Called to be a Safe Place
In his rule for monks, St. Benedict wrote that all should be received as Christ. He did not prescribe any particular work for his monks aside from prayer and hospitality. For hundreds of years monasteries were a place of refuge and comfort for pilgrims and people in need. We try to continue that ministry of hospitality by the way we receive guests who come to visit us, by welcoming people to pray with us, and by receiving the young who come to us seeking an education to prepare them to live as a follower of Christ in this world. For all who come here, we should be a safe haven. Yet monks, like all followers of Christ, are sinners who are working with God’s grace to become saints. Sometimes our failures are small, but sometimes they are devastating and destructive. In the church as a whole and at St. Bede we have experienced the tragedy of sexual abuse of those who came here seeking Christ.
We deeply regret what has happened in the past and are committed to making St. Bede Abbey a safe place where all can experience that they are welcomed as Christ. We, like many other religious groups, have become associated with the Praesidium Group which has established standards to which we must conform in order to safeguard against any further abuse. Every 3 or 4 years the Praesidium Group visits St. Bede to verify that we are living up to their standards. Of all who would join the monastery we require a criminal background check as well as a psycho-sexual evaluation which is designed to identify any tendencies toward sexual abuse. While in formation the new members learn all of our policies and procedures which describe proper conduct and the process for dealing with any accusations or offenses. In addition, we have an annual session to review our policies and to provide continuing education about sexual abuse. God forbid there should ever be any future incidents, but if there was another instance of abuse we are committed to respond with the compassion and support which will assist the victim in recovery and healing. We are doing all we can to make St. Bede a safe haven for all who come here. Please pray that our efforts will be successful.
In the following document you can read our policies and procedures. Should you have any suggestions for improvements please don’t hesitate to contact Abbot Philip.
Click here to view the community policy about the ethical interaction with minors.