What is a monastic order? Vocation Network summarises it really well –
“SINCE THE CALL of the first disciples, some followers of Jesus have sought a different way to live their faith. In the early church groups of widows gathered to dedicate themselves to prayer and good works. Others craved solitary prayer, so they fled to the desert to commune with God and guide others in the pursuit of holiness. Monasteries, cloisters, and religious houses eventually came into being, and religious life as we know it began to take shape.
Consecrated life—in its diverse expressions around the globe—is a gift to the church and world. Its prayer lifts the entire church. Likewise, good works and the pursuit of justice shape society to more closely resemble the reign of God. A life of chastity, poverty, and obedience gives powerful witness to faith in Jesus without a word being uttered.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, religious communities of men and women rise up, serve a purpose, thrive, and live on or come to an end. This ebb and flow has occurred for 2,000 years and will continue for millennia to come as new members around the world take vows and join their lives to communities to live out the gospel in radical ways.”
Christianity first came to Celtic Britain in the 2nd century during the Roman occupation, probably through individual converts in the army. But only developed its distinctive elements
after the Romans withdrew from Britain. Roman Christianity tended to be authoritarian, hierarchical, male dominated, rational, legalistic, with a need for control and uniformity and an approach to governance rooted in the Roman Empire. The Celtic church however, recognised the sacredness of all creation, enjoyed mysticism and poetry, deeply respected the feminine, including women in its leadership and allowed clerical marriages.
If you are a history buff then here are some links that summarise the development of Monasticism
This can all feel a bit heavy but we are not looking to be ascetics! Disciplined maybe, but valuing the spirit, soul and body equally, hopefully providing a helpful framework for living in the fullness of life that Jesus gives us.