Our community

Founded by Saint Wandrille in 649, our abbey has a remarkable spiritual heritage. Indeed, 40 monks from our community are honored as saints and are the object of liturgical worship, which is an immense honor, but also a great demand of sanctity for ourselves.

seeker of God

Having come to the monastery in search of God, the monk commits himself, through his profession, to following the path of Christ more closely, and to live out the demands of the Gospel in all its radicality.

At the monastery, we encounter God first and foremost in prayer, liturgical and personal, in the Abbot, in the brothers; we also encounter Him in our guests, in our work. In this way, our whole life is under God’s gaze, preparing us for life in Heaven.

a radical commitment

The monk commits himself “until death” by 3 vows:
– Stability: fixes the monk forever to his monastery. This fidelity makes him attentive to the depths of things, to the offering of each moment.
– Conversion of life: commits the monk to always strive for the most perfect. It includes the vows of poverty and chastity. By the first, the monk ensures that he has Jesus Christ as his only wealth, and by the second, that he has him as his only love.
– Obedience: by freeing himself from the slavery of his passions and his own will, the monk opens up to fraternal life, acquires humility and enters into the obedience of Christ.

The men God has called to the monastery all come from very different backgrounds, with their own histories and temperaments. And it’s in respecting each other’s differences and originality that true communion can take place.

Living under the authority of a father who takes the place of Christ, the abbot, teaches us the freedom that comes from obedience. The presence of the brothers provides example, support and comfort, enabling us to experience the joy of self-denial every day, in order to follow Christ and honor all mankind. Community life is a school of charity: love of God and love of neighbor.

We are heirs to a tradition that goes back more than a thousand years, and we must pass it on. We are also men of our time, living the ideal of monastic life while making good use of the novelties of our time.

Saint Benedict

Born around 480 in the Nursia region north of Rome, Benedict interrupted his studies to please God alone. He headed south to Subiaco, 70 kilometers from Rome, and began a hermit’s life in an inaccessible cave. A monk supplies him with reading material and food by means of a rope.
Les moines du monastère voisin de Vicovaro lui demandent de devenir leur supérieur. Benedict agreed, and set about reforming the community, which had fallen prey to slackness. But to no avail: his actions disturbed, his demands annoyed, so much so that attempts were made to poison him.
He returned to the cave, but his fame grew. The influx of disciples led him to found twelve monasteries in Subiaco, all living under his direction.
Once again, his actions and virtue put him in danger. A victim of jealousy, he moved south of Rome. In 529, Benedict and a group of monks settled in an ancient fortress, which they transformed into a monastery on Mount Cassin, 529 meters above sea level.
It was for this community that Benedict wrote a Rule around 540. It still governs the lives of thousands of monks today.
It was on this rocky promontory of Mount Cassin that Benedict ended his life in 547. In 703, his relics were transferred to Fleury Abbey in Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire (Loiret). They are still venerated there.

The Rule

The Rule of St. Benedict defines the spiritual and material life of monks and the organization of the monastery, in order to create conditions conducive to a perfect search for God. The rule imposes respect for silence; a lifelong bond between the monk and his monastery; obedience to the abbot elected by the community; humility, poverty and charity.
It organizes in detail the monastic liturgy, which Saint Benedict calls the Opus Dei, the work of God. It is the heart of the monk’s life.
As early as the 6th century, the Rule of Saint Benedict outlined a necessary hierarchy, defining the abbot’s duties and responsibilities: the abbot takes the place of Christ in the monastery. He is the shepherd of the souls entrusted to him, lavishing on them the severity of a master and the tenderness of a father. He chooses a prior to assist him during his abbatiate. Finally, the cellarer is the bursar, the steward, the general administrator, who assists him in all temporal organization.
As part of this organization, St. Benedict provides for a daily gathering of all monks, during which a chapter of the Rule is read, but also during which all material matters relating to the daily life of the monastery are discussed. At Saint-Wandrille, this is the chapter that takes place every day after vespers.
Important decisions, such as the election of the abbot, are voted on by all the monks.

We are about thirty Benedictine brothers, who have come to the monastery to live in praise of God, to thank Him for His work of creation, to thank Him for all the wonders He has done, and also to intercede for the world, to pray for all the intentions of our contemporaries who are often living in difficult situations.
We live our life of prayer, work and fraternal life under the authority of our Abbot: dom Jean-Charles Nault.

a life of prayer

The prayer life of a monastery is expressed above all in common prayer in church.
The Liturgy of the Hours brings the community together at different times of the day: sung prayers (psalms from the Bible, ancient hymns) and readings. This liturgical prayer culminates in the celebration of the Eucharist, the true center of the monastic day.
Liturgical community prayer is followed by personal, spontaneous and free prayer. The monk, alone in his cell, devotes hours to lectio divina (reading the things of God).

a lifetime of work

In addition to the time spent in church, private prayer and reading, the monk devotes a good part of his time to work, whether it be study, specialized work, or simply the services required for community life (kitchen and refectory, housekeeping, infirmary, sacristy, vegetable garden and orchard…).

The monks also work to earn a living, providing for the needs of the community and maintaining the heritage of which they are custodians. The first economic activities at Saint-Wandrille began in 1935.

Today, at Saint-Wandrille, a painting restoration workshop, a store and a brewery help the monastery to support itself.

a fraternal life

Under the guidance of the Abbot, the monastery is a family where “everyone seeks to honor his brothers, choosing their interests rather than his own”. For God makes himself present through our brothers, especially through those who suffer. We want our elderly or sick monks to be able to remain in the community to the end of their lives, and it’s the brothers who take care of them on a daily basis.

Relaxation, recreation and walks are very important moments in our lives. It’s not always easy to live in community, with brothers we haven’t chosen, and whom we’ll have to put up with, or better still, love for the rest of our lives. But above all, it’s an ineffable source of joy and comfort.

a day
at Saint-Wandrille

5 a.m.
6 a.m.
7 a.m.
8 a.m.
9 a.m.
10 a.m.
12 a.m.
1 p.m.
2 p.m.
5 p.m.
7 p.m.
8 p.m.
9 p.m.
5 a.m.: the bell wakes the monks.
5:25 Vigils, the night service consisting of a long psalmody lasting an hour or more
Once this has been completed, the monks have some personal time for Bible reading or private prayer.
7:30 am: Lauds greet the rising sun, and invite all creation to praise God.
After breakfast, most monks have a good hour for spiritual reading or prayer.
9:30 am: The monks gather in the chapter house to sing the office of terce. From here, they proceed in procession, to the chant of the introit, into the abbey church, to celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice, the center and summit of daily prayer for every Christian community.
After mass, it’s time for manual labor, whether it’s the many humble tasks involved in maintaining the vast buildings and the life of a community of some thirty monks, or the various economic activities. It’s also a time of monastic and intellectual formation for young monks. Novices study the Rule of St. Benedict, monastic history and the basics of spiritual life under the guidance of the novice master. Student monks receive an on-site philosophical and theological training that lasts several years.
12:45: Sext service, in the middle of the day
1pm: lunch. Meals are taken in the large refectory, in silence, accompanied by a reading. Guests, “received as Christ”, eat in the refectory with the monks.
Lunch is followed by a community recreation.
At 2:15pm, the monks head for the church for the service of None.
The office of none is followed by manual labor.
5.10pm: the bells ring to signal the end of work and announce the office of vespers, traditionally given a special solemnity, followed by the office of the chapter in the chapter house. The Abbot comments on the chapter of the Rule that has just been read, or talks to the brothers about matters of interest to the community.
The brothers then have a long hour before the evening meal to devote to spiritual reading and study, or to prayer.
7:30 pm: dinner is served in the refectory. On fasting days, it is replaced by a simple collation.
8:20pm: the brothers gather in the chapter house for a short spiritual reading, then head to the church to sing the last office of the day: Compline.
The day thus ends with the solemn singing of an antiphon to the Mother of God, and in the great silence of the night the monks find the rest they need to resume their joyful praise of God the next morning.







St. Benedict, in his Rule, asks us to test those who come forward to commit themselves to the monastic life. He must knock on the door with perseverance, be patient in bearing the rebuffs and difficulties of admission.
Today, when a young man applies to join the community, after several stays at the monastery, he is invited to meet the Father Novice Master. If he sees fit, after a few meetings, the Novice Master will propose that the young man come to the monastery for a training period of about a month. During this period, the young man is received into the novice group, where he will live the monastic life with the brothers.
He then returns home for a period of reflection. This can be a time of life experience: pilgrimage, service to the poor, civic service, humanitarian mission… After this experience, he can write to the Abbot to ask to be admitted.
If the answer is positive, he is welcomed into the monastery as a postulant under the benevolent guidance of the Novice Master. A month after his arrival, the postulant receives the monastic habit during the vesting ceremony. From then on, he is called “brother”. The postulancy lasts at least one year, but no more than two.
Then begins the canonical novitiate. It lasts from 12 to 18 months. The novice continues to study the Rule of St. Benedict and monastic tradition, and deepens his relationship with God.
The novice may then be accepted, by community vote, for simple profession. During this public ceremony, the novice takes monastic vows for a period of 3 years: stability, conversion of morals (notably chastity and poverty), and obedience.

At the end of these three years, the brother may commit himself definitively to monastic life by solemn profession. He may also legitimately leave the monastery, or ask to renew his vows for a further 3 years. Vows may be renewed once more, but after 9 years of simple vows he must make a definitive choice.