Life in the Monastery
Life at Jacob's Falls
Natural rhythms govern our work, as well.
The long days of summer are filled with labor as we provide jam, baked goods, and confections for the many visitors to our area who crowd into our Jampot.
The many good people we see are uplifting, and each day has its special rewards. Many of our customers are touched by the witness of our presence and add their names to our mailing list. Through our newsletter we keep them informed of our activities and share with them some of our thoughts. Thus, the light of this small monastery shines upon many hearts.
Fall brings a slowing down, as visitors depart and traffic on our road dwindles to nothing. We put up the season's harvest, bake fruitcakes in anticipation of the holiday season, and prepare the house--and wood pile!--for the coming of winter.
Winter is our time of solitude. We see few people; our income earning work of production and mail order is less hurried. Snow removal and stove tending dominate the domestic work and keep us close to the realities of life in this place. We have more time for reading and contemplation. We catch up on our correspondence. We spend a greater part of each day in liturgical prayer as we celebrate the solemn seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Lent.
With Easter comes spring house cleaning, the opening of the Jampot for another season, and the readying of our guest cabins for retreatants. Our facilities are meager, but to those who wish a closer look and a deeper sharing in our life, we extend the opportunity to visit us on retreat. Retreatants take their meals with us and participate in our liturgical prayer. They spend the remainder of their time in solitude either in their cabins or in the surrounding countryside.
Constant through the variations of season is the peaceful family atmosphere we seek to maintain in our life. We share in the common work of the house and consult one another on important decisions. We share one another's burdens in a spirit of brotherly love and raise each other up in prayer. We hope the love that is among us will come to be shared by others.
One enters the life of our monastic family by degrees. A man interested in our life comes to us first as an observer. Retreats here of several days to a week provide the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the life, prayer, and work of the monastery.
Suitable applicants may come back for an extended stay as candidates for a month or longer. Residing in the guest house, the candidate lives closely with the community, shares in its work, and participates in its worship. If signs of a vocation are mutually discernable, he may be admitted to the monastery as a postulant, for a year's further discernment.
When his call has been determined with a large degree of certainty, he may begin monastic life by his investiture as a novice. While he is not yet vowed to the life, the time for questioning has passed. He commits himself to pursue the monastic calling with all vigor through the coming three years of his formation. The time having passed in a satisfactory manner, he may bind himself to the monastery for life by means of monastic consecration.
Thus, a man would normally live with us four years before becoming a permanent member of the family. But these various degrees of monastic life have to do only with commitment and responsibility. The benefits of the life are shared equally by all.
We pray the Lord send many men to share the abundant blessings and love of our monastery.