How might an Episcopalian minister be more closely associated with a Trappist community?

I am not a Roman Catholic.  I am an ordained person in the Episcopal/Anglican tradition.  I have taken some of my retreats at two Trappist monasteries close to where I live.  These monastic places are very close to my heart. Even though I am involved in an active ministry in the world, I have always had a call to contemplative prayer.  How can a person in my situation associate on a deeper level with a Trappist Abbey community?


Thank you for addressing this question to us as your brothers and sisters in faith and as friends called like you to foster contemplative prayer.

For close to thirty years now our monasteries have recognized in the hearts of people like yourself “cousins” in the Spirit and have tried to encourage and strengthen that bond. Most Trappist monasteries today have “Associates” who are lay persons deeply attracted to Cistercian spirituality and practices. Many of these will tell you their lives and ministries in the world have been immeasurably enriched by practices like Lectio Divina and the Liturgy of the Hours and time each day devoted to contemplative prayer.

Associates generally meet to support and encourage one another at a particular monastery who sponsors them. You might check out the Our Monasteries page this website to confirm where the nearest monastery is, write to the Vocation Director and inquire about that community’s Associate Program. At my monastery, a woman, and Episcopalian minister, has been one of the leading figures in our Associate group for many years. You might find in these groups people with whom you share a deep spiritual bond, as well as meeting monks that you can cultivate friendships with for the rest of your life.