"ora et labora."the motto of the order of the benedictines is well known. "pray and work."but does that also apply during the vacation season?? the fact is: even monks sometimes have time off. "but we don’t take a vacation from being monks," stresses father maximilian grund of munsterschwarzach abbey.
In the monastery in the district of kitzingen, each monk with perpetual profession has 21 vacation days per year at his disposal, according to a press release from the abbey. But there is no wrangling over vacation planning, as is common in companies, among the 80 monks. On major holidays such as christmas and easter, "in principle, no vacation is taken anyway," says leipold. Nor between new year’s eve and Epiphany, when the convent days take place, when all the monks come together and discuss a particular topic.
Abbey fire department must also be ready for action during the vacations
"you always clear absences with those who represent you," explains father maximilian. The cantors had to coordinate their work with one another. Or those responsible for the abbey fire department. Because the monastery’s daily routine has to continue as normal even during the vacation period.
How a monk spends his vacation, he can decide for himself, says munsterschwarzach. The destination is also chosen accordingly: many spend their days off in other monasteries, often with Benedictine brothers, or with their family. As a rule, air travel is not undertaken.
Why the monk’s robe has disadvantages on vacation in Rome
Father maximilian, however, was in rome at the beginning of august with a confrere on the occasion of the pilgrimage of altar boys . So it was natural to spend a few days in the primatial abbey of sant?Anselmo, the "governing abbey" of the Benedictine order, to spend time and see rome. Partly in monk’s robe, partly in civilian clothes. There is no obligation to wear the habit on vacation. And being recognizable as a monk in rome can also have disadvantages, as father maximilian recounts: "in st. peter’s cathedral, you are immediately approached and asked where certain sights are," the 37-year-old says.
But even if vacation days mean "having time off" for monks, personal prayer remains important even during the vacations. No "labora," but still "ora," so to speak. While the monks in munsterschwarzach meet four times a day for prayer, the monk on vacation can arrange his own prayer times and "adapt the amount to his needs," they say.
Working where the bishop is on vacation
Father maximilian then takes time once a day for prayer. But he does not have a fixed time like the daily lauds. "I also like to sleep in on vacation," he laughs. Back at his workplace in munsterschwarzach, father maximilian’s day begins again at 5 a.m. with morning worship. Even if it sounds hard: the Benedictine works where others go on vacation. The new bishop of wurzburg franz jung for example.
Jung had vacation the last two weeks of august and spent the first week of vacation in the abbey. "to quietly rehearse what has been on my mind in the past weeks and months," he says. "after this time of silence and prayer" it went for him to france. "there, the monastic communities of jerusalem invited me to hold the ordination of deacons," he recounts. he then spent a few days in the loire valley, whose monastic landscape he wanted to get to know.
Most of the vacation substitutions came from india
By the way, the priests of the diocese of wurzburg are entitled to 30 days of vacation per year. "they usually take this during the summer vacations, as they have no obligations in religious education during this time," says bishopric spokesman markus hauck. During this time, the clergy are represented by foreign chaplains, among others. This year, the total of 89 vacation representatives came from 17 countries, most of them – 21 – from india.