Father John Cochran is now prior of the monastic community. There are three more in residence, two as novices, one an associate. Those interested in beginning the process of determining whether they should join the community are welcome. Surrounding the resident community are the concentric circles of friends and guests. St. Augustine’s House has hosted thousands of people in conferences, retreats, and daily services over the years. Many of these become members of “The Fellowship of St. Augustine” and receive the newsletters of the community. Each summer near the 28th of August a day with prayers and a lecture is held for the members.
The community also has a smaller group of friends who take on special responsibility for the community as “associates.” Because monastic community is still being established at St. Augustine’s House, the associates play a big role in its life.Eventually a larger number of resident monks might be less obviously dependent on the associates, but the situation today provides a special opportunity for friends to have a significant role in the life of a monastic community.
Monasteries do not house only monks but also function as residences for periods from a few months to a few years for people who appreciate a time of monastic exercise in their lives. So St. Augustine’s House has been a temporary home for many people, somewhat in the pattern of the Hindu ashram. Many options in degree and length of affiliation to the community are helpful, given the changeful nature of life in the modern world.
The closest friends of the community and the house are the group of people living in the neighborhood who worship weekly at the chapel. For them the monastery becomes a special kind of parish. They do not live in the buildings or come to all the prayers of each day but visit frequently. Those of us who live too far away to be with the community so often try to get there at least once a year for some days of retreat. During such times, we can participate in the regular life of the community and draw great benefit from even a few days’ experience of it.