Life as a monk

The Westmalle Trappists lead a life of seclusion focused on rest and contemplation within the abbey. They divide their time between prayer, contemplation and work and follow a balanced routine every day. 

Monks sing from psalm books during the afternoon service.


Monks have a long tradition of praying at every important moment during the day and even at night. This rhythm is called the ‘Book of Hours’, when the monks pray together, using words primarily from the Psalms.

The table is laid in the abbey refectory at Westmalle.

The meal

The monks take their communal meals in the refectory. Along with the areas set aside for prayer and the chapter, this is the third space in which the whole community gathers. Eating is an important moment in the order of the day when the brothers form one large family.

A monk studies and reads in the abbey library.

Lectio Divina

For the monks the Lectio Divina constitutes an exceptional and important spiritual practice: a slow, attentive and in-depth reading of the Bible. This is how the monks absorb the Word of God and go in search of the true sense and meaning behind the words of the Scripture, which are liberating and healing.