Monasteries For Green New Monastics?


The sixty four thousand dollar question is this:  Can some new monastics form residential monasteries which become hubs of villages of God?


Over 1500 of the 1800 hospitals in England in the 16th century were run by monasteries.  The establishment of a government run National Health Service in UK was a huge step forward, but something was lost – holistic health care - the spirit of selfless care and hospitality, free from fear of litigation and careerism. A senior health service officer recently resigned, preferring to become a monk. He felt pride – in staff and sometimes in relatives of patients – has replaced mercy and forgiveness in the health service.  So serious thought needs to be given to the establishment of health centres, hospices or hospitals sponsored by hub churches serviced by people in vows who live on site.


The fourth industrial revolution may displace 800 million workers throughout the world by changing technology.  This will also free up millions to create community, which robots cannot do. In 2017 Matt Hancock, then digital minister in the UK government stated ‘Our goal must be to automate work but humanize jobs. Allow machines to do the dangerous, boring and repetitive, and ensure we humans have the capacity to do the creative, empathetic and inter-action’. (Reported in The Week 8 February 2020). The purpose of the new monasteries will be to nurture the creative, empathetic and inter-active.


Ever more psychologists identify diseases of the soul which our digital economy plays havoc with. Cell-phone addiction causes ‘time famine’ and ‘contaminated time’. The new monasteries will have times of fasting from digital consumption.


In 2019 the dispersed Community of Aidan and Hilda received the first vows of a member to become a monk.  His Rule is the same as that of other dispersed members who have taken life vows, but he commits to prayer four times daily, to somewhat more fasting, and wears a green habit. He is nicknamed The Green Monk. He is willing to reside at a Christian centre, retreat house or former monastery where he can recruit more people and offer some of the features of a village of God. (See Cal Newport Digital Minimalism;  James Wallman Time and How to Spend It: The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days.)

Over to you.


Posted at 08:16am on 14th February 2020
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