St Benedict (c. 480-543) is often called the Founder of Western Christian monasticism because he wrote The Rule of St Benedict, which has been widely adopted by communities for many centuries. It was so widely adopted as a consequence of its balance and sensitive understanding of the stresses that occur in community life. It has also proved adaptable for use by both communities that follow a life of prayer in one place and also by those with more active ministries. The Benedictine spirit is also influential on some new monastic communities.
For all Benedictines, praying the Office, the schedule of prayer times during each day, is foundational for a Christ-centred life. This emphasis on prayer is in balance with the hours of work, whether in ministries in the outside world or whether in activities within the monastic house. The Rule also gives emphasis to each person’s ‘conversion of life’. Humility and obedience mark the Benedictine spirit as exemplified in the Rule. The vows that monastic Benedictines traditionally take therefore are: stability, conversion of life and obedience.
Benedictines can be found today living a variety of forms of Religious life and there are a number of communities among Anglicans. Whilst many may use the initials OSB after their names, the communities are fully independent of one another.
A full list of Benedictine communities worldwide may be found in the Directory section of the website. Use the filter Rule and click on Benedictine to produce the list.
The nuns of the Anglican Benedictine Community at St Mary’s Abbey, West Malling, reflect on their calling and the joys and challenges of their way of life. In this short documentary, directed by Jamie Hughes, the nuns’ voices are complemented by images from the life of the Abbey.