Perhaps you or someone you know is interested in discerning a vocation to monastic life? Entrance into the Order is a gradual process that begins by contacting one of the vocation ministers listed below to begin a process of discernment to explore your vocation.
During this time of discernment visits to the OHC community nearest to you is encouraged so that you can begin to observe our life and develop relationships with the brethren stationed there.
When you and your vocation minister mutually agree that you are ready to move further in your vocational journey a two-week aspirant visit at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, New York is required. During those two weeks you will live in the enclosure at the Monastery participating in the life and work of the community. During this visit you would also have a standard series of psychological tests. Following that visit, if both you and the community think you should move forward, you would be invited to make a formal application for admission to our novitiate.
Upon admission to the novitiate as a postulant (your first six months) you are introduced to the Order’s life and ministry. The purpose of the postulancy is for the candidate to demonstrate through his life and work in the community that he has a vocation to the monastic life as it is lived in OHC.
At the end of the first six months, if the postulant chooses to continue and the community consents, he is admitted as a novice and receives the monastic habit. The novice spends his first year praying, studying and working in the formation community. It is during this time that the basic foundation of the monastic life is laid.
In the second year of his novitiate, the novice may be stationed at any monastery of the Order, participating in the work and ministry of that house.
After completing the novitiate, the novice with the consent of the community makes his annual profession, renewing his vow each year until he feels ready to make a life commitment.
Perhaps God is inviting you – or someone you know – to explore more deeply the possibility of a monastic vocation. If so, write to one of our vocation directors for more information.
If you feel ready to do so, you may want to attach your filled-in Introductory Questionnaire to your message to the Vocations Minister.
A Brief History of the Order
The Order of the Holy Cross is an Anglican (Episcopal) monastic community within the Benedictine tradition and was founded in 1881 in New York City’s Lower East Side by the Rev. James Otis Sargent Huntington. Fr. Huntington was an extraordinary Christian for his time possessing heroic courage and uncommon foresight. He was an active social reformer with a deep sense of social responsibility. His understanding that social justice and advocacy can only be sustained by the primacy of prayer and contemplation as foremost in the monk’s life is the legacy he left to the Order and for one hundred and twenty years the Order’s various ministries have been sustained by that legacy.
In 1984 the Order acknowledged that the legacy it had inherited from Fr. Huntington and had lived for one hundred years was essentially Benedictine in character and nature. We acknowledged that reality by adopting the Rule of St. Benedict.
The Order lives out the monastic life in a variety of settings and styles, always attempting to adapt this ancient way to contemporary conditions. In particular, the community holds out to us the model of a balanced life, one which integrates prayer (both liturgical and personal), work and study, and which supports each monk in living creatively the tensions and contradictions of life.
- To personally and communally live a more authentic witness of Benedictine Ideals in the Contemporary World.
- To consciously develop and practice the attitudes and skills necessary to genuinely Listen and Respond to each other and our world.
- To face the power we hold to act on behalf of justice and to use that power, individually and corporately, for the sake of justice.
- To Welcome Diversity that enriches our life and mission and to embrace the costs and benefits that results.
Br. Robert Sevensky, OHC Superior
Holy Cross Monastery
PO Box 99
West Park NY 12493
Br. John Forbis, OHC
Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery
PO Box 6013
When writing to the Vocations Minister, please consider joining your filled-in Introductory Questionnaire.
We have compiled a list of suggested reading about the monastic life, monastic spirituality, and the Order of the Holy Cross. Read more…