Weggemeinschaft St. Benedikt

The ”Weggemeinschaft St. Benedikt“ is an open Christian community. People of different origin seeking God in connection with Zisterzienserkloster Langwaden. Since 2002 the community developed. Monthly day retreats and one weekend retreat a year give us the opportunity to get to know the Cistercian spirituality and to let it bear fruit in our everyday life. The aim of each meeting is to be on our way with Christ, praying, learning more about our faith and trying to become familiar with the Rule of St. Benedict and Cistercian roots. Celebrating the Eucharist marks the centre of each meeting. Meditation and compline of the community in the parish every Monday evening (everybody invited).

The membership is open, there is no promise.

The community is supported by monks of the Zisterzienserkloster Langwaden, as well as by several external priests.

Mentors: Gabriele Franziska Heitfeld-Panther (Oblate) and Fr. Heribert Weinbrenner (Oblate)
Monastic liaison: Fr. Bruno Robeck OCist, Prior

Lay Cistercian Community of Our Lady Undoer of Knots

The Lay Cistercian Community of Our Lady Undoer of Knots – Orlando started on Oct 9, 2016. The group meets every 2nd Sunday of the month. The day starts at 7:30 am with Holy Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Queen of the Universe. With the advice of our Monastic Liaison Rev. Bro. Cassian Russell, we spend 30 min of Adoration at the Shrine chapel, followed by gathering at a members’ home. We do the Liturgy of the Hours, we have a book for our teachings (Cistercian related), Lectio Divina, study on psalms and the Rule of St Benedict. At our gathering time, we come together to share our experiences, to re-charge our batteries, to re-establish focus, to reconnect as a community. We encourage each other to find ways to live everyday of our lives in response to the Gospel and remind each other to find time to simply be present to His Presence and to pray for each other’s needs throughout the week.

Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of South Florida

Our community was formed in 1998 in South Florida and became officially associated with the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in 2002. We strive to live with the Rule of Saint Benedict as our guide. Accordingly, we practice the Liturgy of the Hours, lectio divina, and observe periods of silence and contemplation during the course of the day. We simplify our lives as we commit to living the Cistercian charism in the world, preferring nothing to Christ.

Lay Contemplative Associates

The Lay Contemplative Associates (LCA) are a group of 23 Christian (not exclusively Catholic) lay individuals spread across the US from coast to coast who attempt to follow the Rule of St. Benedict as interpreted by the Cistercian (Trappist) charism. We try to accomplish this by going about our lives in a spirit of silent recollection and monastic simplicity and prayer. Our practices include daily recitation of Morning and Evening Prayer from the Divine Office, time spent in meditation/contemplation, lectio divina, and scripture reading. In addition, we are required to complete at least 2 reflection papers per year based upon personal spiritual reading. We also write an annual Review of Life in which we try to dwell upon our lives as LCAs. Many of us also recite the Rosary daily and attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as frequently as possible, daily if it is available. Insofar as possible, we maintain individual spiritual directors

Since we are not a geographically based community, we try to foster community identity through semi-annual retreats ( April/September ) which have been at the Abbey of the Genesee (our birthplace) in western New York during which we also address administrative issues, share, renew friendships and admit new members at an annual profession ceremony. We are now in provisional affiliation with the Our Lady off the Holy Spirit since we need to now find a new home. For the present, each of us renews our Act of Commitment annually. During the year, we communicate regularly on line via a Yahoo group using it as a base for readings, reflections and prayer as well as personal and LCA issues. We also stay in touch by means of regular monthly mailers containing homilies written by the monks, principally Fr. Francis Steger, OCSO, a newsletter published quarterly, personal letters and telephone calls. We are presently reading and reflecting on New Seeds of Contemplation in common on our egroup.

Formerly know as the Genesee Lay Contemplative Associates (GLCA), the LCA was formed in 1997 as an adjunct to the Genesee Lay Contemplatives (GLC), a face-to-face group affiliated with the Abbey. After the formation of the latter in 1992, there was perceived to be a need for a wider ranging, less territorially bound contemplative association to accommodate many individuals who were associated with the Abbey of the Genesee and desired to live a life in conformity with this charism but, due to distance and other considerations, were unable to attend gatherings on a regular monthly basis. Out of this demand, the GLCA was born as a derivative of the GLC with several of its original formation officers-Vocation Director, Novice Master- being members of the GLC and some administrative positions falling to Associates. In the Fall of 1998, the group received monastic approval from the monks and Abbot John Eudes Bambuger with Fr. Francis Steger, OCSO designated as moderator with the title of Superior. Under Father’s guidance, the GLCA flourished reaching a high of approximately 60 members by 1999 at which time a moratorium on accepting new members was implemented in order to allow assimilation and consolidation. At the Fall of 2000 retreat, the GLCA revised its administrative structure to include geographic Regional Directors as well as appointing directors for novices and postulants and establishing a communications committee out of which grew the first edition of the newsletter “Come and See” and the creation of the on line Internet community mentioned earlier.

Throughout the period 1998-2001 the GLCA created and revised the GLCA Way of Life, a document outlining the organizational structure, officers, its relationship with the Abbey of the Genesee and spiritual practices. The final revision of the Way of Life was completed in the Fall-Winter, 2000-01 and published in the Spring edition of “Come and See.” (See encl.)

During the middle years 2001-2004, the group flourished under Fr. Francis’ guidance developing its own identity independently and separate from the GLC. Mailers containing homilies and community information were posted regularly. On line communications also proceeded at a reasonable pace and, while some members withdrew, others replaced them.

In the Spring-Summer-Fall, 2004, as Father Francis approached retirement age and began to experience health problems, it became more and more obvious that some of the administrative functions of Superior had to be assumed by members. It also was becoming clear that the Abbey was not going to be capable of providing GLCA with a successor to Father due to advancing monastic age and a shortage of monks. Consequently, in April 2005, GLCA convened its first April retreat-conference to address the issue of transition from a monastic based to an independent lay contemplative community. Given its long history with the Abbey and its Cistercian identity, the nature of the group, itself (non-face-to-face), the need to re-develop a corporate structure, this was no simple task.

The weekend of April 29-May 1 marked a watershed in the history of the GLCA-LCA. A group of about 20 members convened to hear Abbot John Denberger inform those present that the Abbey of the Genesee was no longer able to maintain the GLCA as one of its ministries. Consequently, we could no longer use the terms Genesee, Trappist or Cistercian in our names or our literature since these were proprietary. Abbot John was supportive encouraging us to use the Abbey facilities but without its name. He simply did not have the manpower to continue monastic oversight.

During that same weekend, the GLCA also retained the services of Milton Lopes, PhD and a member of the Lay Contemplatives of Holy Spirit Abbey, Conyers, GA to guide us in planning and implementing a direction for the future. Out of this weekend conference grew a new resolve to establish a reformed organization with a new Way of Life and a new name: Lay Contemplative Associates.

Over the course of the Spring-early Summer, Deacon Richard Shewman composed the new LCA Way of Life with much input from individual members. It was presented for ratification and approved at the September, 2005 retreat. On Saturday, September 17, twelve members made their Acts of Commitment to the newly approved Lay Contemplative Associate Way of Life and in September, 2006, the LCA replaced its Interim Council with its first elected officers. Since that time the LCA has been in the process of developing its own unique identity within the Cistercian framework revising its initial formation program and revising some practices with much prayer for guidance from the Holy Spirit and continued teachings from Fr. Francis and the other monks at our retreats. We met at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit abbey for our April 2008 retreat to discern affiliation with them due to our strong desire to remain under the arm of Mother Church and the Cistercian Order.

Lay Cistercians of Holy Spirit Monastery

The Lay-Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit was formally founded in 1987 by its 5 original members; we now comprise a community of about 45. The monks of Holy Spirit Abbey voted, in 2002, to formally associate themselves with us. As perpetual novices of the Holy Spirit, we try to live lives oriented to the Cistercian charism.

Lay Cistercians of Holy Cross Abbey

On Trinity Sunday, June 11, 2006, the conventual chapter of the monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Cross voted formally to recognize the Lay Cistercians of Holy Cross Abbey. Seven Lay Cistercians made the following promise on the Memorial of Blessed Guerric and Vigil of Saint Bernard, August 19, 2006:

I, N., promise my stability, fidelity to the Lay Cistercian way of life, and obedience according to my state in life, under the Rule of Saint Benedict, Abbot, and in accordance with the Constitutions and Statutes of the Lay Cistercians of Holy Cross Abbey. I do this before God and all his saints, in this Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Cross of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, constructed in honor of the Blessed and ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and in the presence of Dom Robert Barnes., abbot of this monastery, N., Dean of the Lay Cistercians of Holy Cross Abbey, and all the brethren. 

Additionally, we have four novices and one postulant in our four year formation process. Our observership opens once a year in September with persons drawn from the waiting list. Our group is small, rather like an extended family, which reflects the size of our monastery.

Lay Cistercians of Gethsemani Abbey

Founded in 1989 Lay Cistercians of Gethsemani Abbey (LCG) is a community of ordinary Christian women and men who are called to contemplative living and prayer according to the Cistercian tradition. LCG members are committed to integrating Cistercian spiritual values and practices in their lives as lay persons. While respecting the integrity of the Cistercian monastic tradition, LCG members seek to enrich their spiritual lives as ordinary Christians by adopting spiritual practices of that tradition that are compatible with a lay lifestyle.

The founding members of the community developed a LCG Plan of Life that serves the community as a rule or guide for living a lay form of Cistercian life. In November 2011 the LCG Advisory Council revised a formation guide for LCG members that made formation more in line with the Lay Cistercian Identity Statement drafted and approved at the 2008 Huerta Encounter.

There are local LCG communities in Kentucky, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indiana, Chicago, Midland, Michigan, Cleveland, Memphis, Nashville, Caritas, and Spiritus. In March 2012 the Lay Cistercians of Gethsemani were recognized by the Abbey of Gethsemani.

Fr. Tansi Lay Cistercians

The Fr. Tansi Lay Cistercians originated from the “Fr. Tansi Solidarity Prayer Movement” which began in 1984 at Holy Trinity Cathedral Parish, Onitsha, Nigeria, with spiritual attachment to Our Lady of Angels Cistercian Monastery, Nsugbe, Nigeria. The group prays for the canonization of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi O.C.S.O., a pioneer of the Cistercian Order in Nigeria and strives to follow his footsteps.

On 30th March, 1995, as God would have it, the coordinator of Fr. Tansi Solidarity Prayer Movement in company of two members met the Abbot General, Dom Bernardo Olivera, O.C.S.O. at Our Lady of Angels Monastery, Nsugbe and made a passionate appeal to him to accept the Fr., Tansi Solidarity Prayer Movement members as Lay Cistercians. He replied that the Holy Spirit will direct through the intercession of Fr. Cyprian Tansi (now Blessed). In July of the same year, he generously directed the Fr. Tansi Solidarity Prayer Movement to go, for formation, at Our Lady of Mount Calvary Monastery Awhum. On the feast of our founding fathers, SS. Robert, Alberic, and Stephen, 26th January 1997, out of this Fr. Tansi Solidarity Prayer Movement, came the first group of eleven lay people (five women and six men) who made vows as “Fr. Tansi Lay Contemplatives.” at Our Lady of Mount Calvary Monastery, Awhum. To God be the glory. He answered our prayer through the intercession of Blessed Cyprian Tansi, O.C.S.O.

In 1999, the coordinator spoke to the Cistercian General Chapter at Lourdes, about the great vitality of this Cistercian group. Presently, the Fr. Tansi Lay Cistercians are 29 in number. Thanks to our Father Abbot general Dom Bernardo Olivera, and the prior and the monks of Awhum Monastery for their support and formation programme for the group.

There are four categories of membership beginning from Postulant, Novice, First Professed and final Professed members. An intending member is known as aspirant. After admission, the person becomes a member as a Postulant which lasts for one year. Then the person becomes a Novice which last for two years within which the person is given formation lectures/training as a Lay Cistercian. At the end of this Novitiate, the person makes his/her first Profession of private vows for one year which are renewed every year for six years. After six years, he/she then makes the Final Profession.

As a Novice, the member is bound to say the three major Divine offices of Lauds, Vespers and Compline everyday.

There is a three-day retreat at our monastery every four months. We call it Triduum. It is compulsory for every member to attend. Currently, we have fifteen final professed members, ten simple/first professed members, two Novices, two postulants and the rest are Aspirants. We are really very serious and considers it as God’s call to be a Lay Cistercian.

We have embarked on a Retreat house project that shall accommodate about 42 guests. Currently it remains furnishing of the rooms. The Monastry spent millions of naira while helping us to get to this level. We need financial assistance of fellow Lay Cistercians both individualy or collectively. Our estimate is $45,000.00. To help us kindly reach our Monastic Advisor, the Prior of our Monasterly Very Rev. Fr. Bertrand M.C. Okoh at awhumonks@yahoo.com.