“Work, especially manual work, has always enjoyed special esteem in the Cistercian tradition since it gives the monks the opportunity of sharing in the divine work of creation and restoration, and of following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. This hard and redeeming work is a means of providing a livelihood for the brothers and for other people, especially the poor. It expresses solidarity with all workers. Moreover work is an occasion for a fruitful asceticism that fosters personal development and maturity. It promotes health of mind and body and contributes greatly to the unity of the community.” [Constitutions of the OCSO, 26]
St Benedict said the we are truly monks if we live by the work of our hands.
Cistercians have traditionally been workers of the land and agricultural innovators. At Mellifont we continue to run a farm and a garden centre.
Each brother has some manual work, such as in the kitchen, house maintenance, care of the sick or elderly members, looking after the grounds, etc. Other tasks include preparation of the liturgy, dealing with guests, and all the many requirements of administration.