The motto attributed to Saint Benedict, ‘Ora et labora’ (prayer and work), is not just a casual encouragement for the Trappists. Work is an important component of their monastic order. Thus there is service towards the community and service towards fellow human beings, in particular by receiving guests and through charitable services.
According to Saint Benedict, monks also have to be responsible for their own livelihood. And according to an old monks’ tradition, what they have left over is intended for people in need. In order to be able to do that, for a long time the Trappists have pursued traditional crafts and industrial activities. In Westmalle Abbey there is a
chees making area and - undoubtedly the most well known - a
brewery. In brief, the life of the monks is also a life of work.