A Modern Monastic Movement in Neepawa

Photo of group.
The group meets in St. James' Chapel in Neepawa United Church in Neepawa, MB.
By on February 28, 2023
The Rev'd Chad McCharles
Photo of group.
The group meets in St. James’ Chapel in Neepawa United Church in Neepawa, MB.

The Neepawa United-Anglican Shared Ministry is home to a community within a community since the founding of the Anglican Benedictine Community of Saint Joseph in early 2022. In 2013, I first became involved in the modern monastic movement to deepen my spirituality, better attend to my daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, and to combat the sense of isolation that many rural clerics feel.  It became clear to me very quickly that exploring Benedictine spirituality was a good fit for me beyond my initial reasons for doing so, as the very human, down-to-earth, approachable, and humble  teachings of Saint Benedict deepened my calling to serve God and His Church.

A foundational tenet of Benedict’s approach to the Christian faith is community, which should come as no surprise given the Rule of St. Benedict was written for Monks and Nuns in 561AD.  However, what spoke to me was the Rule’s ability to transcend time and circumstance and enrich and refresh my life as someone living nearly 1500 years later, and not in the cloisters of a monastery! The modern expression of monastic life is seeing a revival throughout the Christian world because people are yearning for connection to that which is rooted and grounded in stability and truth.  Saint Benedict’s Rule provides just that for whomever you are, wherever you are, and whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

The Anglican Benedictine Community that I am a part of has communities in Victoria British Columbia, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Tempe Arizona, Tucson Arizona, and Neepawa Manitoba! Last year, Bishop William gave permission (and our community’s name) for the creation of the Community of St. Joseph here in our parish, as a way for me to fulfill my vows to always be in Benedictine community.  It has also been a wonderful way for parishioners to explore OSBC (Order of Saint Benedict Canon) life, spirituality, prayer, study, and their own response to those aspects of our faith.  We hold Chapter meetings the last Tuesday of each month, September through May, which involve reading and reflecting on the Rule of St. Benedict, scripture reading accompanied by commentary reflection on the rule, and we conclude with a service of Compline from the BCP.  It is a quiet, safe space to deepen our spirituality, ask hard questions, share with one another, and deepen the bonds of community.

I encourage you to discover more about our wider Benedictine family on our website


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