The Rule of St. Benedict was written as a guide for those living together in Christian community. It’s been used by Benedictine monks and nuns for 15 centuries, and St. Benedict is rightly regarded by the Catholic Church as the founder of Western monasticism.
The Rule is often summed up in the motto of the Benedictine Confederation — pax (peace) — and in the traditional principal of ora et labora (pray and work).
For many years, our family has been blessed to put this Rule into practice for one week each summer at Family Camp at Camp Koinonia, in rural Italy Valley, Yates County. Koinonia is a Greek word meaning "fellowship" or "community." At Koinonia, we schedule ordered time to pray and to work. And we find peace.
Our prayer is disciplined but simple — after breakfast, the family members gather in the camp chapel for morning prayer. After praying together as a community, we separate by age groups to various locations around the camp for a deeper exploration of the themes introduced in the chapel.
After the morning group sessions, we eat lunch and then it’s time for work — each family is assigned an area of the camp, with the responsibility to clean it and prepare it for the community’s use for the coming day.
After some free time for games, swimming or hiking, the community gathers for an evening meal followed by daily Mass. Each family is given a chance to plan the daily liturgy — selecting hymns, assigning liturgical ministers and preparing the chapel for our communal celebration of the Eucharist.
Families then separate to take part in a nightly family sharing, with a discussion of each person’s daily high points, low points and closest moments to God. Through our daily rhythm of prayer, work and play, our family experiences the peace of Christ.