Leaving the Monastery to Care for a Sick Parent

Is a Trappist normally permitted to leave the monastery to care for a sick or aging parent in cases of necessity?


In special circumstances, a Trappist monk or nun is permitted to return home for a time to care for a sick or aging parent. This would generally only be arranged if there is no one else able to provide for the parent. Though a Trappist’s donation of himself or herself to God in a cloistered life, involves a radical separation, and new kind of relationship with our family, Jesus’ teaching regarding the love and active care for parents is very clear, and we honor that.

It should be said that, in general, when a man or woman applies to enter a monastery, the Vocation Director would make inquiries to establish that parents of the candidate have recourse to other family members to provide for them in old age. In most cases, the aging or ailing parent of a Trappist, having their basic needs met, appreciate very much the presence of their son or daughter in the cloister interceding on their behalf.