependent on his work in the monastery in which he is temporarily resident accrue to the monastery in which he has capitular rights, unless the will of a donor or testator is to be interpreted otherwise from the circumstances. The disposition of income from his work done while he is in the other monastery shall be determined by agreement between the abbots of that house and of the house of his profession, according to the circumstances.



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Rev. 08 Apr 2009 |