Reflections on the Rule of St Benedict: Introduction
(please scroll down for daily reflections)

We wanted the Rule of St Benedict (RB) to pulse through the website as it does through our life, hence the decision that the daily portion of the Rule, read in most Benedictine monasteries and by many individuals, should feature on the Home Page. The version selected is that of Dom Justin McCann of Ampleforth published by the Stanbrook Abbey Press in 1937 and used by kind permission of the Ampleforth Abbey Trust. There are several reasons for this choice: first of all, we feel it still reads as an elegant translation, then we wish to celebrate cooperation between the Ampleforth and Stanbrook communities over many years, and thirdly, perhaps the old-fashioned ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ can actually help us approach the Rule of St Benedict thoughtfully. For all its relevance, RB remains an ancient text which needs careful ‘unpacking’.

To accompany the extracts of the Rule we hope to post regular reflections, from members of the Stanbrook Community and Stanbrook Oblates. These do not aim to be scholarly commentaries of which there are many excellent editions available. Rather, the reflections allow us to re-visit the Rule, to try to listen to its familiar voice anew, and to share thoughts via this forum.

Your comments are welcome via

Our thanks to Patricia Kelly-Evans for her thought-provoking reflections since May.
For this new cycle we encourage you to reflect personally on the Rule. We hope to offer a new series in January 2022.

























The  abbot may select monks to become priests . They are subject to the same strictures concerning humility and ranking according to entrance date when not performing priestly duties as the newly admitted priests discussed in August 14th's 60th chapter  of the Rule. St. Benedict also specifies that priests must follow the portions of the Rule concerning the behavior of deans (chapter 21) and priors (chapter 65).  Priests who become too proud to do so will first be admonished and corrected by the abbot within the monastery, then referred to the diocesan bishop, and  finally expelled from the monastery.

These last few chapters reflect not only St Benedict's experience with monks, but the experience of many a workplace or other organization with disruptive people and people who let promotions or appointments to special roles go to their heads. May we be wise enough to deal effectively with people who fit those categories and humble enough to accept correction  when we start behaving badly. I know I've sometimes found that difficult.









August 13th

St Benedict now turns to parents who offer their children to be brought up in the monastery. He is at pains to clarify that these children should be given no expectation of monies or property coming to them when they reach adulthood and are given the opportunity to decide whether to be professed as monks or not.


August 14th

If a priest enters the monastery, he's still subject to the Rule. He may celebrate Mass and pronounce blessings only with the abbot's permission. In other activities and business of the monastery, the priest's rank is determined by his date of entrance. However, in chapter 2 it was noted that the abbot may modify anyone's ranking according to his judgment of their worthiness of life.  The readings for August 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th contain further instructions on monastic ranking.