St. Mary's AI, Glencairn

St. Mary's Abbey, Glencairn, Lismore, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Frequently Asked Questions

Aren't you just opting out of the difficulties of life, running away from the real world and rejecting it? Dissatisfaction with the values and lifestyle of contemporary society may prompt the search which eventually leads someone to a monastery. But this is not a rejection of all that is good in the world, which is created and sustained by God; and in particular it is not a rejection of people. The opening words of Gaudium et Spes apply in particular to monastics: "The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts. ...Christians cherish a deep solidarity with the human race and its history." Paradoxically, it is by going aside, by withdrawing from the hurly-burly of our frantic contemporary culture, that we deepen our awareness of all that is genuinely human and grow in our cherishing of the human race. It is particularly in prayer that this cherishing comes to life and finds expression. As for running away from problems, among the biggest difficulties that anybody has to face are the dark places of the heart: one's own selfishness, immaturity, anger, fear, inability to forgive, sinfulness. And in monastic life, we are forced to face these difficulties head on! The atmosphere of silence, solitude, and reflection provide a climate in which one's own problems quickly surface and must be dealt with. Anybody who comes to a monastery to get away from the difficulties of life quickly discovers that she has run to the wrong place.

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