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Fidelity to monastic life

From morning alarms to evening texts, life in a city makes constant demands. How can we make our faith part of a daily life that is so busy? 

St. Benedict asked his monks to consecrate their time through the vow of conversatio morum, freeing their daily lives from possessiveness, either in relationships or in property. 

When a Catholic is fully initiated into the Church they receive the power of the Holy Spirit to be transformed into the image of Christ. 

But that power is so often left glimmering in the background, waiting for us to intentionally fan it into flame.  

The Church holds the keys to ancient wisdom and monastic life can give us the tools to burn as brightly as the saints.

Conversatio morum is one of the three vows made by Benedictine monks. It is a Latin expression, which means something like fidelity to monastic life


By this vow, monks promise to observe monastic tradition in seeking God. 

This includes a commitment to celibacy, individual poverty and communal simplicity of life. The vow expresses our hope that we will be transformed into the image of Christ.

After four years or so as a novice and junior, the monk makes his solemn profession and commits himself to God, singing three times before the altar the verse in Latin.

The verse translates as, “Uphold me, Lord, according to your word, and do not disappoint me in my hope”. 

These words are sung again for him by his brothers, during his burial. 

The monastic life begins and ends with trust in God.


λ Father Chad Boulton is a Benedictine of the Ampleforth Abbey and the spiritual director of Ampleforth Centre for Theology and Spirituality Hong Kong: or