One of the persistent problems for students in the post-religious modern world is understanding the monastic movements of the middle ages -- what could motivate women and men to leave behind their families and go into unsettled areas and live in hardship and difficulty in order to perfect themselves.

Perhaps even more difficult for us to understand is that women and men still seek perfection.

Here are some links to surviving religious orders -- their own web pages -- and some links to historical documents.

Please inform me if any of these links are no longer current!

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last updated 3/30/2000 - Michael Tinkler

Monks and Nuns who live in Common

The Order of St. Benedict

The most common expression of monastic life in Western Christianity.
A general list of Benedictine and Benedictine related sites can be found here.

The Cistercians and  Trappists

Cistercians are a subset or "reform group" of the Benedictines, but they are so important in the middle ages that they need their own entry.  The Trappists are a recent reform of the Cistercians.



The Carthusians

The Carthusians have only one monastery in the U.S.A., but their numbers belie their interesting life. The webpage is especially beautiful.

The Mendicant Orders
An important new development in the vowed religious life, Mendicant Orders first arose around the year 1200.  The two most important groups still survive.

The Franciscans

The Dominicans

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