God has given each religious order a way of life, which is exemplified in its founder and specified in its documents and tradition. This way of life is called the religious order's "charism." The ultimate point of a charism is to unite each member of the religious order to Christ, by making him more Christ-like.
What is the charism of the Benedictine order? This is hard to summarize. So much could be said about it, given its over 1500 year old history. But to provide a brief overview, St. Procopius Abbey uses three words -- namely, Prayer, Work, and Stability -- which the following sections discuss.
"Since the ultimate norm of the religious life is the following of Christ set forth in the Gospels, let this be held by all institutes as the highest rule " (Perfectae Caritatis 2.a, from the Second Vatican Council).
- Rule of Saint Benedict (or in Latin); a printed edition is available from Liturgical Press.
- Perfectae Caritatis, Vatican II's decree on the renewal and adaptation of religious life.
- St. John Paul II, Vita Consecrata (The consecrated life).
- Renew and Create, A Statement on Benedictine life within the American-Cassinese congregation of monasteries, June 1969.
- Constitutions and Directory of the American-Cassinese Congregation of Benedictine monasteries.