The Daughters of Jesus from the Ivory Coast help some young people “discover” a monastery of contemplatives.
Since many years now some young folks of Brobo get together twice a month for a reflexion, a sharing on their Christian life and their future accompanied by Srs. Blandine and Madeleine. Their group is called J.C.R. (Young Christians in Research). For a long time limited to 8 young boys the group suddenly increased this year, following World Day for Vocations. That day we had organized a sharing after mass to which some 75 young men and women took part. Today May 8, 2016, 21 of them – 14 boys and 7 girls from all grades of Secondary School – left with us for the Benedictine Monastery of Ste Marie of Bouaké. The aim is to discover this specific vocation of Catholic Christians: contemplative life.
We are wondering what a day here looks like….
Brother Herman welcomes us and leads us immediately to a room prepared for us. He introduces himself and helps us discover the Benedictine vocation and more specifically daily life in a monastery: seven calls to community prayer, a time of personal meditation and one of Lectio Divina. When not at prayer the monks work; some are well-paid activities since Saint Benedict, their founder, says “the monk must earn his living”. Brother Herman often refers to Saint Benedict but also to the Gospel. His reflections give rise to many questions from his audience.
10 o’clock: It’s time for mass and mass is very important for a monk! Of course it’s an everyday event! Moreover, today is Sunday. They are not alone. Many Christians from the surrounding area are present!
Then, we meet again with Brother Herman who makes himself available for a very interesting dialogue. Here are some very relevant questions:
- What is your charism?
- Life in a monastery seems very monotonous and tiring: How do you keep on going?
- What are the stages in becoming a monk?
- Tell us about St. Benedict.
- What is chastity?
- What is Lectio divina ?
- Are you happy here?… »
At 12:15 we join in Noonday prayer with the monks. We then share our picnic brought out straight from the bag.
At 1:30 we go along with Brother to discover the various buildings…. We come upon the big henhouse that shelters some15000 chickens. And it’s precisely Brother Herman who is in charge for the time being.
Sitting in a circle on the benches…..the dialogue continues:
- Who works with you at the henhouse?
- Do you pay your workers?
- Are you able to sell the eggs ?
- Do you get a salary? How do you spend it??
At 3 o’clock we join the brothers for the midafternoon prayer before leaving.
Everyone has spent a very happy day. We thank Brother Herman very sincerely for his availability. These young people would like to visit the neighboring monastery of the Benedictines next year.
Sisters Blandine and Madeleine, d.j.