Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 32: On the Tools and Property of the Monastery, March 10, 2017

March 10, July 10, November 9
Chapter 32: On the Tools and Property of the Monastery

For the care of the monastery’s property
in tools, clothing and other articles
let the Abbess appoint sisters
on whose manner of life and character she can rely;
and let her, as she shall judge to be expedient,
consign the various articles to them,
to be looked after and to be collected again.
The Abbess shall keep a list of these articles,
so that
as the sisters succeed one another in their assignments
she may know what she gives and what she receives back.

If anyone treats the monastery’s property
in a slovenly or careless way,
let her be corrected.
If she fails to amend,
let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.


Some thoughts
Taking care of something so that it lasts a long time is somewhat of a foreign concept in a society that flaunts consumerism, isn’t it? I remember on of those Bush presidents saying something like it was the patriotic duty of US citizens to spend money and buy stuff. He said that in the middle of the worst depression since the Great Depression. So I guess it was the second Bush that said it.
When I was in high school, we female students had to take Home Ec. It was required. In Home Ec we were taught about frugality and thrift, This included not only cooking lessons, but how to shop wisely, how to mend, how to sew, how to darn. We were taught to take so much care and to take pride in what we made so it would be durable and last.
Later on in US History II, we were taught about “planned obsolescence,” the idea that goods are manufactured in such a way that they will fail and need to be replaced. My reaction was horror because what about taking pride in craftsmanship? The teacher explained that if things didn’t need to be replaced, the economy would die.
To this day, I am still horrified that the US economy is based upon planned obsolescence. I think Benedict would be too.

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