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This website is intended to help meet the needs of the Conversi community. Membership in Conversi is open to Christian men and women who feel a calling to a contemplative lifestyle in the world and who wish to model that lifestyle on values and practices evident in Cistercian monasteries.

The Conversi on-line community is intended for people who feel an calling to a contemplative and Cistercian lifestyle, but who are unable, because of distance or time, to participate in existing associate programs. The Conversi community is associated with New Melleray Abbey and Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, both near Dubuque, Iowa.

To meet the on-going needs of the Conversi on-line community, we must restrict membership to 30 individuals at this time.

The conversi were the historical antecedents of the Cistercian Lay Brothers. The term was originally applied to those who voluntarily renounced the world and entered a religious order to do penance and to lead a life of greater perfection. The renouncing of the world was known as the conversio a saeculo, which had as its object a reform or change of life, the conversio morum, hence conversi or the "converted".

Today more and more lay persons feel a strong attraction to Cistercian monasteries and to the spiritual values and practices they find there. Like the conversi of old, they too are interested in living the Cistercian charism; unlike the conversi of old, they seek to live this lifestyle in the world.

Benedictine Values

  • Awareness of God - To look for God in the Ordinary events of each day.
  • Community Living - To become who we are by our relationships with others.
  • Dignity of work - To appreciate the dignity of work in God's creation.
  • Hospitality - To offer warmth, acceptance, and joy in welcoming others.
  • Justice - To work toward a just order in our immediate environment and in the larger society.
  • Listening - To hear keenly and sensitively the voices of persons and all created beings.
  • Moderation - To be content with living simply and finding balance in work, prayer, and leisure.
  • Peace - To strive for peace on all levels: with self, others, and God.
  • Respect for persons - To respect each person regardless of class, cultural background, or professional skill.
  • Stablility - To cultivate rootedness and a shared sense of mission.
  • Stewardship - To appreciate and to care lovingly for all the goods of this place.

compiled by the Sisters of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota