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Our Life – Introduction

Glenstal Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in County Limerick, Ireland. Founded in 1927, it now numbers 50 monks. The Abbey, founded in memory of Blessed Columba Marmion, is dedicated to Saints Joseph and Columba. It belongs to the Congregation of the Annunciation, in the confederation of Benedictine monks. The monastery is directed by an Abbot, who is elected by his brothers for an eight year term.

The monks run a boarding school for boys, a farm and a guest house, and are involved in scholarly and pastoral activities. They assemble in the church five times a day for prayer (the Divine Office and the Mass), in which Gregorian chant plays a significant part.

The Benedictine liturgical style is characterised by beauty and harmony, celebrating God’s presence, while it evokes a response of loving reverence in the monk.

A monk is also a man of Peace. Over the main archway of Glenstal Abbey there is a bronze motto, which consists of one word: ‘PAX’: (PEACE). A monastery is a place where peace reigns, where the monks practise fraternal charity and forebearance towards each other and to all with whom they come into contact. A monastery is a place apart, where all may find peace, quiet, recollection, and ultimately God Himself.

A Benedictine monk leads a life of prayer dedicated to seeking God in everything, under a Rule and an Abbot.  The prayer of the monk is expressed in community by the chanting of the Divine Office.  The monk’s prayer is also expressed silently wherever he may be.

There is a rich variety of monastic work at Glenstal.  Monks of this abbey are engaged in academic, artistic, literary, domestic, administrative and agricultural work.  There is no specific work associated with a monk and the monastic apostolate is primarily one of presence, witness and service.  The Work of God, the Sacred Liturgy, comes before all else in the life of a monk.