(Content notice: Video shows birth of calf)
At Mass, Gregorian chants fill the church at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery, just outside of the Gila National Forest. From outside the church you can witness a sea of green treetops that spans the peaks and valleys to the West.
Father Cyprian Rodriguez started this Benedictine monastery in 1991 with a simple trailer. Today, there is a church, a rectory, a library, living quarters, and a farm. Father Cyprian felt a calling since his youth to this religious lifestyle.
“I was just a young man in the world searching for my way, and going to college, majoring in architecture and different subjects. I had a desire to be religious since my youth. So, my focus, my orientation was in that direction from early on,” Says Father Cyprian.
The day of a monk is filled with prayer, learning, and labor.
“We begin with several hours of official prayer for the church, and then the Monks leave church at daybreak and begin the worker part of the day.
The monks do manual labor and farming. They raise cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, and also peacocks. They also take classes in theology, philosophy, and Latin.
Most of the monks at the monastery are in their twenties, they are young men who feel a call to spend the rest of their live in prayer, labor, and service.
The monks communicate with traditional hand signs used by the monks of the Benedictine order. This way monks from different countries and different languages can communicate through the day.
This monastery is not recognized by The Vatican or Diocese in the area. According to Father Cyprian, it is affiliated with The Society of St. Pius X.
Father Cyprian says that with Catholic schools closing, and seminaries along with convents emptying, more young people are becoming interested in the traditional vocations that existed in in the Catholic Church for centuries prior to the modernization of the church in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The experimental, the ultra-modern, and the departure from tradition seems to be dying out,” says Father Cyprian.
According to Father Cyprian, there are over 100 young men on the waiting list to take up life as a Benedictine Monk at the Monastery.