The Rule of Saint Benedict forms the basis for organising life in the monastery, but the Place where the monastery lies is also significant. The location of each monastery is carefully chosen as a place that will complement and enhance Cistercian ideals. The landscape surrounding each monastery therefore inspires the forms of work in each community. Physical work is an important part of Cistercian life. St Benedict said “they are they truly monks when they live by the labour of their own hands” (RB 48).
Farming is the most significant enterprise, and a constant presence in the daily working life. It has been an integral part of life at Mount Saint Joseph throughout the years. The extensive estate where the monastery stands provides the perfect basis for the dairy farm. The rich land of the area is a suitable environment for breeding and rearing cattle. But above all else, the good natural landscape remains the resource that has enabled the farm to prosper and flourish over all the years. Hence the monks remain true to their ideals of managing the natural resources with which they are blessed.
Woods & Orchards
Much of the natural life predates the arrival of the monks, and the sheer size of many trees shows the long and rich history attached to these wonderful grounds.
There are 200 acres of woodland and 4 acres of orchard and gardens in the grounds of Mount Saint Joseph. This extensive natural resource requires great care and consideration to maintain and nourish. A wide variety of trees and plants exist on this old estate.
The monastery shop is based in the main guesthouse. Visitors can buy a wide range of items. Books and cds produced by the monks of Mount Saint Joseph Abbey are available from the shop, likewise religious items from around the world. Some items are now available on our online store
Overall, the various areas of work combine to create diversity in the working life of the monks at Mount Saint Joseph. Most areas of work surround the monastery buildings at the centre of the grounds, thus ensuring working life is close to home for the community.