Hello again,

My beloved Rievaulx

My beloved Rievaulx

I told you I am a Cistercian Monk living in Rievaulx in Yorkshire. We are sometimes called White Monks because of our white habit. I wear a black Scapular over my habit to keep it clean. The monks in your Cathedral Monastery in Rochester are Benedictine and wear black habits.

We all follow the Rule of St Benedict. He wrote it for his monks on Monte Casino in Italy, around the year 534. The Benedictines spend much of their day praying but Father Benedict wants us to work hard, too, so we interpret the Rule differently. I understand that monks today still follow the same Rule.

All the monks sleep together in a big room called a dormitory. I  understand that monks now have their own room called a Cell.

Monks in the dormitory

Monks in the dormitory

Our day is long. We get up at 3.15 and go to Chapel for the first service of the day at 3:30. Fortunately we have a stair which leads from our dormitory straight into the church.

I have put a little table for you to see our day.

3.15 am            Rise

3.30 am           Vigils

                           Private prayer, meditation or study.

5.00am             Breakfast.

6.30 am            Lauds & Concelebrated Mass

8.50am              Terce

                            Work or study.

12.15 pm           Sext

12.30 pm          Dinner

2.20 pm            None

                           Work or Study

5.30 pm            Vespers

6.00 pm            Supper

7.30 pm            Compline

                            Bed

I can tell you by 7: 30 I am really ready for bed!

Between Compline and Breakfast none of us speak because this is ‘The Great Silence’.

The bell is going for Chapel so I must go.

I will write again soon

Every Blessing

Abbot Aelred.