What do they do all day? Are they always praying in the church?
Catholic monks lead seemingly mysterious lives that are often entirely cut off from the world. Those who have never met a monk or visited a monastery often wonder what monks do and if they spend all day in the church, constantly praying from morning until evening, and even all night.
While it is true that monks are inspired by St. Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians to “Pray without ceasing,” this does not mean that they are physically in the church all day long. There are many different types of monks in the Catholic Church and throughout the day they could be doing any number of things, such as praying in the church, tilling the garden, or brewing beer.
However, there is a basic schedule that most contemplative monks follow that was established by St. Benedict in the 6th century. It consists of specific times that a monk will pause what he is doing and return to the church to pray. In this way the monk always surrenders his daily work to God, permeating his day with prayer.
Here is a slideshow that goes through a typical schedule in the life of a Catholic monk.
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