Two New Affiliates Knock on the Door

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Two New Affiliates Knock on the Door

“…knock and the door will be opened to you.”   (Mt 7:7)

Two women who have taken seriously Christ’s promise of granting what they ask and finding what they seek have also literally followed His advice about knocking on the door of the Monastery -which did open to them on Saturday, July 23.  Elizabeth Farias of Early, Iowa, and Paule Barbeau of Surfside, South Carolina, participated in the Rite of Affiliation, the first step required of women who are discerning their call to enter St. Scholastica Monastery. 

Affiliates Paule Barbeau and Elizabeth Farias
The Benedictine tradition of knocking on the monastery door is carried on by Paule Barbeau (left) and Elizabeth Farias.
Following the advice of St. Benedict who advises that entrance into the Community should not be too easily granted, the candidate is kept knocking at the door several times before it is opened by the Prioress who then questions the intent of the seeker in the presence of the gathered Community.  (In St. Benedict’s time, the seeker might be left knocking for several weeks in order to test the person’s resolve.)  Having stated her intention to continue discerning her call to monastic life in this Community, the Affiliate candidate is then reminded of the purpose of monastic life, is welcomed to follow her call by experiencing life in the Community for a time, is entrusted to the care of the Affiliate director, and is led in procession by the Prioress and Community to Midday Prayer. The Affiliate will continue to live her life away from the Community but keep in close touch with the Monastery through her director and by making periodic visits to the Monastery as often as possible, depending upon  circumstances.  As she comes to know the Community better – and vice versa – both continue to discern whether God is truly calling her to the monastic way of life in this Benedictine community.  Normally, the Affiliate stage is from six month to two years, after which the candidate may choose to request entrance as a Postulant or choose to withdraw from the program.Welcome, Elizabeth and Paule!  We thank God for guiding you here.

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“Listen carefully, my child, to your master's precepts, and incline the ear of your heart. Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father's advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.”
–St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict