House of Initia Nova

in the United Kingdom & Ireland

Order of St Benedict

What is God calling you to?

Let it be said that all Christians are called to be heirs of a royal household, ministers and servants to all. All are called to live intentionally our Baptismal Vows. But a few have been called to live a more consecrated life, with extraordinary implications not only for their soul, but the souls of all whom God has envisioned and created. Our prayers may be the catalyst which can change the course of history.

Religious life is unique, with special responsibilities that extend way beyond our imagination and comprehension. Religious life is about entering into a process of transformation; to become more and yet at the same time less to the point that nothing exists but your soul and God.

Note: For those in the UK and Ireland this means meeting with the British and Irish Brethren for an extended period, as if we were at the Motherhouse.


What's old and what is new

When founding these communities I had to ask myself “if Benedict was alive today what modifications would he make to the Rule?” This took serious prayer, for who was I to modify a 1,500 year old Rule. The result of that prayer came to these conclusions: that nothing essential to the Rule should change. The vows are to remain the same. Prayer life was to remain a requirement. Formation must be an ongoing education process, Solemn Vows doesn’t mean that you are fully formed, quite the opposite.

It was important for me that the model of traditional monastic life should and must be retained. There must be a motherhouse, a place to call home and a place where spiritual stability is nurtured. At the same time not to recognize that we are now part of a global community and mobile at that, with the advantages of social media, could it be possible for people to have choices about where they live and who they live with. The answer to this complex question was – we should have choices as long as we do not forget who we are and what we have been called to be.

Hence, people with the consent of the abbot can live their monastic vocation either at the motherhouse or within the context of their local parish. Formation is an ongoing process monitored by Formation Masters/Guides through the use of online training programs.

It is required that everyone come home every six months to a year. A monastic needs to touch base and once again be nurtured by the Sacrament, the Offices, Rites of progression, and one on one communication with his community (see note )

With that said, I need to quote Paul who reminds us that the New Jerusalem which we are now living is not made up of male or female, slave or master, Greek or Gentile, but are to be seen a spiritual beings in the process of returning home to the God who envisioned us.

from An Odyssey to Christ by
Abbot Michael-John Austin OSB