Our Community Life
The Abbey of St Felicitas at Muensterschwarzach is one of the largest Benedictine communities in Europe. 160 men live according to the Rule of St Benedict, under an Abbot. It is a vowed life of prayer and work ('ora et labora' is one of the mottos of the Benedictines) which we undertake together, by God's grace, as brothers.
The abbey is situated in an attractive valley in the north of Bavaria near Wuerzburg. About 20 monks live in our monasteries in Damme, Wuerzburg and Schuyler (Nebraska, USA). Over 50 monks live mission stations in Africa and Asia.
A Day in the Life of a Monk
Saint Benedict wrote that a monk should prefer nothing to the work of God - the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours. The monastic day is therefore built around set times of prayer and begins at 4.40 a.m. when the rising bell is sounded and the monks then gather in the Abbey church for the first prayer of the day, Vigils and Lauds (Morning Prayer), at 5.05 a.m. This is followed by a period of quiet prayer before celebrating the Conventual Mass at 6.15 a.m. and then breakfast.
The morning is dedicated to work. Before lunch, there is midday prayer at 12 noon. After lunch, work continues from 1.30 p.m. until 5.00 p.m.. A period of private spiritual reading follows in the early evening before the celebration of Vespers at 6.00 p.m. Supper is at 6.40 p.m, followed by Compline, or Night Prayer, at 7.35 p.m. After Night Prayer the Magnum Silentium, the Great Silence, begins and is observed throughout the monastery until Morning Prayer.