Benedictine Spirituality
at Kylemore Abbey

The Rule of St Benedict

The Benedictine Community is founded on THE RULE OF ST BENEDICT written by Benedict of Nursia in Italy during the 6th century. Benedict joined a group of men who were trying to live a life that would be a response to the teaching of Jesus. Over his lifetime he formulated a document, based on the Bible, that gives guidance for the inner spiritual journey and a practical framework for the life of a Christian community. From the 6th century onwards, throughout Europe and beyond, groups of monks and nuns living according to the Rule of St. Benedict have carried out through their way of life a vital role in the spread of the Gospel.

Ora et Labora – Pray and Work

ORA or PRAYER In Benedictine life, the day is structured to allow significant time for prayer – which includes the Divine Office prayed together and individual prayer, as well as time for spiritual reading and study (Lectio Divina) which is essential to a life of prayer.

When Jesus was asked “When should we pray?” he answered “You should pray always and never give up” (Lk 18). St. Benedict’s Rule responds to Jesus’ teaching by training one to keep attention focussed on God at the deepest level, even when engaged with the various activities of the day.

LABORA or WORK: “Praying at all times” does not exclude doing a hard day’s work. The question of how to earn a living for a community is a reality. The group of nuns who came to Kylemore in 1920 invested what they had, helped by friends and benefactors, to purchase Kylemore castle and the estate, not to live in luxury, but as a means of earning their living.

One hundred years later the nuns’ daily work of stewardship of Kylemore sustains the Community, the environment, the local community, and all those who visit it. Along with the life of prayer, this work is part of the everyday life of each nun.
Today, qualified staff help to manage the estate. The daily work of the nuns consists in running the organisation and the monastery: housekeeping, gardening, liturgy, artisanal crafts (soap, candles, chocolate), music teaching, welcoming guests, contacts with visitors and supporters of the community.

Daily Prayer in our Monastery

5.30am – Rising and Silence until after morning prayer5.30am – Rising and Silence until after morning prayer
7.15am – Vigils followed by Lauds8.30am – Vigils followed by Lauds
8.00am – Private Prayer
12.15pm – Mass11.30am – Mass
6.00pm – Vespers (5pm Monday)6.00pm – Vespers
7.30pm – Compline7.30pm – Compline
8.30pm – Lectio Divina8.30pm – Lectio Divina

You can join the monastic community for Mass and Vespers from the Monastic Church in person or via webcam at the times above. Recordings are held for 7 days.


Commitment to living in a community is what distinguishes monastic life from the life of a hermit.

According to the Rule of St. Benedict the community of people sharing the aspiration to grow ever deeper into the spiritual life is a support and guide for the monk on his/her journey to God. It is also a challenging “school of the Lord’s service” in which one learns over a lifetime how to live, by the grace of God, in peace with oneself and a particular group of human beings to whom one is committed for life.

The constant interaction of prayer in its various forms, work, and community life give the Rule of St. Benedict the qualities of BALANCE and DISCRETION that have assured its survival as a reliable way of seeking God for over 1500 years.