An important aspect of our Benedictine charism is hospitality to guests. Since the very beginning of monasticism, even with the desert solitaries, showing hospitality to others, even if they were just fellow monks on a journey, was part and parcel of monastic life because our life is patterned on the Gospel. Jesus’ injunction to welcome the stranger (Matthew 25:35) as if it were he himself is the basis for St. Benedict’s teaching that “all guests who present themselves are to be received as Christ” (Rule ch. 53). For this purpose, Benedictine monasteries have always had guesthouses where pilgrims could lodge for the night or those seeking closer contact with God could make a short private retreat.
Our guesthouse, with 18 private rooms, is managed jointly by us and the nuns of St. Scholastica Priory. It is a short distance from the monasteries and the church. Food for informal meals is provided for breakfast and supper. Male guests are welcome to eat lunch with the monks in their refectory, while female guests eat at St. Scholastica Priory. It is not a retreat house, that is, we do not offer guided retreats or ongoing spiritual direction. However, guests may ask to talk to a member of the community or a priest if desiring the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We welcome both men and women, with our guestmaster caring for men and the guestmistress from St. Scholastica Priory caring for women. Guests can enjoy fellowship with each other, but should remember that most retreatants are seeking the opportunity to pray or read in an atmosphere of silence. Therefore, the guesthouse is not the best place for young children and we do not allow pets.
There are various reasons why people come to spend time at the monastery. Many who are burdened with stressful or demanding life circumstances appreciate a place to find peace and quiet on sacred ground where the closeness of God can be experienced. Some enjoy a place where they can recharge their physical as well as their spiritual batteries. Some enjoy our liturgy and the ability to participate in it along with our communities. Or perhaps they just enjoy sitting quietly and listening to the chant, raising their hearts and minds to God in their own way. Some come to discern a vocation or to prepare to embark on one. Some are just curious about monastic life. Whatever the reason, we welcome all who can benefit from the experience. And it enriches our lives to be able to extend hospitality.
St. Benedict maintained that the first thing the monks are to do when receiving guests is lead them to prayer. While we do nothing so formal these days, we certainly hope that guests will join us in the church for the liturgy so that we can praise God together. Since all of our Masses and liturgical hours of prayer are open to the public, guests can decide for themselves how much liturgy to attend, although we ask that they attend at least one liturgical function per day. Books with which one can follow the hours of the Divine Office and the chants of the Mass are available in the vestibule of the church.
We do not require payment from our guests for their stay in the guesthouse, but we gladly accept any offering a guest may wish to make to assist us in the upkeep of the house.
To reserve a room at our guesthouse or for more information, men please email Brother Isidore our guestmaster (or call 978-724-3350), women please email the sisters' guestmistress (or call 978-724-3217).