We are a monastic and contemplative community, in the Benedictine tradition, with an emphasis on both solitude and community. This is a difficult balance, and requires specific human skills and a certain level of spiritual development.
We ask that individuals considering our way of life be in a process of spiritual direction with someone to help discern the mysterious call that is the call to religious life. This is best done locally, that is, with someone near your home. We ask too that this process be an extended one, not just one or two visits. As the work progresses and the life of prayer increases, and if it seems that God is calling you to consider a monastic and contemplative vocation, we would be happy to explore the possibility of a call to our way of life with you.
The following issues come up often, so we want to address them early on for prospective candidates.
Our life is challenging, and different from many other ways of life (see description). We can only accept candidates who are under age 45. In addition, we have found that those candidates in their late teens and early to mid twenties do not persevere. Therefore we encourage people to wait until their mid to late twenties before seriously considering our way of life. Those who have experienced a life on their own, supporting themselves, have done well here.
We are a Roman Catholic order, and as such, candidates must be Catholic. Those considering converting to the Catholic faith are strongly encouraged to become involved in a local parish RCIA program. Recent converts are asked to be involved in their local parish for a couple of years before considering us, in order to distinguish the call of conversion from the call to religious life. In addition, those who have been away from the practice of the Catholic faith for a period of time should become re-acquainted with the Catholic faith and involved in the life of the local church. There are programs in parishes to help in this process. Your spiritual director can help you.
The process begins by initiating contact with our vocation director. After some correspondence, if it seems appropriate, an invitation to visit the Hermitage is extended. There are normally a number of visits of varying lengths over a number of months. You would be staying within the cloister with the monks, getting to know the community and their way of life. This is then followed by a two to three month Observership.
Prior to beginning the Observership (the last stage of discernment before beginning the Postulancy) you will need to be free of all financial obligations, including all school loans.
If you have any further questions, or are interested in pursuing the possibility of a vocation with us, please use this form to contact us:
c/o New Camaldoli Hermitage
62475 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920-9533
You may also leave a telephone message at: (831) 667-2456 x108
Please know of our prayers for you in this important search for a clearer sense of God’s call.