Monastic Life in India
History and Purpose of Indo-Sri Lankan Benedictine Federation (ISBF)
• The Indo-Sri Lankan Benedictine Federation was set up as a result of the Bangkok Congress of 1968. This was organized by AIM for the purpose of discussing monasticism in Asia. It was formally constituted on 28th November 1969 at Asirvanam Monastery, Bangalore by its original three members – Shantivanam, Asirvanam Monastery and Shanti Nilayam Abbey. It has continued to develop since then.
• Gradually more Benedictine communities ia joined. At the request of the Benedictine monasteries in Sri Lanka, the Indian Benedictine Federation was expanded to include them. It was accordingly renamed ‘Indo-Sri Lankan Benedictine Federation’ (ISBF) in 1995. This expansion brought the Bangkok Congress’ original idea of an Indo-Sri Lankan Benedictine federation to fruition.
• Its fundamental purpose is to serve as a lin the monasteries so as to ensure close collaboration among them, thus fostering the growth of Christian monasticism in India and Sri Lanka. It also represents its members’ interest to ecclesiastical, religious and civil authorities.
• The original 3 member monaster ave now expanded to a total of 71. There are 21 houses for monks, 37 houses for nuns/sisters and 1 house for Cistercians in India and 6 houses for monks and 6 houses for nuns/sisters in Sri Lanka. These houses come under 14 Benedictine Congregations and one Cistercian Congregation in India and 4 Benedictine Congregations in Sri Lanka. (See the attached list)
• The first efforts at inter-religious dialogues have proved fruitful and have led to the establishment of DIM in India.
• Make our Benedictine identity felt in our multi-religious Countries.
• Hope to deepen our commitment and Benedictine life amidst the development.
• India is a country where the Benedictine way of life can be lived very meaningfully, leading men and women to a great sense of fulfilment in life. But this requires that the main elements of monastic life laid down by the Rule should be taken seriously – serious prayer, hard work and intense study.