Cistercian life at Nový Dvůr
Schedule of a monastic day
The Rule and the Cistercian tradition have succeeded in making a subtile mix of community life and of independance, of work and of prayer, of poverty without indigence, of silence, of space and austere solitude for going to God, in a fraternal atmosphere.
With a few variations according to the season, the monks get up at 3:00 a.m.
At 3:15, the night office, or Matins. It lasts about an hour, followed by half hour of prayer in silence.
From 5:00 to 6:15, reading (or lectio divina), or also for some...rest!
At 6:15, every other day, lecture in the chapter room where the Father Abbot commentates the Rule of Saint Benedict, applying it to the current needs and situations.
At 6:30, the service of Lauds – which is the prayer of the start of the day – and Mass.
From 8:00 to 9:00, a time of prayer or reading; some brothers begin already their work.
At 9:00, the service of the middle of the morning, called Terce, then for all, priests and non-priests alike, work.
At 12:00, service of the middle of the day, called Sext; then lunch followed by a time of rest, prayer or reading.
At 2:00 p.m., service of the beginning of the afternoon, or None.
At 2:15, manual work.
At 5:30, service of Vespers followed by a time of prayer in community and then dinner.
Around 7:10 p.m., the community reunites less formally than for the morning chapter for a spiritual reading listened to together: the “Reading of Compline;” or, if not this, then the peeling of vegetables: the “Portion;” or else a singing class.
At 7:30, the service of the beginning of the night or “Compline,” ended by the solemn chant of the Salve Regina, the “sublime antiphony,” as it was called in the Middle Ages, hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary that the monks of Cîteaux sing every evening since the twelfth century:
We salute you, Queen,
Mother of mercy,
Our life, our sweetness, our hope.
Exiled children of Eve, we shout to you,
To you we sigh,
Crying and moaning in this valley of tears.
Oh, you, our advocate,
Turn to us your look of mercy
And, after this exile, show us Jesus,
The blessed fruit of your womb.
Oh, tender Virgin Mary.
Around 8:00 p.m., after the Father Abbot has blessed each monk, it’s the Great Silence of the night and bedtime.