I was brought up in the Far East where monks are seen daily. Just watching them left a lasting impression on me. After attending Douai School (a Benedictine school) I sought out spirituality. I started in France where I lived for a year. There I travelled the country doing manual work. I had twenty odd books at the base of my ruck sack concerned with 'the search of God' and read these when I had the time. When I returned to England I looked for a monastery to join. The Carthusian order appealed most and I joined in the early eighties. I wasn't to stay and left soon after being clothed in the habit. I went to live in a hut within a private wood for a year following the Carthusian way of life. A 10 minute walk took me to a local convent for daily mass and I worked 20 hours a week on the owner's land. After this I returned to the Carthusian monastery to try again. 6 months was enough and I transferred to a Benedictine monastery where I stayed for three and a half years. Most of the time outside the liturgy was spent studying the monastic life, theology and philosophy, the normal things for monks. Eventually I saw that I was not to stay in that way of life and went to the Abbot to ask to leave. Leaving the monastic life is one thing. Leaving the inner purpose of a monk is another, and this I still carry with me. It is sanity in a lost world.
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