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August 23, 2014

10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 5)

At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul. 

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10 Hallmarks of a Benedictine Education. 

5. Obedience: a commitment to listening and consequent action

Benedictine life is unthinkable without obedience, a value that cuts against the grain of much in
contemporary life. It is often forgotten that the root of the word obedience is found in the Latin
word audire, "to listen." When Benedict begins the Rule with the exhortation "Listen," he emphasizes
the stance of obedience required of all who seek wisdom. Benedict asks for obedience not only to
the Abbot, but to the other members of the community. Each has something of value to say about true fullness of life. For the monastic, obedience is putting into practice what is learned by listening to the other with the ear of the heart (RB Prol. 1). Centuries of Benedictine experience show that such listening requires the cultivation of silence and an atmosphere of leisure.

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Teaching and learning are impossible without obedience, without listening to the other with the
awareness that no one possesses all truth, or knows everything worth knowing. Everyone in a
Benedictine educational institution must learn to listen well in order to grow in wisdom. The necessity of listening to one another places specific demands on each person within the community, from the president and senior professor to the youngest first-year student. It also suggests the advisability of periodic reflection on the quality of human interactions with a specific eye to improving the skills for recognizing and benefiting from the gifts others provide.

for more on the Fifth Benedictine Value: 


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