Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert
The Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Abiquiu, New Mexico, U.S.A., was founded in 1964 by Fr. Aelred Wall, OSB, accompanied by monks of Mount Saviour Monastery in New York state. In 1983 the Monastery of Christ in the Desert was received into the English Province of the Subiaco Congregation as a Conventual Priory, and in 1996, it became an autonomous Abbey. From its beginning, the monastery has followed the Benedictine life according to the Rule of St. Benedict with no external apostolates, but it does maintain a guesthouse for private retreats where men and women can share the Divine Office and Mass in the Abbey Church with the monks. Besides maintaining the guesthouse, the monks engage in crafts and the entire maintenance and operations of the monastery for the community and its overnight guests. A gift shop also provides part of the monastery’s income, which includes an online store with books and quality religious and artistic articles.
Professed Members: About 25
Year Founded: 1964
Diocese: Santa Fe, NM
Worldwide: USA and Mexico
Qualifications: A candidate must be male, single, Roman Catholic, and have received the Sacrament of Confirmation. He must be free from all binding obligations to his family and should not be in debt. In addition to this he should have lived a good, moral, Catholic life for a number of years and, normally, have shown that he is capable of earning his own living. Our life is joyful and rewarding, but it is also demanding, and therefore a candidate needs robust mental and physical health and an ability to live with others in community. Usually he will be between 20 and 35 years of age. He will need the intellectual ability to gain spiritual benefit from two hours of spiritual reading (Lectio Divina) a day and to be able to participate fully in the Mass and Office.
Formation: After the community comes to know a prospective candidate, he can be invited to live with us for a time in the cloister. This stage is referred to as the Observership, and it usually lasts for a month or two depending on each individual. Next comes Postulancy, which is a period of one year. If the Abbot and his Council determine the postulant is ready, the postulant may petition the community for entry to the novitiate. At the end of the one year of novitiate, when the Chapter — that is the monks in solemn vows — approves his petition, he may make Simple Vows for one year. Simple Vows are renewed each year, normally lasting for a period of three years.
Age range/limit: 20-35
Belated vocations? Contact for more information.