St. Willibrord Priory

An Old-Catholic Community 

The Spirituality of the Order

The Order of St. Willibrord is a religious order for clergy and laity who wish to commit themselves more deeply to Christ and the Church through the promise of obedience in which one’s secular life is commingled with the religious life of the Order. As such, membership in the Order is directed toward the glory of God through the sanctification of one’s whole life under the Rule of St. Benedict.

As our Constitution states, in Title I, article 2: "The purpose of the Order is the promotion of the glory of God through the sanctification of its members and the promotion of the Christian faith and culture through education...The members of the Order are dedicated to a life of contemplation, study and teaching, which expresses the spiritual, intellectual and apostolic life of the Order."

The Promise of Obedience

In fact, unlike most religious orders in the Church, the Order of St. Willibrord has three classes of membership acknowledging the ontological and spiritual aspiration for God within various life callings. Thus, the Order understands Christian perfection is open to all of us, ordained and non-ordained, married or celibate. Further, the Order of St. Willibrord does not make a canonical distinction between conventual and so-called "secular" oblates. Aside from Associates, all of the members of the Order are bound together by their promise of obedience, where even those "living in the world" are full members of the Order. 

In fact, it is through our obedience that we enter into the religious life of the Order. As our spiritual father, St. Benedict writes in his Rule, “The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all. Because of the holy service they have professed, or because of dread of hell and for the glory of everlasting life, they carry out the superior’s order as promptly as if the command came from God himself. The Lord says of men like this: No sooner did he hear than he obeyed me (Psalm 17 [18]:45); again, he tells teachers: Whoever listens to you, listens to me (Luke 10:16).” 

Contemplation, Study and Teaching

Inspired by the Benedictine tradition and the life of St. Willibrord himself, the spirituality of the Order is founded upon a life of contemplation, study and teaching. Our Constitution states, in Title II, article 7, " As such, the members of the Order should strive to integrate the Benedictine ideal of “ora et labora” (prayer and work) into their spirituality and way of life." Thus, as “active contemplatives,” the apostolic life of the Order in teaching requires a life of prayer and scholarship. As a community of scholars, the spirituality of the Order aspires to the contemplation of God as well as the intellectual engagement with the modern world.

Moreover, the three classes of the Order also reflect St. Willibrord's own life, from living in the world, to becoming an oblate, to ordained ministry in the monastic life he chose as a Benedictine.