About the Hawaii Benedictines
"Listen carefully...to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart...See how the Lord in his love shows us the way of life."
-Prologue to the Rule of St. Benedict
As Benedictines we are a part of the oldest religious order in the Catholic Church. Our way of life has been followed for nearly 1500 years and is based on Holy Scripture, particularly the Gospels, and the Rule of St. Benedict. Our monastic schedule centers around the praise and worship of God in the celebration of the Eucharist and in the recitation of the Psalms three times a day. Individual prayer and spiritual reading foster intimacy with the Lord Jesus.
Every monk is motivated by a single goal: Union with Christ. Typically, each Benedictine monastery has its own distinctive characteristics. The Hawaii Benedictines form an integrated community of both women and men. We give emphasis to Life in the Spirit; thus we gratefully accept the activity and gifts (charisms) of the Holy Spirit which Jesus promised to his disciples. Our community also fosters a special love for Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. Daily we pray the rosary together.
We are a passionate, joyful fellowship of monks, oblates, and volunteers who strive to “listen with the ear of our hearts” in order to both “choose the better part” like Mary by sitting at the feet of Jesus and to “go and make disciples of all nations” like the Apostles within the vibrant multicultural community of the Hawaiian Islands. If you are seeking peace, healing, inspiration, or guidance we invite you to come on retreat. If Christ is calling you to pursue a vocation to religious life within a monastic community that is both contemplative and active, then we welcome you to come visit our ohana (family).
“This message of mine is for you, then, if you are ready to give up your own will, once and for all, and armed with the strong and noble weapons of obedience to do battle for the true King, Christ the Lord.”
-The Rule of St. Benedict
The Benedictine sisters and brothers of Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit Monastery desire to respond daily to Our Lord’s invitation to live an abundant life. With the Gospel as our guide we profess to live in these times the values of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We willingly embrace the monastic way of life seeking to open ourselves to God who is always seeking us. The source and foundation of authenticity in a Benedictine monastery is the Holy Spirit. In all things the members strive for fidelity to the Church. Inspired by the Gospel, the Rule of St. Benedict, centuries of Benedictine tradition—and yet attentive to the changing conditions of the times—our monastic way of life serves as a witness to the reality of God’s presence among all people.
We are a monastic community of celibate men and women, invited by God, touched by his love, and prompted by the Holy Spirit to seek union with Jesus. Professing conversion of life, stability, obedience, celibacy, and poverty, we seek to liberate ourselves through these vows to follow Christ along the narrow way that leads to eternal life. Through a balanced rhythm of prayer, work, leisure, and study, our way of life promotes an environment conducive to the well-being of persons, the building of relationships, and service to others.
With Mary, patroness of the monastery, as Mother and guide, we desire to give our “Yes” to Jesus. She brought forth Jesus, giving God flesh through her faith. Following her example, we give our “Yes” to God and abandon ourselves to the Holy Spirit so that Jesus may take flesh in our lives. In this school of the Lord’s service, following the Benedictine Rule, we are enabled to run along the way with hearts enlarged by love, so that, united with Christ, we can say with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Charism and Mission
We live a life of both prayer and action. Our goal is to promote authentic peace—God’s peace—within every person. Our mission is to spread the light of Christ and to minister to the spiritual needs of the people of the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu and to all the people of Hawaii. All are invited to share in the monastery’s daily life of prayer and work, including: chanting the Divine Office, celebrating daily Mass, praying the Rosary, adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, meditation, spiritual reading, and the work of cooking, cleaning, maintenance, and taking care of the beautiful grounds.
In our outreach we desire to keep our hearts open to the many needs of the people of Hawaii. All visitors are welcomed like Christ and every guest receives the blessing of prayer. Spiritual direction, day retreats for groups and overnight retreats for individuals, days of reflection, formation of oblates in Benedictine spirituality, and healing prayer are provided at the monastery. We have seen the power of prayer, witnessing its effects in promoting healing and wholeness in individuals and families. We are committed to prayer for all the people of these islands and the world.
Members of the monastic community also minister outside the monastery in various apostolates. In addition to offering a year-long series of classes in Benedictine spirituality in preparation for becoming an oblate, the monastery also has a longtime association with the Basic Christian Community of Hawaii. The Benedictines also participate in Hawaii’s Catholic charismatic movement, pro-life ministries, youth and young adult ministries, spiritual direction, healing and deliverance ministries, and ministry to those suffering from economic and social inequality. The priests also occasionally assist local parishes in celebrating Mass and the Sacraments.
The origins of Hawaii’s Benedictine community go back to September 1983 when Abbot David Geraets of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Pecos, New Mexico, asked Benedictine Father Michael Sawyer to respond to the invitation of the Bishop of Honolulu to begin a new foundation. The Pecos community consisted of both men and women monastics who embraced the Catholic charismatic movement. By February 1984, four members from the Pecos motherhouse joined Father Sawyer in a temporary house on Waialae Iki Ridge from which they began offering parish missions and retreats, and accepted their first oblates. In 1987, Father Sawyer relocated the monastery to the present property on 67 acres overlooking Waialua with a grand view of rolling hills and the blue Pacific on Oahu’s North Shore. The community has since added other facilities including a seven-sided pavilion which houses the chapel, a conference and dining room, a kitchen, and a bookstore. For many years the monastery was under the Benedictine sponsorship of the Congregation of St. Mary of Monte Oliveto. This association continued until December of 2012, at which time the Olivetans decided to consolidate their monasteries in the United States and to close the monastery in Hawaii. This decision prompted Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit Monastery to leave the Olivetan Congregation and to pursue its present canonical status as a Catholic Public Association of the Faithful in the Diocese of Honolulu.