Monks & Ministries

the vows

they fallow 3 simple vows
  1. Vow of poverty. This meant he had to give up all his worldly goods.

  2. Vow of chastity. This meant he had to stay single.

  3. Vow of obedience. This meant he had to promise to obey the church and the rules of the monastery

Child Monks?

In the Middle Ages, some parents would dedicate their children to a life of service and prayer as a monk. The child, called an oblate, would then be raised in a monastic community gaining education and performing religious duties such as daily prayers.

The Benedictine Order

Medieval European monasteries were typically based on the rules set forth by St. Benedict in the 6th century. Monks entering the Benedictine Order would take three sacred vows including the vow of chastity, the vow of poverty and the vow of obedience.

Jobs at the Monastery

here are the roles in the church.

  • Abbot - The Abbot was the head of the monastery or abbey.
  • Prior - The monk that was second in charge. Sort of the deputy to the abbot.
  • Lector - The monk in charge of reading the lessons in church.
  • Cantor - Leader of the monk's choir.
  • Sacrist - The monk in charge of the books.

center of operation

Each monastery had a center open area called a cloister.

how they got there goal

In the late Middle Ages (the 1200s), Aristotle excited a lot of thought in the monks and scholars of the universities. These neo-Aristotelians were called schoolmen, or scholastics. By studying Aristotle and his Arab and Jewish commentators, they learned to think more logically, but their goals were still essentialy theological.

The Daily Life of Medieval Monks

The daily life of Medieval monks was dedicated to worship, reading, and manual labor. In addition to their attendance at church, the monks spent several hours in reading from the Bible, private prayer, and meditation. During the day the Medieval monks worked hard in the Monastery and on its lands. The life of medieval monks were filled with the following work and chores:
  • Washing and cooking for the monastery
  • Raising the necessary supplies of vegetables and grain
  • Reaping, Sowing, Ploughing, Binding and Thatching, Haymaking and Threshing
  • Producing wine, ale and honey
  • Providing medical care for the community
  • Providing education for boys and novices
  • Copying the manuscripts of classical authors
  • Providing hospitality for pilgrims

the differences between other religious leaders

Monks must be distinguished from the clergy. Priests, pastors, and rabbis are full-time professionals who are trained to work in society. They have what is called a religious vocation. But the direction their work takes is quite different from the highly individualized style of life undertaken by monks.

Types of Monasticism

The two basic kinds of monasticism are eremitic (a hermit life-style) and cenobitic (a communal life-style). Both types have variations, and they are found in most major religions.

A life of isolation

Monk literaly means someone who lives alone. They sought out a life completely seperate from human society in order to dedicate themselves to god.

Monks Pilgrimages

Pilgrimages were a very important part of life in the Middle Ages. Many people went on journeys to holy places like Canterbury Cathedral in England. Sometimes they had to travel for many months and they often slept in monasteries , where they were safe. They told each other stories on their long trip.


there were also nuns in the church at this time. nuns provided for the less-fortunate members of the community. Most nuns had a far more active life than the monks. Nuns prayed, but they also spent time spinning, weaving, and teaching. They taught needlework and the use of herbs to noblewomen.

nun clothing

Nuns wore a gown, a veil, and a wimple. A wimple was a white cloth that wrapped around the neck and face

Day by day

Monks went to the monastery church eight times a day in a routine of worship that involved singing, chanting, and reciting prayers from the divine offices and from the service for Mass. The first office, "Matins," began at 2 A.M. and the next seven followed at regular intervals, culminating in "Vespers" in the evening and "Compline" before the monks retired at night. Between prayers, the monks read or copied religious texts and music.

begging monks?

Friars were monks who went from place to place begging for food and shelter. This was supposed to show that the vow of poverty was important to the church.