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Blog

Seeking God at this place of New Clairvaux, we are a community of Cistercian monks living the Rule of Saint Benedict. We witness God's love for the world according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by a life of prayer, labor, and sustainable stewardship of our resources in a simplicity and openness to the signs of the times. Our monastery welcomes all people in the spirit of hospitality, and engages others in collaborative relationships.

We share our joy that on Oct. 7, the feast of the Holy Rosary, Bishop Jamie Soto of the Diocese of Sacramento presided at the Mass of Ordination conferring Holy Orders upon our brothers Stephen Bay Nguyen and Guerric Ariel Llanes and consecrating them to the Holy Priesthood.  About 200 relatives and guests joined us for this special blessing, including Fr.

The General Chapter of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance is held every three years, when all the abbots and abbesses of the communities around the world gather together to direct, guide and renew the Order.  The latest Chapter is being held in Assisi, Italy this Sept. 6 -27. 

Life can appear to be moving very fast.  Even here at the Abbey where most people come to "get away from it all," the monks keep in step with the world while living somewhat apart from it.  Many new changes have occurred.  Some of our most senior members have been called to heaven.  Most of our junior monks who were in formation and taking classes have now "graduated."  Some of our elderly monks have retired from their post while the younger ones have assumed greater areas of responsibility.

This month our abbot takes his turn in answering the questions. Fr. Paul Mark is a native of North Dakota, entered the community in 1980, was elected abbot in 2009 and re-elected in 2015:

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT BEING A MONK: “The loving support of brothers in a common life of radical dispossession, where each brother gives of himself to the common will, the Holy Spirit at work among us. The simpl...e, ordinary, daily rhythm, marked by the centrality of the Church’s liturgical, sacramental prayer and personal lectio divina.”

(Click the title to see whole Blog post)  What and how we eat and drink are crucial for wellness of body and spirit.  Brother Guerric, our head cook explains the diet of the monastery: "As head of our kitchen here at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, there's a sense of responsibility I feel to provide the brothers with good, healthy and wholesome meals.  Saint Benedict in his Rule for Monasteries which we follow prescribed a diet which included two cooked vegetable dishes, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a generous pound of bread.  We at New Clairvaux generally translate that into one cooked gra

July 26, 2017- Celebrating the beautiful feast of Our Blessed Mother's parents St Anne and St Joachim, we share a poem by our Fr. Paul Jerome about Mary's presentation in the Temple:

Great Jerusalem's Temple Service

As a child climbs steps, she upped the temple flight;
Her scantling frame a pretty speck among the colonnades,
In Herod's gloried vault, this girl the Ark of gold.  <see more...>

This past growing season we have been transitioning to organic farming in cultivating our grapes, from which we produce our award winning New Clairvaux Vineyard wine.  Br. Luis Cortez, our vineyard manager explains why and what in entailed: 

Last month I had the honor of presenting the wisdom of Br. Pierre, one of our senior founding monks, on the following three questions; this month I offer contribution of Br. Luis, our most recently professed brother: 

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT BEING A MONK:  “I love that this life is so full of meaning.  It motivates me to offer the best of myself to God and neighbor.  The support I have at New Clairvaux allows me to become the best oblation unto the Lord I can imagine.”

Last Saturday June 24th we celebrated the solemnity of John Baptist's birth, which displaced the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pope St. John Paul had assigned the feast of Mary's heart to the Saturday after the Feast of the Sacred Heart, in order to link the Sacred Heart with the pierced Heart of Mary his Mother.

It brought up for me 3 questions of human identity:
1. Who am I?
2. Whose am I?
3. Who am I meant to be?

We share a homily on the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Fr. Paul Jerome Konkler:

Tomorrow we will celebrate the great solemnity  of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. What does the Sacred Heart of Jesus mean to me? Do I focus on the image of a human heart surmounted by a cross, with flames rising up from its base, with a gash in the side dripping large drops of red blood, and encircled by a crown of thorns. All of these picturesque details are symbols of a Divine love story.