Vocations: July 2008 Archives

The witness of a vocation

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Reading this article on vocations made terrific sense and corresponds to what I've been thinking about for some time. It is clear to me now there are some things are necessary for verifying a vocation to a religious community (diocese?) without which it would be difficult for me to see how one can fulfill the destiny God has planned. That is to say, if a vocation candidate does not see in a particular order just what Sister Catherine says below, namely, that there needs to be an evident sense of tangible joy, youthful zeal for the Kingdom of God, a realization that God has a plan, and fearless love then one does not have a vocation to that charism (religious order). Ask the question: What is the long history of faithfulness of this group that I am looking into? Is it faithful to the papal magisterium or not? Let me also say that Sister Catherine is right when she points out that the job of the vocation director is not to make a sales pitch (yuck!!! how repugnant to think that a vocation director is making a pitch to join a community, but it is true) but to expose the vocation seeker to the beauty of serving God and the beauty of that particular charism in the Church. If you are being recruited, run away fast!!!

The Abbey of Saint Mary was founded in Newark, New Jersey in 1857 as a conventual priory; the Holy See raised Saint Mary's to an Abbey in 1884, electing Father James Zilliox as the first abbot. On July 23, 1956, the abbey was transferred to Morristown, New Jersey, in the Diocese of Paterson. The "Saint Mary" in the title of the monastery is to honor the "Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception."


Abbot Giles.jpgToday, the Abbey of 47 monks is led by Abbot Giles P. Hayes, OSB; he's the tenth abbot, elected the monks in solemn vows on March 8, 2006.

Monks do a wide range of things. Their first obligation is the monastic life as it is laid down by the Rule of Saint Benedict, the Constitutions of the American-Cassinese Congregation and the various customs of the house. So, the life is situated around prayer, personal and communal. The personal side of a monk's prayer life is determined individually (hence the use of "personal") and typically includes lectio divina, the rosary, Eucharistic adoration and spiritual reading. While it is not true that all of the monks do all of these pious acts all of the time, many are faithful to many of the practices on a daily basis. Lectio divina is clearly the most important prayer that a monk has to be faithful to or else his monastic life suffers.


Communally, the monks of the abbey gather in the abbey church 4 times a day for the Divine Office and then for the Sacrifice of the Mass. The work of the monk is not the school or any other activity. The work of the monk is the opus Dei, the Office and Mass --the source and summit of one's relationship with God lived out in the Church. The hours are for the better part of the year as a follows (the order changes in the summer and holidays):


Lauds at 6:30 am

Sext at 11:45 am

Vespers and Mass at 5:15 pm

Vigils at 7:15 pm

Compline is prayed in private

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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This page is a archive of entries in the Vocations category from July 2008.

Vocations: August 2008 is the next archive.

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