Have you ever wondered about what it's like to live in a monastery? 

In this brief Q&A session, Fr Kieran Monahan OSB gives us some insight into daily life as a monk at Ampleforth Abbey. 

Head and shoulders of Fr Kieran wearing a warm but professional expression

Q: Why is the daily routine so important for Ampleforth Monks?

Fr Kieran: "Because it gives balance to the day. The timetable we follow allows us to balance out prayer, recreation, and work. Having a routine provides stability and comfort by letting us know what to prioritise at a particular time, as it does for everyone whether they live in a family or a monastery."

Q: What do you find the most enjoyable part of the day, and what is the most challenging?

Fr Kieran: "I find praying the most enjoyable part, as that is what we are here to do as Benedictine monks of the Abbey. Coming together as a group and sharing these rhythms of prayer really brings the sense of community to the surface.

The most challenging part, for me, is working out how to switch off and accept moments of rest and recreation. We can get so work-focused, it can be a struggle to keep the balance."  

Q: Are you allowed holidays?

Fr Kieran: "Yes, we’re given 4 weeks of the year, a total of 28 days. We’ll go and stay with family or friends, and we are given a small amount of allowance money. On holiday we still pray, but we don’t have to follow the usual routine."  

Q: How much time do you spend with each other?

Fr Kieran: "Since there is always someone nearby to chat to, you are never really alone. We have a strong sense of community and coming together is important. We felt especially grateful for our community during the Covid-19 pandemic, as we had our brothers there for support."