Discerning a call to the monastic life is a little different from discerning a call to other forms of religious life. Monks take a vow of stability, which means the monastery you join will be your home for life. Other religious orders move you around every few years. If you want to travel and see the world, a monastery is not the place for you.
The First Step
Each monastery is different, although the discernment process is similar for most. The first step is to stay as a guest. This would usually be for a weekend in the first instance. During the stay you would be in a room in the monastery and join us for the Divine Office, Mass, and meals. You will also have the opportunity to speak to some of us (depending on other commitments that weekend) about the monastic life at Ealing.
If you would like to experience a weekend at Ealing Abbey, complete this form.
If, after the first weekend, you still think you might be called to the monastic life at Ealing, you would stay for further weekends. After two or three weekends you might wish to try staying for a longer period, such as a week. This gives you the opportunity to get a better feel for the rhythm of monastic life. You would also have a greater opportunity to meet the monk. By this point, you would also probably have more questions about monastic life, based on what you noticed during your visits.
Continuing the Journey
The next stage would be a longer stay, usually about a month. During this visit you would start to feel the full monastic routine. A monk’s life is a mixture of prayer and work, so on this visit you would be expected to do some light work in the monastery. The type of work would depend on your own skills and abilities.
By this time, you should have a fairly good feeling for whether you think God is calling to you to the monastic life at Ealing Abbey. Also, the monks will now have got to know you. You could now apply to the abbot to become a monk. If you apply, the abbot will discuss your application with his Abbot’s Council and, if the Council approves your application, it is put to a vote of the whole community. If a simple majority approves the application, you would make arrangements for the first stage of monastic formation. This would involve you moving into the monastery as a postulant.
You would then begin the journey to becoming a monk.