Br. Bjorn, OES
The process of pursuing monastic vows can be downright overwhelming for some who have never experienced a monastic way of life. This statement is true to all forms of monastic practice, from Eastern to Western and every variance in between.
We recently received a person as a seeker to our community. Their initial contact with us led us to believe that they were interested in pursuing vows with us, and joining in the shared life of our monastic enclosure.
As with all those who wish to test their call to monastic life, we required that this person become active in the church community to which we belong, as well as with our outreach ministries and certain tasks around the monastery grounds.
All seemed to be going well. Everyone was getting along and there seemed to be a healthy connection between all of us. Things changed very rapidly, however, when this person revealed their true intentions toward us, which had nothing to do with a monastic way of life.
The person chose to sever contact with us. While we can understand the reasons for this choice, the intentional misleading and lack of a chance for reconciliation have left a deep wound in the place where this emerging relationship had once been.
Many people come and go where inquiring about or testing a monastic vocation is concerned.
I feel that it is necessary at this moment to reiterate (as stated in many of our formation materials) that just because one's path may lead them in a way that does not involve pursuing vows with us (this goes for any stage of the profession process), that we do not harbor negative feelings or animosity toward those people. On the contrary, it is our hope that those we meet throughout our lives as monastics might join in a lasting friendship with us.
Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.