Someone once quipped, “The English language is a work in progress. Have fun with it.” The monks at Monastery of Christ in the Desert recognize from a spiritual standpoint, we are all works in progress and language is but one aspect of that work. We are an English speaking monastery, as opposed to Italian, French, Vietnamese, or Spanish speaking monasteries throughout the world. We are an international monastery with brothers hailing from 13 countries, many for whom English is not their first language.
So, as you can imagine, communication at the monastery can at times be strained. Fortunately, many outside ESL professionals consult with us and many visit and stay with us for as short as one week and up to a month. These volunteer ESL teachers lead multiple and concurrent ESL classes designed to help monks at various English language speaking levels. Our goal at the monastery is to have monks fully participate in the work, the spiritual life, and the liturgy of the community.
And, yes, we have fun learning English, too. We joke about mispronunciations amongst ourselves and with kindly jocularity encourage our brothers to keep improving their language skills and not fall into the temptation of recidivism into comfortable language cliques of Malawians, Kenyans, Vietnamese, Mexicans, Indians, or Congolese. With joy the whole community embraces this important work, this Pentecostal verisimilitude! We thank you for helping our ESL monks when you visit the monastery and chat with them during recreation on Sundays after Mass or during work on our weekday schedule. Our goal is to share a common human language that we might glorify God through our expression in heavenly language.