Members of male monastic orders are called monks, and their vocation is to be the praying, beating heart of the Church at its centre. Their vocation is praying for the world from within the walls of their monastery, but some communities allow members to leave their monastery for periods of the day in order to serve the community. Monastic communities usually carry out industrial work such as producing liturgical products, and consumable goods, and religious artwork, amongst other trades.

Unlike some female monastic communities, most monks are not bound by strict enclosure. Ordained members of a community may often be required to celebrate Mass or administer the Sacraments in the local area. However, the monastery cloister is treasured as a place separate to the world, in which the monk can detach himself from worldly attachments and completely humble himself to God's will.

Monastic communities follow, and are defined by, a specific Rule, such as the Benedictines, who follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. Unlike apostolic orders, which can be much more varied and have broken off into many new sub-orders over time, most monastic orders still follow ways of life that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. 

The following video, produced by the Benedictine monks of Marmion Abbey (Illinois, U.S.) gives a key insight into the spirituality of monastic life.

Monastic Brothers in the UK

Click on the title of an monastic Order to go to their website.