Cloistered Life is nothing new within the Catholic faith. In fact, cloistered life is both a blessing to those who have chosen religious life, and the community at large. Cloister comes from a Latin word, clausura, meaning “to shut up.” In a sense, one is “shut up” within a cloister, but cloisters are a way for religious brothers and sisters to find solitude to pray, work and make sacrifices for the good of the Church and the world. 

There are three types of cloisters. A papal cloister, the strictest form, means the cloistered monk or nun does not leave the monastery, only under a few exceptions. They remain in their religious community for life. A constitutional cloister is less strict, and varies. Orders that fall under the category of a constitutional cloister would be those orders that are contemplative but involved in some sort of apostolic or charitable work that would necessitate more flexibility and freedom to leave the cloister.” A monastic cloister is similar to a constitutional cloister, but “guests may even be invited to stay at the monastery, and interaction with visitors is much more free and open as compared to the papal cloister.” 

At Daylesford Abbey, we are among the Norbertine order. The Norbertines are a constitutional cloister. We live together “in communio” (in communion with Christ). 

In our way of cloistered life, we use prayer to help others, and provide an “oasis of peace” to those in our church community. While it may seem like we are retreating from the world in cloistered life, the contrary is true. Living this way at Daylesford Abbey allows us to completely devote ourselves to prayer and sacrifice for the Church and the world. We offer mass to the community each day, as well as retreats and spiritual direction. Daylesford Abbey is not shut off from the world, but rather, opening our arms wide to help those in need.If you find you are interested in living the Norbertine way of life, please contact Abbot Domenic A. Rossi for further information at or call 610-647-2530 about becoming a Catholic priest.