Cistercian Monks of Tarrawarra
The Cistercian monks of Tarrawarra arrived at their beautiful location in Victoria’s Yarra Valley in 1954. They brought with them an ancient tradition of monastic living based on the 6th Century Rule of Saint Benedict. The name “Cistercian” derives from the ancient abbey of Cîteaux or Cisteaux in France where, in 1098, a stricter and more contemplative observance was initiated.
|Br Samuel is one of two deacons ordained by Bishop Les Tomlinson in the Abbey church, 14 May 2011. Photo: Min Jung Kong.|
The life of a modern Cistercian monk revolves around the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours. Seven times daily the monks assemble in the Abbey church to sing the divine office and to open their hearts to God’s word. Community prayer is supplemented by long periods of sacred reading and personal prayer and by the quiet and recollected atmosphere of the monastery.
To support themselves the community operates a business which provides eucharistic breads to parishes and communities throughout Australia. The monks run a 400-hectare beef farm. The monastery also maintains a small guest house.
At the heart of every monastic vocation is the desire to seek God in the context of a disciplined life. The contemplative life is a long-term project which requires a generous heart and a balanced and sociable personality.
The role of the monk in the Church is, as Deacon Joseph Chua says, “to give witness in a concrete and radical way to humanity’s deepest aspiration for ultimate meaning.”
Abbot David Tomlins sums up Cistercian life thus: “It is a lifelong schooling in God’s amazing love through listening to God’s word in community and personal prayer in company with the brothers and guests. I also hear the challenge to share that love through deep respect, patience, forgiveness and self-forgetfulness. The monk is a work in progress.”
Vocation Director: Fr Michael Casey OCSO
Tarrawarra Abbey, Yarra Glen, Victoria, 3775