In today’s world, monastic communities

are no longer the stable, predictable entities

they once were –

in contrast they are fragile, vulnerable and changing entities –

maybe nearly like they were in the time of Saint Benedict!

Unprecedented factors are changing our monasteries and are making leadership much more complicated:

  • outside pressures: modern technology, increasing legal requirements, environmental concerns, escalating social and economic interaction on a world-scale
  • inside challenges: erosion of authority, need for personal fulfilment, reduction of numbers, increased variety among vocations, changes in size and similarity of communities.

We are experiencing a cultural change:

  • stated and unstated rules, beliefs, reflexes and values that run deep in the communities’ collective memory and that still guide behaviours (“the way we do things in our community”) are under pressure

Often monastic communities cannot understand what is happening to them

  • traditional wisdom is still perceived as the answer, but it is difficult to adapt its treasures to these new contexts
  • instinctive leadership is not enough to deal with such complex situations

Monastic leaders wonder:

- who helps us to understand, distinguish and decide?

- what are tools to deal with these challenges?

- how can we initiate urgently needed changes without losing our identity?