Frequently Asked Questions
What is the age limit for joining Saint John’s Abbey?
We accept applications from men ages 23–43. We rarely accept candidates younger than 23, because we want to encourage such men to have more life experience first; it helps to inform their vocation discernment. We rarely accept candidates over the age of 43 because of the increased difficulty in transitioning into a monastic way of life the older one becomes. Exceptions may be made for ordained priests and other monastics.
Do I have to be a United States citizen to become a monk at Saint John’s Abbey?
Basically, yes. Admission into candidacy requires that you are either a United States citizen or a permanent resident of the United States. Though some of our monks travel across the globe for study and work, we are, in the end, rooted to this particular place in the American Midwest, and most of our work and ministry is supported primarily by local and national vocations. Our experience has taught us to value and support the efforts of every Benedictine house by encouraging international enquirers to seek admission to houses in their native country first. Accordingly, we accept international vocations only on extremely rare occasions.
Do I have to be Catholic to become a monk at Saint John’s Abbey?
Yes. Admission into candidacy requires that you are a baptized and confirmed Roman Catholic. While Saint John’s is a center for ecumenism, Catholic identity is central to our theology and monastic identity and practice. A calling to the monastic life at Saint John’s Abbey requires familiarity with, and participation in, the Roman Catholic community and its tradition, sacraments, and identity.
Do I have to be single to be a monk at Saint John’s Abbey?
Yes. Only single men are admitted into candidacy.
Can I become a monk if I am divorced?
Admission into any Catholic monastic community after divorce requires an official Church annulment. Secular divorce alone does not take into regard the sacrament of marriage as ministered through the Catholic Church—the effect of such a divorce is legal, but not religious. Since a vocation is not an autonomous and isolating calling, transition from one religious vocation to another requires participation in the lager Church community. Thus, transition in vocation affects the whole Church body. Additionally, after an annulment one must live within the annulment for at least one year before an application for candidacy would be considered.
Can I become a monk if I have debt?
The amount of debt, type of debt, and how it was accrued will be taken into consideration, but debt is very likely to hinder the application process. School debt is considered more amicably than personal credit card debt, however. Feel free to apply for a vocation visit if you have debt, but be prepared to discuss your financial situation with the vocation director.