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Happy Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

During these days of Christmas, many of the families of the monks have been visiting the Abbey and staying in our guesthouses.

Do the monks get to visit their families often?

Friends and family members are welcome to visit at almost any time during the year, but the monks themselves have a limited amount of days when they are permitted to take time for vacation.  When one first enters the community as a “novice,” he does not have any days of vacation until he professes simple vows.  While a monk is in simple vows (a.k.a. “junior monk”), he has one week of vacation for the year to spend with his family.  In addition, he has one week of vacation that is spent with the other junior monks, usually referred to as, “juniorate vacation.”  When a monk professes final vows, he has two weeks of vacation that can be used in no more than two segments throughout the year.

My parents have really enjoyed visiting the Abbey, getting to see me, join the monks for prayer, and visit with some of the other members of the community that they have come to know over the years.  My Dad and Mom, younger brother, sister-in-law, and 2 year old nephew are visiting for the weekend.  Here are a couple of pictures after Holy Family Mass.  Yes, monks and priests, long before they enter a monastery, are born into families!