Monks work as well as pray -- thus the Benedictine motto, Ora et Labora (Pray and Work). Being dedicated to prayer and doing your work, and carrying out whatever else that is needed -- this requires balance. Living a balanced life is something Benedictines strive for.
There are many tasks to be done in the monastery. Because St. Procopius Abbey founded and sponsors two schools, Benet Academy and Benedictine University, there is work to be done as teachers, in campus ministry, and in other areas of education. Having monks work in the schools strengthens the Benedictine character of the schools.
There is also work to be done within the monastery building. Monks thus do administrative work, take care of guests, clean, do sacristy work, and so on. Also, some monks are priests, and therefore they help administer the sacraments in local parishes, not to mention in our schools. People have different talents and abilities, and the aim is to use them to advance the work of the monastery and its mission, "that in all things God may be glorified" (Rule of St. Benedict, chap. 57, from 1Pet 4:11).
"When they live by the labor of their hands, as our fathers and the apostles did, then they are really monks" (Rule of St. Benedict, chap. 48).
- 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.
- Bl 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.