Benedictine life

Search for god

Since about 740 the Rule of St. Bene­dict the guide­line that reg­u­lates and deter­mines the life of the monks in Wel­tenburg. Their ori­gins lie in the 6th cen­tu­ry. Despite its age of almost 1500 years, its essen­tial state­ments are still valid and up-to-date today. This rule is the result of a long monas­tic tra­di­tion, but also of a very per­son­al spir­i­tu­al expe­ri­ence. The author draws on the monas­tic sources of both the west and the east and thus cre­ates a sum­ma­ry, a sort of com­pendi­um of monas­tic life, which became the most impor­tant monas­tic rule in the west­ern church in the Mid­dle Ages.

St. Bene­dict men­tions as the main cri­te­ri­on for the admis­sion of a new­com­er to the monastery: “One care­ful­ly observes whether one is real­ly seek­ing God” (RB 58). “Seek­ing God” is the mean­ing and goal of life as a monk in gen­er­al. God is the focus. Every­thing is geared towards him. From this ori­en­ta­tion alone, a monastery and its way of life are under­stand­able and comprehensible.

life in community

The monk does not set out on the path of search­ing for God alone, but is called by God into a com­mu­ni­ty of broth­ers in which God’s redeem­ing love can become vis­i­ble and effec­tive. Bene­dic­tine life is essen­tial­ly com­mu­ni­ty life. The monk com­mits him­self to a spe­cif­ic com­mu­ni­ty liv­ing in a spe­cif­ic place for life. From this derives the sta­bil­i­tas loci (per­ma­nence in place), which is con­sid­ered a typ­i­cal fea­ture of the Bene­dictines. The auton­o­my and inde­pen­dence of the respec­tive monastery also fol­lows from this per­ma­nent loca­tion. It has to keep itself alive both per­son­al­ly and economically.

The office of gov­ern­ing a Bene­dic­tine com­mu­ni­ty is in the hands of the abbot. He is elect­ed by the monas­tic com­mu­ni­ty for an indef­i­nite peri­od. He has the task of lead­ing those entrust­ed to him to per­ceive Christ, the Lord, in their midst, to rec­og­nize and to ful­fill his will. “Faith sees in the abbot the vic­ar of Christ in the monastery” (RB 2).

The daily life

In addi­tion to the most impor­tant cri­te­ri­on for the authen­tic­i­ty of a monas­tic life voca­tion, the search for God, St. Bene­dict named “zeal for wor­ship” as anoth­er char­ac­ter­is­tic. There­fore, the solemn choral prayer and the cel­e­bra­tion of the litur­gy are at the cen­ter of monas­tic life. Since accord­ing to the instruc­tion of St. Bene­dict noth­ing should be pre­ferred to the ser­vice, the whole dai­ly rou­tine is based on the prayer times. They give him a fixed rhythm. In addi­tion, per­son­al prayer such as lec­tio div­ina (Bible read­ing), med­i­ta­tion and con­tem­pla­tion must have their place in the monk’s dai­ly routine.

daily routine

Wake up
Vig­il and Lauds, fol­lowed by per­son­al reflection
Eucharist, fol­lowed by breakfast
work­ing hours
mid­day shore
Hav­ing lunch
work­ing hours
Spir­i­tu­al Read­ing — Lec­tio divina
Din­ner, recre­ation together
Silent Ado­ra­tion and Rosary
night rest

working area

A Bene­dic­tine monastery is a prayer com­mu­ni­ty and at the same time

a work­ing com­mu­ni­ty. The Bene­dictines were not found­ed for a spe­cif­ic pur­pose or activ­i­ty. The Rule of Bene­dict basi­cal­ly says about work: “Only then are they real monks when they live by the work of their hands” (RB 48). The fields of activ­i­ty and work arise from the needs of the com­mu­ni­ty, name­ly to secure their liveli­hood, as well as from the require­ments that the envi­ron­ment brings to the monastery.


Source: experience.bavaria – Peter von Felbert

St. Bene­dict applies hos­pi­tal­i­ty to his monks in a spe­cial way. “Christ is wor­shiped in the guests, who is real­ly received in them” (RB 53). The St. Georg guest house serves this pur­pose. It offers accom­mo­da­tion for approx. 100 peo­ple in sin­gle and dou­ble rooms, which are mod­ern­ly equipped with a show­er and toi­let. Appro­pri­ate con­fer­ence rooms are also avail­able. The guest house is involved with a series of sem­i­nars in the field of Catholic adult edu­ca­tion. In addi­tion, retreats and days of reflec­tion are offered. In addi­tion, Haus St. Georg is open to guest cours­es and con­fer­ences by mak­ing the facil­i­ties avail­able to asso­ci­a­tions, groups, clubs, etc. with their own pro­grams. The abbey guest house also wel­comes indi­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies or small groups look­ing for a place of qui­et, reflec­tion and reli­gious deepening.

Bene­dic­tine hos­pi­tal­i­ty in a broad­er sense also applies to the many thou­sands of vis­i­tors who come to Wel­tenburg every year because of its scenic loca­tion and its famous monastery church. It is a pas­toral task to con­vey the mes­sage of the Chris­t­ian faith in the church tours through archi­tec­ture and art.

The monastery brew­ery and the monastery tav­ern take care of the phys­i­cal well-being of the tourists. The brew­ery is leased. It has exist­ed since 1050 and is con­sid­ered the old­est monastery brew­ery in the world. In the monastery shop, vis­i­tors will find a wide range of books, reli­gious art and trav­el souvenirs.

A large amount of work also requires the care and man­age­ment of the large house. In this the monks are sup­port­ed by sec­u­lar employ­ees. A large farm, Buchof, 2 km from the monastery, was always con­nect­ed to the monastery. He now spe­cial­izes in farm­ing and fat­ten­ing pigs.