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SILENCE

Some forty years ago, we at Assumption Abbey promoted our place with the

slogan, “Listen to the quiet.” Although our locale is not untouched by the North

Dakota oil boom, what was said forty years ago still holds true: Visitors to our

monastery may readily appreciate that invitation, “Listen to the quiet.” We are

just outside the “city” limits of Richardton. The hum of highway traffic passing

by, or of lawn mowers or snow blowers, will sometimes compete with the song

of the doves, the nighttime serenade of coyotes and the sigh of our prairie

winds.

Monastic silence was made the theme of the movie, Into Great Silence (2005),

filmed in a Carthusian monastery in the French Alps. But the silence of interest

here is more the inner silence of a listening heart. We at Assumption Abbey

keep the traditional monastic “great silence” (though not so strictly as portrayed

popularly in movies). From the conclusion of Evening Prayer around 7:30 p.m.

until work begins at 8:00 a.m. we cultivate silence in the house. The first half-

hour of this silence after Evening Prayer and the last half-hour of our silence

before morning work are times recommended for prayerful reading of

Scripture (Lectio Divina).

Most monks can tell you silence is not easy. It is not easy to find, probably

because it is not easy to keep. In silence we face ourselves and the many

“voices” jabbering in our heads. In silence we sit down and face our Maker, who

waits for us. In silence we sit prayerfully with the Scriptures, and let them

examine us.

A good Christian practice, a good Benedictine practice—for monks/nuns and

oblates alike—is to be discerning about the place of sound and the place of

silence in our lives. How much day-time silence do we have? Are we silence-

starved, living in a noisy world? How can we cultivate some oases of silence in

our homes, in our schedules, for our wellbeing and that of our loved ones?

Assumption Abbey

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Some forty years ago, we at Assumption Abbey promoted our place with the

slogan, “Listen to the quiet.” Although our locale is not untouched by the North

Dakota oil boom, what was said forty years ago still holds true: Visitors to our

monastery may readily appreciate that invitation, “Listen to the quiet.” We are

just outside the “city” limits of Richardton. The hum of highway traffic passing

by, or of lawn mowers or snow blowers, will sometimes compete with the song

of the doves, the nighttime serenade of coyotes and the sigh of our prairie

Monastic silence was made the theme of the movie, I

filmed in a Carthusian monastery in the French Alps. But the silence of interest

here is more the inner silence of a listening heart. We at Assumption Abbey

keep the traditional monastic “great silence” (though not so strictly as portrayed

popularly in movies). From the conclusion of Evening Prayer around 7:30 p.m.

until work begins at 8:00 a.m. we cultivate silence in the house. The first half-

hour of this silence after Evening Prayer and the last half-hour of our silence

Most monks can tell you silence is not easy. It is not easy to find, probably

because it is not easy to keep. In silence we face ourselves and the many

“voices” jabbering in our heads. In silence we sit down and face our Maker, who

waits for us. In silence we sit prayerfully with the Scriptures, and let them

A good Christian practice, a good Benedictine practice—for monks/nuns and

oblates alike—is to be discerning about the place of sound and the place of

silence in our lives. How much day-time silence do we have? Are we silence-

starved, living in a noisy world? How can we cultivate some oases of silence in

our homes, in our schedules, for our wellbeing and that of our loved ones?

Assumption Abbey

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Phone (701) 974 3315 Address PO Box A Richardton, ND 58601