Honors students visit Benedictine monastery, learn monastic traditions

Feb 3, 2015 | Liberal Arts

Ten students from Louisiana Tech University recently traveled to northwest Arkansas to visit a 136 year-old Benedictine monastery as part of their “Medieval and Renaissance Civilization” course taught by Dr. Celia Lewis, the Charlyne Smith Wyche Endowed Professor of English, and Kevin Cuccia, assistant professor in Louisiana Tech’s Prescott Memorial Library.
Louisiana Tech honors students visit with Brother Francis of Subiaco Abbey.

Louisiana Tech honors students visit with Brother Francis of Subiaco Abbey.

During their two-night stay at Subiaco Abbey in Subiaco, Arkansas, the Louisiana Tech students were able to get a taste of monastic life by waking at 5:30 a.m. to attend morning prayers, touring the Abbey and asking the monks questions about the challenges contemporary life and 21st century technology pose to their monastic lifestyle. “I find it remarkable that one can live their life with their mind on one absolute thing,” said Louisiana Tech honors student Regan Turner. “The monks had a complete focus for their lives which I find absolutely amazing. That ‘focus’ is what I strive for in my own life. The monks knew their purpose and stuck to it. That is something everyone can learn from. It opened my eyes that everyone has a purpose in the world.” The monks of Subiaco Abbey closely follow “The Rule of St. Benedict” – a book of precepts written by St. Benedict of Nursia (c.480–547) for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot. It’s a tradition that dates back 1500 years to the time of the earliest Christian monastic traditions. “The best thing about the trip was not only talking to the monks and visiting the monastery, but being able to participate in a lot of it,” said Tech honors student Maddy Gibson. “The monks didn’t just tell us about what they do, they showed us and walked us through the prayers and mass.”