What it means to be a Cistercian today
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The Cistercian Monks of Caldey Abbey at prayer in The Abbey Church

The Monks of Caldey Abbey belong to the Order of Reformed Cistercians, an offshoot of the Benedictine order, founded in 1098 by St Robert, Abbot of Molesme in France. He and his followers were concerned that the Benedictine order had become too worldly and so founded a new abbey at Citeaux (Cistercium), near Dijon, with the intention of restoring the original purity of the Rule of St Benedict.

Under the leadership of St Bernard of Clairvaux during the 12th Century, the order founded new monasteries all over Europe. Today there are Cistercian monasteries throughout the world. Cistercians are often referred to as Trappists, deriving from a particularly austere Cistercian Abbey at La Trappe in Normandy.

The monks of Caldey follow the strict lifestyle of their order. They make vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, observe a rule of silence between the hours of 7pm to 7am and follow the demanding timetable of prayer, study and work shown in the table (right).

A glance at their daily routine shows that monastic life is not for the fainthearted, but for those with a genuine vocation it offers the freedom and framework for a balanced and fulfilling spiritual life.


3.15am Rise
3.30am Vigils
  Private prayer, meditation or study
6.30am Lauds & Concelebrated Mass
8.50am Terce
  Work or Study
12.15pm Sext
12.30pm Dinner
2.20pm None
  Work or Study
5.30pm Vespers
6.00pm Supper
7.30pm Compline

The Cistercian Order in Wales

When the Cistercian monks came to Caldey in 1929, they were restoring a long tradition of Cistercian monasticism in Wales. Before the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, there were 13 Cistercian abbeys in Wales. Click on the chart, (right) to enlarge it and find out more about the origins of Caldey and the other Welsh Monasteries.

The Cistercian Order in Wales
The Cistercian Order in Wales