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Thus they are truly monks, when they live by the work of their own hands.
The monastery is a workshop, monks are the craftsmen. As with craftsmen, work is integrated into the balance of our life, and thus we have neither vacations nor retirement… the level of activity is simply adjusted to the age in life. Tasks are varied: teaching, welcoming guests, upkeep of the house. Our principal source of revenue is making cheese from the milk we get from our own herd. We have recently renovated our cheese factory in order to be in line with changes in standards. In particular, it has been worked out to accommodate the demands of making cheese with our monastic schedule.
As with craftspeople, we want to live by the work of our hands. This demand for results in the same as in any profession: the cheese must be good, the meal must be made ready, the sick must be tended to. Confronted with these imperatives, we also have our share of stress.However, we have some good tools to cope with our stress. Although industrial, our work remains a craft. We produce what we need, while nurturing a taste for careful work: the respect given to the things of God in prayer is also expressed in the attention given to objects that are part of daily life.
He will have the same regard for the goods of the monastery as he has for the sacred utensils of the altar.
Rule of Saint Benedict
And especially mutual help, communion, and humility are the best ways of working efficiently in peace. There is no power position to preserve wherever authority is a service. There is no fault, wherever error is recognized with humility. There is no competition wherever all is held in common: money, but also abilities, good will, and even bouts of tiredness. These tools are our surest investment. Their fruit is first of all spiritual: peace and joy. Sooner or later, there are also material fruits: a healthy economy.
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.t.
Gospel according to Saint Matthew (NRSV)
The priority given to prayer leaves us free in regard to work: seven times a day, work gives way for prayer, for that is our primary work.