“Look! I am going to seduce her, and lead her out into the desert, and speak to her heart…” – Hosea 2:14

Welcome! Thank you for visiting our vocations pages. Please see the navigation bar (left) for more information relating to the Cistercian vocation.

A simple way to define the purpose of the monastic life is that it is about monks and nuns being dedicated to the whole-hearted search for and worship of God.

St Benedict called the monastery a ‘school for the Lord’s service’ where we learn and are formed to love and serve God. The Cistercian monk St Bernard adopted this image of the monastery as a ‘school’, and called the monastery a ‘school of love’.

Every Christian is called to holiness, to the search for and worship of God. Someone who has a monastic vocation however is someone who feels that God is calling them to dedicate their lives to God specifically in the monastic way of life, and that the monastery is the place which most enables them, by God’s grace, to say YES to God’s call.  This Divine call is God’s gift to the individual, the Church and to all of humankind.

The Australian Cistercian monk Michael Casey writes that “the monastery is a school of love because it teaches us to forget ambition, convenience and self-gratification in order to open our hearts to love.”

Could God be calling you to join this monastic ‘School of Love’?

Contacting or visiting Glencairn

If you are searching for God in your life and would like to contact our Vocations Director for guidance in your discernment and to find out more about Cistercian life, please contact our vocations director Sr Sarah by email at: vocations@glencairnabbey.org

Vocations News

Summer Monastic Experience Weekend 2017

We look forward to hosting our next vocation discernment weekend at Glencairn on 25-27 August, 2017.  This weekend is for single women who are seeking to respond to God’s call and would like to know more about monastic life as it is lived here at St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn.  Please see our information about monastic weekends and what they entail below.  .  Please feel welcome to contact Sr Sarah to make a visit to the Abbey at other times if you would like to discern your vocation at vocations@glencairnabbey.org

School of Love: Would You Believe Documentary Special on St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn

Watch School of Love, RTE’s Would You Believe one hour Documentary Special about life at Glencairn. The programme especially focuses on the early steps in the monastic journey of Angela Finegan, a young Dublin woman who joined us in January 2013. Sr Angela talks about her discernment and call to monastic life and the documentary contains special footage of Angela’s receiving the Cistercian habit. A must watch for anyone thinking about religious life! School of Love was broadcast on RTE 1, Easter Sunday, 20 April 2014 at 10:35pm. You can now watch School of Love on our website homepage. (Duration: 54 minutes)

Monastic Experience Weekends

This is an opportunity for women aged 22 – 40 to experience monastic life alongside the community at Glencairn in the daily monastic rhythm of prayer and praise, monastic work, Lectio Divina and service to each other, here in the monastery. It is also a time for personal reflection, an opportunity to talk with a sister individually and to enjoy a quiet walk through the fields and by the river at the Abbey. There will also be introductory input given by a sister on Cistercian life and spirituality. Meeting with others who are also open to considering their vocation can offer further valued support on the journey of discernment. So why don’t you come along to our next Monastic Experience Weekend?

If I attend the weekend, will I be staying in the monastery enclosure?

Not usually. The Abbey guesthouse, which forms a part of the monastery buildings, is booked for this event for the exclusive use of monastic weekend participants.

What does the weekend cost?

There is no cost for the weekend. The community wish to support those who are discerning their vocation by freely sharing with them our way of life.

I don’t know if I have a vocation, but I’d like to experience a monastic weekend!

Monastic Weekends are a great opportunity to experience a life of prayer and community in the Cistercian monastic tradition. If you are single, and are open to God’s call to you and think that you’d like to find out more about monastic life then you should enjoy the weekend and are warmly welcome to apply!

Here I am, O God. I waited for the Lord and my Maker bent down to hear me, My cry and my prayer were heard in the heart of God.

A new song was put into my mouth, a hymn of my creator, for the many shall see and trust in the Lord, our God.

How many, O Lord, my God are your wonders and designs! The marvels you work are great beyond all praise.

It is written in the Holy Word, that I should do your will, In the depths of my heart I sing before your Word.

Adapted from Psalm 40 by Stephen C. Warner

Do I have a monastic vocation?

You may like to see our Frequently Asked Questions page for some initial answers to your questions about our monastic way of life as Cistercians here at Glencairn. If you are considering your monastic vocation, please see our guidelines below:

The Spirit of God calls many different kinds of people to monastic life! Someone who feels that God is calling her to the monastery would need:

    • to be a practising Catholic with a sincere desire to seek God;
    • an ability to live in a community, balanced by a desire for solitude and silence;
    • good physical health, psychological maturity and a sense of humour!
    • some work experience after school or college. We welcome applications from women aged 22 years and over. Our usual upper age limit is 40 years.
  • The process of discerning a vocation includes visits to the monastery, some time spent on retreat in the Abbey guest-house, and a period in the community on a “Live-in”.

Initial formation consists of at least six months’ postulancy; two years’ novitiate; and three years in temporary vows.

Through the vows of stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience, the sister renews and strengthens her consecration received in baptism, giving herself to Christ and committing herself in this particular community.

How can I find out more about Cistercian life at St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn:

Visit our vocations stories and some links that may be of interest and guidance to you. You can also find out more about our way of life by exploring our recommended reading introducing Cistercian spirituality and also find out what’s happening in Glencairn by visiting our news page and gallery.

Taking the first step

Please feel free to make contact if you would like to talk to a sister at any time about your own vocation discernment or if you simply want to come to the Abbey guesthouse and spend some time with God. I look forward to hearing from you.


Sr Sarah