Benedictine monks
regle de saint benoitThe monk's day is split in 3 main activities
They listen to God who addresses men in his living Word and respond to Him in the intimate dialogue of prayer ; They cultivate the land through work that honours all the dimensions of human life. Read more...

devenir moine benedictinThe Abbot in the heart of the community
The brothers who have made solemn profession vote to place one from among themselves at the head of the community. The abbot must watch over everything that happens in the monastery. Read more...

quotidien d'un moine benedictinGregorian chant
Gregorian chant provides the privileged musical expression of the Catholic Church of Latin rite. It was composed between the 8th and 10th centuries. It appears to be the mature expression of several centuries of Latin liturgical singing in Western Europe. Read more...







A monk's daily routine

« For then are they truly monastics when they live by the labour of their hands,
as did our Fathers and the Apostles.»
Rule de Saint Benedict, chapter 48.

The monk's day is split in three main activities :

•  They listen to God who addresses men in his living Word and respond to Him in the intimate dialogue of prayer
•  They cultivate the land through work that honours all the dimensions of human life.
•  They praise the Creator of all things for his infinite mercy by coming together regularly in the monastery church to celebrate his Love.


In details ...

5 am - The monk's day starts while it is still dark.
The first prayer service, Vigils, brings the community together in the church for a long office mostly made of psalms and readings from Scripture. It is the monk's duty to rise before sunrise to honour the one true Light : Christ.
The monks then spend a silent hour in personal prayer and spiritual reading. As an old monastic saying has it: « When you read, God speaks to you ; when you pray , you speak to God.»

7.30 am - The service of Lauds is the principal morning office.
The monk praises God with the whole Church for the daily gift of creation. He intercedes for the work of all mankind.
After breakfast and an interval for personal and domestic maintenance, the monks continue to listen to the Word of God in their own rooms. Their lectio divina (reading of the things that speak of God) is nurtured by the Bible, the Fathers of the Church, spiritual authors and theologians, and the lives of the Saints.

10 am - The sung, concelebrated Mass is the high point of the day. It is introduced by the Psalms of Terce and culminates in the Eucharistic sacrifice and communion, offered for the intentions of the Church and the world. After Mass, the monks attend to their different jobs for the service of community.

12.45 am - The office of Sext precedes lunch which is served at 1pm in the refectory.
The monks eat in silence while listening to a reading of cultural or spiritual interest.
The community then goes directly to the church for the office of None which is followed by a daily period of recreation, a time to relax and communicate freely.
The rest of the afternoon is then dedicated to carrying on with work. This is when most of the manual work is done to maintain the grounds, cultivate the land, the garden, the orchards and the woods.

6 pm - At the end of the afternoon, after work, the monks again gather in church for the great evening service : Vespers.
They thank God and ask Him for His forgiveness for the day past.
On Sundays and solemn feasts, when there is no work, Vespers take place at 4.30 pm and is followed by Benediction.

7 pm - Several times a week, the whole community gather in chapter (the community assembly room) to listen to the abbot's spiritual teaching.

8.30 pm - After the evening meal (at 7.30 pm), the monks sing Compline, the last office before the night. It ends with a hymn to the Virgin Mary, after which the Abbot blesses the community with holy water and the Angelus is rung.



"If it can be done, the monastery should be so established that all the necessary things,
such as water, mill, garden and various workshops, may be within the enclosure."
Rule de Saint Benedict, ch. 66.

 


This cards are maded by a monk (brother armel). Available at shop of abbey.

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The abbot in the heart of the community

Dom Piron Abbot of St Anne Abbey.

« Let them love their Abbot with sincere and humble affection »
(Rule of Saint Benedict, ch.72)


The brothers who have made solemn profession vote to place one from among themselves at the head of the community. The abbot must watch over everything that happens in the monastery.

His charge is first of all of a spiritual nature : he must guide each of his brothers and ensure that all follow the monastic way. His example and teaching play a big part in the community's orientation.

The brothers must obey him, in the sense that they refer to him in everything they do. It is up to him to decide in justice and kindness what is good for the community and for each of the brothers.
He is also ultimately responsible for all the activities of the monastery.


In his main mission, the Abbot is assisted by :

-    the council of brothers who take part in the decisions or orientations. The chapter brings together the whole community for the most important questions ; the council is a group of a few monks who help manage the monastery's daily affairs.

-    the elders who assist him in the spiritual guidance of the brothers

-    the brothers to whom he entrusts a certain area of the community's life.



The abbot also presides over the liturgical life of the monastery. He gives the blessings during the main celebrations and he personally celebrates the important moments of the liturgical year as well as the main feasts.

The community of brothers seeks to develop a communion in unity and peace around the abbot. To learn how to love, the brothers start by serving each other and accepting each other in their differences. Their hearts are united by their shared response to the call of Christ.

This is how the community can develop into a family, according to the spirit which is described in the Rule of Saint Benedict, chapter 72 :

    "Let them bear patiently with each other's infirmities, whether of body or of mind. Let them contend with one another in the virtue of obedience. Let no one follow what he thinketh profitable to himself, but rather that which is profitable to another; let them show unto each other all brotherly charity with a chaste love. Let them fear God, love their Abbot with sincere and humble affection, and prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may He bring us to life everlasting."


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Gregorian chant

Gregorian chant provides the privileged musical expression of the Catholic Church of Latin rite.

It was composed between the
8th and 10th centuries.
It appears to be the mature expression of several centuries of Latin liturgical singing in Western Europe.

• Monody : it is a chant in unison with one text and one melody.

• Modality : the melodies are composed in modes (about fifteen). Each mode expresses a particular musical, psychological and spiritual emotion.

• Free rhythm : no fixed beat, but the freedom of the rhythm is linked to the natural development of the verbal and musical discourse.

• A biblical prayer : for the main part, the sung texts come directly from the Bible, particularly from the Psalms.

• A liturgical prayer : each Gregorian piece has a precise place in the cycle of the celebrations of the liturgical year ; it also plays a unique functional role in the sung liturgy.

• A great musical and spiritual asset : the anonymous composers of the Gregorian pieces are renowned as first rate artists and as great contemplatives ; the use of their work is a great initiation to the depths of spiritual life and to the sung prayer of the Church, Christ's mystical Spouse.


The monks of Kergonan sing all their services and Masses in Gregorian chant. Their interpretation is close to that of the Abbey of Solesmes and takes due account of recent developments in musicology.

They have been making regular recordings since the 1960s.



Le Verbe s’est fait chair, Studio SM D3101.
Chœur des moines de l'abbaye Ste-Anne de Kergonan

CDs currently available:
Initiation au chant grégorien, Studio SM D2996
Sainte-Anne, Studio SM D2962
Chant des orgues, chant des moines, avec Jacques Kauffmann, SM D2993.
(2011) 26 titres - Durée : 74'

TO ORDER THIS ALBUM, CLICK HERE.

Discover extracts


 

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