Living the life of a monk in Nebraska

Pure Nebraska
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 2:15 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Located between corn and bean fields near Schuyler, you’ll find a monastery that offers the chance to learn more about the monastic way of life.

Father Thomas Leitner is one of the monks at the monastery. He also works at the St. Benedict Retreat Center nearby. We talked with him about the monks and the monastery.

“We are located four miles north of Schuyler,” Leitner said. “I was born and raised in Germany near Munich, and became a Benedictine monk near Frankfurt. I came here in 1997 to join the community of monks here.”

Leitner says the public is welcome at the monastery.

“One can come to join us for prayer,” Leitner said. “We pray five times a day. We have two main ministries. Our group came here originally in 1935 to raise funds for the world-wide Benedictine missionary work. To this day, through the Benedictine Missionary House, we still ask people for help for many spiritual and social projects around the world. Plus, we serve the public at the St. Benedict Retreat Center, where people come for an afternoon, or for overnight accommodations.”

When you come in the door of the monastery, you’ll notice many points of interest.

“Above the door, you see the Latin words ‘Ora Et Labora”, which means ‘pray and work’. Our life as monks is basically a rhythm of prayer, work and a couple of other activities in between. Also, you’ll see a stained-glass window that depicts St. Benedict who is called the Father of Western Monasticism. The rules he wrote for monks summarize the best of monastic wisdom.” At the monastery, you’ll also see some beautiful art on the doors to the chapel. “The doors show a lot of Biblical scenes. You’ll notice Noah’s Ark for instance.”

The monks live at the monastery.

“We have our rooms here, some also have offices and workplaces here.” The public is welcome at Christ the King Priory, and it’s a place where you can learn more about monks. “We have a new interactive display at the monastery, where people can find out fun facts. For example, can a monk watch a movie? The answer is yes. All of this can be checked out by a visit here.”