Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received, December 16, 2016

April 16, August 16, December 16

Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received

But if as a guest she was found exacting or prone to vice,

not only should she be denied membership in the community,

but she should even be politely requested to leave,

lest others be corrupted by her evil life.

If, however, she has not proved to be the kind

who deserves to be put out,

she should not only on her own application be received

as a member of the community,

but she should even be persuaded to stay,

that the others may be instructed by her example,

and because in every place it is the same Lord who is served,

the same King for whom the battle is fought.

Moreover, if the Abbess perceives that she is worthy,

she may put her in a somewhat higher rank.

[And not only with regard to a nun

but also with regard to those in priestly or clerical orders

previously mentioned,]*

the Abbess may establish them in a higher rank

than would be theirs by date of entrance

if she perceives that their life is deserving.

Let the Abbess take care, however,

never to receive a nun from another known monastery

as a member of her community

without the consent of her Abbess or a letter of recommendation;

for it is written,

“Do not to another what you would not want done to yourself” (Tob.


Some thoughts

Jumping right to the end… I wonder when this aphorism from Tobit was reworded as ” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Or is that the way the ancient Egyptians expressed the Golden Rule?

But I can’t help wondering if wording it in the negative fashion, as quoted, would be more effective?

If a guest is found exacting… so much provision is made for the comfort of guests already that I guess one would have to be really demanding in order to get kicked out.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be the sort of person that the monastic community would try to talk into staying? How many of us instruct others by our example? I’ve often felt what I do wrong speaks much louder than what I do right. It certainly is remembered longer!!

Benedict warns against poaching. Would that more would take this seriously here in our day and age of church shopping. Or how about various Christian groups evangelising each other rather than focusing their attention on non-Christians?


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