Question & Answers
Everything you ever wanted to know about monks but were afraid to ask!
The answers to the questions below reflect the lives of the monks of St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, CA.
What is a monk?
A man who gives his life to seek union with God in a monastic community through work and prayer.
What does a monk do?
We do many things, but our primary work is prayer.
Do monks do other things besides pray?
Yes. Some of us teach, some are in managerial roles, some do manual labor. All we do contributes to the life of the community.
What's the difference between a priest and a brother?
A priest is ordained to celebrate the sacraments; a brother is not, but both are called monks.
Do monks get to visit family and friends?
Yes we do. Family and friends can also visit us at the monastery.
Do monks watch T.V.?
No. We do not have access to television.
What do monks eat?
We eat varieties of beef, poultry, chicken, seafood, pork, vegetables, and fruits.
Do monks take a vow of silence?
We do not take a vow of silence. But we observe silence for twelve hours every day.
What vows do monks profess?
Conversatio morum, (a conversion of life), obedience, and stability.
Why do monks wear religious clothes?
Our religious clothing is called a habit. It is a sign of our profession as a renewal of our baptism.
Can monks get married?
No. This allows us to give our love exclusively to Christ and His Church.
How long does it take to become a monk?
It varies. At least 5 years. For some it can be longer.
What are the stages of becoming a monk?
1st year: observer monk
2nd year: Novice monk
3rd year - 5th year: Simply professed monk
5th year – Solemnly professed monk