We see being a volunteer as a privileged time to give a year of one’s life in service to the Church. Here at Tautra Mariakloster, this service is especially to participate in our liturgy—since our life as Cistercians is a life of prayer—and partly practical work. To what degree you want to participate in our liturgy can be discussed with our prioress. If desired, the volunteer may receive spiritual direction. Your service is unpaid, but you receive full room and board, plus 1000 kroner a month in pocket money. The practical work is 23 hours a week. This may include house chores, soap work, outside work, cashier at our store, maintenance or whatever is needed. Regular work hours are 9.30-12.00 and 2.30-4.30 pm. If you are a driver, you may be asked to pick up guests at other hours. You will have every Sunday off, and two afternoons or one whole weekday off. Your day off may be adjusted according to the solemnities celebrated in the monastery. If you are here for a year, you may take two weeks off at Christmas and two weeks at Easter.
Normally the volunteer service is from a few months to one year. The first month is considered a mutual trial period, and after that, two weeks’ notice is required by either side to terminate the contract.
You will live in a room in one of the houses that are also used by retreatants. You will need to be considerate about silence and neatness in the house. Our life of prayer demands a certain amount of quiet, so we work in silence, that is, without mere chatting. This is to allow one another the space for continual prayer. You should be comfortable with silence, and able to work alone as well as with others. You will eat the midday meal in the guest refectory, and make your own breakfast and supper in the house where you live.
Our island is small, situated in the middle of the Trondheim fjord, a beautiful, peaceful place. Love of nature seems to grow for everybody who comes here. We live on the shore, so bring your swimsuit! Tautra has a large bird sanctuary, a café, an art gallery, a souvenir shop, and the ruins of our monastery from 1537. The island is connected to the mainland. It is about 6 miles to the center of town, an hour to the nearest city, and an hour and a half to Trondheim.
We are, at the moment, seven professed nuns andtwo novices in the household. We moved into the new monastery in July, 2006. Six of the nuns are from the USA, one is Norwegian, and our chaplain is Irish. It is not necessary for you to learn Norwegian, but certainly an advantage if you know both English and Norwegian.
We believe volunteer service can be a rich experience for you and a deepening in your life of faith. If you are still interested after having read this, we will be happy to receive your application: Your CV and some lines about why you would like to come here, your age, your family background, education and work experience, religion, and if you have experience in parish work or other volunteer work. Please give your phone number, and let us know what time (your time) it is possible to reach you on the phone. We would also appreciate it if you would give us some references to people who know you from work or school or church. If you are not attracted to volunteer service, you are still always welcome to make a retreat here.