After a period of probation lasting almost six years, a Benedictine nun binds herself to God and the community with three vows. With the vow of stability ("stabilitas") we commit ourselves to remain in the once chosen place and to root our life totally in God. We do not strive to change our environment nor [...]mehr»
We, the nuns of the Abbey of St Hildegard, like all Benedictines, live by a rule, which is over 1400 years old, and goes back to St Benedict. This rule is the expression of a long monastic tradition, but also one of a very personal spiritual experience. Shaped by the love of God and a profound humanity, by a joyful paschal faith and a matter-of-fact knowledge of man, the rule is still valid today in its essential message.
Monastic, that is contemplative, secluded life, is the attempt to live in God's presence, every day anew. That is why such a life is formed by the praise of God and by prayer. It is about bringing each day before God and sanctifying it. Seeking God therefore is the beginning and the centre of monastic life. Whoever enters a Benedictine religious house is searching for a clear answer to God's call. In the true sense of the word, he is "called". In this way, he promises to lead a life following the Gospel, making God the centre of his being, looking for him in every person and every event, and all of that within the community of such persons who have chosen the same path.
Benedictine life is essentially about life in a community. The monastic community sees itself as an image and a part of the church. In a community, whose life is focused on God, each member finds motivation and assistance. The community supports and helps members to come through even painful experiences on their way to God. An important help on one's way to God is silence, which alone enables true listening. The enclosure of a monastic house seeks to protect this space for recollection. In silence, in being still and inwardly listening, one moves ever closer to God, to oneself and to one's fellow man. This solitude before God must be endured. Only the one who has mastered such endurance with himself and before God is able to contribute to the building up of a community.
The office of leading a Benedictine community of nuns lies in the hands of an abbess. She is elected by the community and confirmed in her office by the blessing of the church. The abbess's most important task is not the organization of the convent's external and internal interests, but the strengthening of faith and love in the community. The abbess is the guarantor of unity in the diversity of the community. Her service lies in the readiness for dialogue with all the nuns. With all important questions and decisions she calls together the whole community for counsel.