Monasteries of the Heart

Profile: Padre Bob, leader of Cistercian Monastery of the Heart

1. What would you say was the key reason that led you to offer an online monastery?
A key reason that leads me to offer an online monastery experience is my belief that people have a genuine hunger for intense spirituality that they cannot find in traditional, individual, church practices and expressions.

2. What has been the biggest surprise in the experience for you?
What has been the biggest surprise in the experience for me is the intensity and deep level of yearning and searching in those who have responded--truly a movement of the Holy Spirit!

3. How far-flung is your monastery geographically?
In our monastery we are truly universal and ecumenical! We have members from all over the English-speaking world: Ireland, Scotland, Canada, India, and Australia. Plus, we have members from three-quarters of the United States. Several of our members are ordained clergy (male & female) of their particular faith expression.

4. What would you say is the biggest gift of an online monastery?
One of the biggest gifts of an online monastery is that it brings together those searching, and sometimes feeling alone in the search, realizing that there are brothers and sisters in the search!

5. What is the biggest challenge?
One of the biggest challenges of an online monastery is to keep the conversation going! We have a tendency to emphasize the hermit-like conditions of our spiritual search and pass up the spiritual succor we can get from being a community of seekers.

6. What would you say is unique about your monastery?
What is unique about our monastery is that we place special emphasis on Cistercian spirituality. We place emphasis on the simplicity of following and adapting The Rule of St. Benedict.

7. What would you suggest that others reflect on as they consider leading an online monastery?
To others considering leading an online monastery I would urge them to realize that, like the Rule of St. Benedict, we must be open to all the variations of response. Each person who comes to an online monastery has a unique, and beautiful, story to share. Through that uniqueness we all learn to grow spiritually.

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