Neo-Monasticism at St. Paul’s Savannah
Since the times of the Desert Fathers, and Mothers, people have sought ways to live the way of the Gospel in community. This practice has remained alive throughout the history of the Anglican tradition, though obviously to a lesser degree than found within Roman Catholicism. In fact the Celtic Church, to a large extent, owed its existence to monastic houses.
In our contemporary world many religious no longer wear their habits when venturing out in society and an unfortunate result of this is that many believe that religious life has all but disappeared when, in fact, quite the opposite is true. Over the last century religious life has been undergoing a time of tremendous change. There are numerous voices from communities across the world who have, following the stirrings of the Holy Spirit, called for the establishment of a “new monasticism”. Included among these voices are figures such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas Merton, and John Michael Talbot. According to Talbot, “The essential characteristic of these new monasteries is the contemplative life for all people from all states of life that overflows into action that changes the world for the better. These communities become workshops of prayer that is tested and tried in some form of community life.” (Talbot, John (2011). The Universal Monk . The Liturgical Press. Kindle Edition.)