Work in the Benedictine Life
St. Anselm’s monks undertake a variety of work. The major common work – and it is work – is the opus Dei or liturgy of the hours together with the daily Eucharist. Unless they are infirm, monks take their turn to serve and read in the refectory at the main meal of the day.
Teaching and administration in the Abbey School are the professional work which engages the greatest number of monks. Some higher academic teaching is also undertaken in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in the nearby Catholic University of America. Other monks are involved in gardening and forestry, in building maintenance, tailoring, bread and candle making, in music and icon painting.
Monastic work also includes hospitality, retreat giving and spiritual direction for guests and visitors and some pastoral work outside the monastery. One member of the community directs a local chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society. Another is vice-director of the Lonergan Institute. This latter is a “school of philosophical and theological inquiry and discovery; its mission, to cultivate Catholic Theology and culture as they stem from the work of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, further developed by Bernard Lonergan SJ.”