Our Relationship with the Blessed Sacrament

Every element of Trappist life emphasizes deep listening to God, the community, and our inner self. We find true happiness and fulfillment as human beings in surrendering our life to God in imitation of Christ. When we celebrate Mass and receive the Eucharist, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is made especially present. The celebration of the Eucharist binds the worshipping community together in Thanksgiving for the gift of Love we have received.

Special Customs
Trappists have been celebrating Mass together for nine hundred years. We preserve certain customs from Medieval times in our own Cistercian Rite of the Mass. For example, when a parish priest would genuflect, a Trappist priest would bow. At the beginning of the gospel when parish worshipers cross themselves three times, once on the forehead, once on the lips, and once on the breast, Trappists cross ourselves one time, (forehead, breast, both shoulders). We tend to make longer pauses after the readings and at the end of prayers and, in general, the liturgy moves at a slower pace than that of parish liturgies.

Simplicity. Because we are poor, the vestments worn by the priest, the vessels used on the altar, and the musical instruments we use are striking in their simplicity.

Silence. Trappists observe silence in church in order to maintain an atmosphere of recollection there at all times. This means that we would not gather in back of church and visit with one another after Mass as is common in parishes. Rather, each of us would typically spend a short time in silence before the Blessed Sacrament, and only enter into conversation in one of the rooms adjacent to the chapel.

Community. We consider it a blessing that we are able to celebrate the Eucharist with people we know very well, some of whom we may have lived with for decades. The melodies we chant, in many cases, have been passed down to us from generations of monks and nuns whose artistic gifts we celebrate as if they were our own brothers and sisters.