C.S.P.B. CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI The Cross of Father Saint Benedict PAX Peace C.S.S.M.L. N.D.S.M.D. CRUX SANCTA SIT MIHI LUX NOLI DRACO SIT MIHI DUX May the Holy Cross Be a Light for Me Let Not the Dragon Be My Guide V.R.S.N.S.M.V S.M.Q.L.I.V.B. VADE RETRO SATANA NUNQUAM SUADE MIHI VANA SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS IPSE VENENA BIBAS Go Away, Satan, Never Sway Me with Vanities The Offerings You Pour Are Evil, Drink the Poisons Yourself
The Coat of Arms of the Abbey
ALTHOUGH THE BENEDICTINE MONKS OF PRINCE OF PEACE ABBEY have been in San Diego County since only 1958, they are members of an uninterrupted tradition of more than one thousand four hundred years in the Church-- a tradition of monks who seek God through worship and prayer, work and community life.
Saint Benedict's "Rule for Monks" (written before A.D. 547) is a short book of spiritual teaching and practical regulations governing the lives of monks. In it St. Benedict states concisely that a monk is a man who obeys and serves God and his fellow monks in the context of:
(1) permanence in one community of fellow monks for life ...
(2) under the discipline of a "rule" (a specific code of regulations governing monastic life) ...
(3) and under the leadership of an abbot (the superior of an abbey or monastery).
The three vows that St. Benedict formulated for monks may be said to correspond to the above three points: (1) the vow of stability unites a monk to one community for life; (2) the vow of conversion binds a man to observe the specific disciplines of monastic life (essentially including the obligations of celibacy and of poverty or "community of goods"); (3) the vow of obedience places him under the leadership of both his abbot and his community.
Apart from the hours necessary for sleeping and eating, the "Rule" of St. Benedict divides the daily schedule of monastic life among three activities. These are liturgical worship in common, work and private prayerful spiritual reading.
The daily hours of liturgical service in common are composed of the various Divine Offices throughout the day (i.e., Vigils, Lauds, Sext, Vespers, Compline) and the daily celebration of the Holy Mass.
The several hours of private prayer and reading are devoted especially to Sacred Scripture, but also may include other writings of spiritual, religious and theological importance.
Most Benedictine monasteries take up some sort of work relatively "outside" the immediate orbit of monastic life. These "outside" works often include parish ministry, schools or retreat centers. However, Benedictine life as specifically monastic requires the monks to be responsible for a rather domestic form of living: the monks themselves should do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, grounds keeping and whatever else is necessary to maintain their household and community life.
-- The Daily Schedule at
Prince of Peace Abbey
5:30 A.M. The Community Liturgical Office of Vigils, in church, lasting roughly forty-five minutes. Followed by a silent period of prayer and reading in private until the Office of Lauds.
7:00 A.M. The Community Liturgical Office of Lauds, in church, lasting about a half hour. This is followed by breakfast in silence.
8:00 A.M. The morning work period begins. On Sundays and the most important feastdays, this whole period is used instead for prayerful retreat and reading.
10:30 A.M. On Sundays (but at 11:00 A.M. on weekdays): the Community Celebration of Holy Mass. After Mass: private, silent prayerful thanksgiving until lunch.
Noon. Lunch: on weekdays this is without conversation, but is accompanied by various books read aloud by a lector; on Sundays and solemn feasts, there is conversation during the meal. Lunch is followed immediately by the community liturgical office of Sext.
Afternoon. On Sundays, Wednesdays and some more important feastdays, the afternoons are unstructured free time until Vespers at 5:00 in the evening.
1:00 P.M. On regular weekdays, the afternoon work period begins.
3:45 P.M. On regular weekdays, another period of private prayer and reading begins, lasting until Vespers at 5:00 P.M.
5:00 P.M. The Community Liturgical Office of Vespers, in church, lasting a half hour. This is followed by private prayer or reading in silence until supper.
6:00 P.M. Supper: on weekdays this is without conversation, but is accompanied by various books read aloud by a lector; on Sundays and feastdays, there is conversation during the meal.
The meals in silence (weekdays) usually last a half hour. The meals with conversation (Sundays and feastdays) may last about forty minutes.
Supper is followed by the evening recreation period lasting until Compline at 8:00. Four times a week (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), the whole community spends the first half hour of this recreation period together.
8:00 P.M. The Community Liturgical Office of Compline, in church, lasting about twenty minutes. The "Grand Silence" (complete cessation of all conversation) also begins now, lasting until the following morning's work period begins.
After Compline, the monks retire for the night.
The monks of Prince of Peace Abbey maintain a retreat house for any individual guests or groups who wish to spend a few days of quiet reflection and prayer at the monastery, participating in the monastic liturgical services. The monks of Prince of Peace Abbey have not committed themselves to other apostolates or ministries such as running a school or staffing a parish. Accordingly, their work at Prince of Peace Abbey is free to remain largely "within the orbit" of the monastery's own domestic responsibilities.
Though Prince of Peace Abbey ranks among the more contemplative of the Benedictine monasteries in the United States, the life of its monastic enclosure has an immediate impact on many persons. The daily Mass and liturgical services of worship that the monks celebrate in the monastery church are open to the public. The Sunday Mass at Prince of Peace Abbey always draws a "standing room only" crowd of guests. The monks have a reverent liturgical life, and simply offer participation in this as their most visible contribution and witness to the public.
-- The Formation Period for Monastic
Life at Prince of Peace Abbey
Once a man has been granted entry to the monastery, he undergoes three stages of formation lasting a total of at least four and a half years before receiving the community's permission to make perpetual vows in the monastery. These three stages are the postulancy (or candidacy), the novitiate and the juniorate (temporary vows). During these three stages he is placed under the guidance of a formation director appointed by the abbot.
Once a Benedictine monk professes perpetual vows of stability, conversion and obedience, he becomes a life member of his monastic community, serving God and his monastic brothers under the guidance of the abbot and the "Rule for Monks" written by St. Benedict.
-- Discerning a Vocation among Us
and Applying to Enter
We prefer applicants to be at least 20 years old and no older than 45 years. We expect them to believe and live the teaching and traditions of Catholic faith. Whether adult converts or lifelong Catholics, they should have been active in parish life (i.e., at least weekly attendance at Mass) for two years or more before considering the possibility of a monastic vocation.
We receive new candidates into the monastery in August. However, before entering, candidates must be in contact with our monastery and our vocation director for at least a year. During that year we interview them and provide direction.
Once a man receives permission to apply for admission to our monastery, the formation director and the abbot also interview him. As part of our practical discernment of vocations, we also require a complete medical examination, blood tests, a physician's medical report, a professional psychological evaluation and letters of recommendation from parish priests.
If he truly seeks God, a monk looks in THREE directions, and receives support from them.
1— The monk has a relationship with his COMMUNITY OF FELLOW MONKS in the monastery as individuals and as a community.
However, the community is not an absolute, but is relative to and receives moderation from the abbot, from the “Rule” (St. Benedict’s book of teachings and regulations), and from the individual monk. St. Benedict encourages openness to the reality that God can send guidance to the community by revealing it to even the youngest monk.
If the community were to become an absolute, the possible results could be anarchical, antinomian, and whimsical (“politically correct”). St. Benedict has set up some democratic processes in the monastery, but without making democracy the pattern for the monastery.
The monastic community also mediates the Church, the Body of Christ, to the monk. The broader local Church itself prevents the monastic community from becoming an absolute. St. Benedict even assigns to the neighboring laity, clergy, and religious the moral obligation of intervening against a monastic community that has collectively decided on a path of vice.
2— The monk has a relationship with the ABBOT of the monastery.
However, the abbot is not an absolute— whether a tyrant or a benevolent absolute monarch.
The abbot receives moderation by obeying the Rule and by listening to counsel from his community and individual monks.
Nonetheless, the abbot “holds the place of Christ,” in the teaching of St. Benedict, and mediates the headship of Christ to the monk and the community.
3— The monk has a relationship to the RULE (St. Benedict’s book of monastery regulations and spiritual teaching).
However, the Rule is not an absolute (as in legalism, fundamentalism, “sola-Scripturism,” Phariseeism).
The “Rule” of St. Benedict does not define every single aspect of the monastery’s culture, but leaves some discernments to the abbot and the community.
The Rule is a mediation of the Ten Commandments (of the Father), the Gospel of Christ the Son, the inspired (by the Spirit) Word of God, and the teaching of the apostolic Church.
Benedictine monastic life draws the monk away from making himself into an autonomous absolute; it intentionally “relativizes” him by putting him into “relationship-mediated” relationship with God. Men come into being from and in relationship: they come into being from the relationship between father and mother, and in relationship to father and mother; men come into being from God the Creator, and in relationship to the Creator. However, a man does not exist merely as a subordinate of parents and the Creator; he also exists as a collaborator of God, as an equal of other men, and as a potential parent (“procreator”). While a monk’s calling to celibate chastity for the sake of God’s kingdom does not include marriage and the begetting of children, St. Benedict refers to the monastery as God’s household, where all are sons in the family of God.
All relationships in the monastery— and in the entire Church— are called to be intentionally dependent on and ordered towards the persons of the Trinity who are in relationship, in communio, with each other.