16-28 April, 2018 - Br. Matthias returns from regional Junior Conference
Junior monks and nuns visit Atlanta's cathedral. Br. Matthias is second from the left. Click to enlarge. The interior of the church at Holy Spirit Monastery can be seen in the photo below.
Br. Matthias returned from the regional Junior Conference on April 28. A blend of classroom instruction and more casual activities, the annual two-week event is part of the formation program for all U.S. monks and nuns of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance.
Each year, a different community of the Order hosts the conference, allowing participants to experience the Trappist life as lived in other houses. The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Ga. – a daughterhouse of Gethsemani – hosted the 2018 conference.
This year’s courses focused on incarnational theology. In addition to the classes, a key benefit of the conference is for participants to get to know other monks and nuns of the region. The group even made a few field trips, including visits to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park and to Atlanta’s Cathedral of Christ the King. They also spent time visiting with Missionaries of Charity, members of the order founded by St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
The term “junior” applies to monks and nuns who are in simple vows. After completing the postulancy and two-year novitiate, members of the Order take vows of commitment to monastic life for three years or three periods of one year.
Juniors are entrusted with greater responsibilities and become more deeply integrated within community life while still continuing their studies. It is the last stage before profession of lifelong solemn vows.
Br. Matthias gave a summary of his experiences to the community during the April 29 weekly Chapter Meeting. The monks were pleased to hear what he saw and learned, but even more pleased to have him back at the abbey.