Just a curious about a monk’s room or cell. What is in a monk’s cell?  What type of diet do monks eat?


God bless you, and thank you for contacting us at Trappist.org. You asked what is in a Trappist monk’s cell, and what type of diet the monks eat.  I thought the below passage from the Constitutions of our Order might provide a good foundation to answer your questions:

C. 27 Simplicity- Following the example of the Fathers of Cîteaux, who sought an uncomplicated relationship with the God of simplicity, the brothers’ lifestyle is to be plain and frugal. Everything in the household of God should be appropriate to monastic life and avoid excess so that its very simplicity can be instructive for all. This is to be clearly apparent in buildings and their furnishings, in food and clothing and even in the celebration of the liturgy.

Therefore, in line with our charism of simplicity, the monk’s cell will ordinarily provide only the simple necessities: bed, desk, lamp, dresser, bookcase, etc.

Regarding the monks’ diet, in accord with the Rule of St. Benedict and monastic tradition, we are perpetual vegetarians.  This abstinence from meat is regarded as a penitential practice, something to ‘offer up’, similar to Catholics not eating meat on Fridays of Lent, not ideological vegetarianism.  Staples of a Trappist diet would include bread, pasta, fruit, vegetables, beans, potatoes, eggs and the like, perhaps seafood on special holy days.  Like the furnishings, the diet also is meant to be kept simple; nourishing but not fancy.

I hope that this helps answer your questions.