1 July  through  6 August

This year, the  Annual Summer Experience Program for Christian Laymen aged 21-35 will run from 1 July through 6 August.  The program will coincide with the celebration of the fiftieth year of the founding of Mount Saviour, so we have reasons for a double rejoicing.

The participants live inside the monastery and have places in choir with us.  They have classes in Scripture, Liturgy, Spirituality and Theology in the morning and share in our ordinary work in the afternoons.  We absorb the cost of the Program and the men are expected to stay the full five weeks.

Monastic life began as a lay movement.  It consisted of Christians  simply following the Gospel as a guide in their search for God.  At Mount Saviour, we came to realize that many guests had a strong desire to stay with us for a longer time than the usual week or week-end.  This awareness was further ratified by our ten week programs with students of Notre Dame University.  In 1990, we began the present program intended for laymen who desire to deepen their understanding and experience of the Faith. Seminarians and those wondering about a religious vocation have found it a means of gaining a greater appreciation of the riches of the traditions in the Church.

 St. Benedict describes the monastery as a “School for the Lord’s service.”  It is a place where people both learn to serve the Lord and to serve as the Lord serves.”  Since we are created in the image and after the likeness of God, this makes a lot of sense!  A monastery is not heaven on earth although something of heaven is experienced on earth, namely the love of God for all of us.  Monastic discipline is not meant to be harsh or burdensome, though the certain strictness required at times to eliminate faults and foster love can sometimes seem that way.  The cross our Lord expects us to pick up every day may come in different sizes, but none of them fit very well!

It is a great blessing for us to have Catholic laymen journeying with us, even for so short a time as this five week experience.  Some comments from those who have taken part in the program may give a better feel for the experience than my words.

“The example you have shown me has been a great testament to the love of Christ for all of us and it has and will continue to be a source of encouragement.”

“ The mystery of love, of which your hospitality is one manifestation, is what I will remember most about the program.”

“My overall experience was tremendously positive.  While I didn’t particularly notice at the time, the daily experience of the Word changed my way of thinking and looking at the world over the course of the summer..  I noticed this more in the months after the program – in my decision making and in my prayer life.  I was constantly referring back to the Scriptures, and the passages we both studied  and heard at the Divine Office.  I had always seen Scripture as a resource, but since this summer, I’ve come to see it as nourishment….  In past months, I have been trying to incorporate both prayer and Scripture into my life more and more – and I attribute that to our time together this summer.”

“After almost 5 months, I am finally writing down the feedback about the Summer Program that you asked from us.  Somehow it has taken me all this time to grasp the rich experience and the implications it might have on my life.  Nonetheless, I am sure I will continue to draw valuable teaching out of it….The best feature of the experience?  Unquestionably it was living inside the cloister being fully integrated into the community.  I never expected it…. The richest experiences came out of being part of a community with the monks and the other participants.  While these experiences might seem trivial, I doubt that, without them, I would have been able to take as much advantage as I did of the time devoted to more structured prayer.”

“The whole monastic community – monks, summer brothers, and guests -  showed me how living with a common faith in Jesus Christ helps to develop authentic human beings.  No one embodied cultural stereotypes or tried to be hip or any of that stuff.  It was good to know people who are rooted in Christ’s affirming love.  It helped me to “see” Christ’s abiding presence in and with them.”

To apply to enter the Program this year or to ask for more information:
Fr. Martin Boler osb
Mount Saviour Monastery
231 Monastery Road
Pine City NY 14871-9787
Phone (607) 734 1688

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