Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/517

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monks. It is not too much to say that we to-day are indebted to the labours of the monastic copyists for the preservation, not only of the Sacred Writings, but of practically all that survives to us of the secular lit- erature of antiquity (see Manuscript; Cloister; Scriptorium).

(iii) Education. — At no one became a monk be- fore he was an adult, but very soon the custom began of receiving the young. Even infants in arms were dedicated to the monastic state by their parents (see Reg. Ben., lix) and in providing for the education of these child-monks the cloister inevitably developed into a schoolroom (see Oblati). Nor was it long be- fore the schools thus established began to include chil- dren not intended for the monastic state. Some writ- ers have maintained that this step was not taken until the time of Charlemagne, but there is sufficient indi- cation that such pupils existed at an earlier date, though the proportion of external scholars certainly increased largely at this time. The system of educa- tion followed was that known as the "Trivium" and "Quadrivium" (see Arts, The Seven Liberal), which was merely a development of that used during classical times.

The greater number of the larger monasteries in western Europe had a claustral school and not a few, of which St. Gall in Switzerland may be cited as an ex- ample, acquired a reputation which it is no exaggera- tion to call European. With the rise of the univer- sities and the spread of the mendicant orders the monastic control of education came to an end, but the schools attached to the monasteries continued, and still continue to-day, to do no insignificant amount of educational work (see Arts, The Seven Liberal; Cloister; Education; Schools).

(iv) Architecture, painting, sculpture and metal work. — Of the first hermits many lived in caves, tombs, and deserted ruins, but from the outset the monk has been forced to be a builder. We have seen that the Pachomian system required buildings of elab- orate plan and large accommodation, and the organ- ized development of monastic life did not tend to sim- plify the buildings which enshrined it. Consequent!}' skill in architecture was called for and so monastic architects were produced to meet the need in the same almost unconscious manner as were the monastic schoolmasters. During the medieval period the arts of painting, illuminating, sculpture, and goldsmiths' work were practised in the monasteries all over Europe and the output must have been simply enor- mous.

We have in the museums, churches, and elsewhere such countless examples of monastic skill in these arts that it is really difficult to realize that all this wealth of Ijeautiful things forms only a small fraction of the total of artistic creation turned out century after century by these skilful and untiring craftsmen. Yet it is cer- tainly true that what has perished by destruction, loss and decay would outweigh many times over the entire mass of medieval art work now in existence, and of this the larger portion was produced in the work- shop of the cloister (.see Architecture; Ecclesias- tical Art; Painting; Illumination; Reliquary; Shrine; Sculpture).

(v) Historical and patristic work.— As years passed by the great monastic corporations accumulated archives of the highest value for the history of the countries wherein they were situated. It was the cus- tom too in many of "the larger abbeys for an official chronicler to record the events of contemporary his- tory. In more recent times the seed thus planted bore fruit in the many great works of erudition which have won for the monks .such hinh praise from scholars of all classes. The Maunst Congregation of Bene- dictines (q. V.) which flourished in France during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was the su- preme example of this type of monastic industry, but

similar works on a less extensive scale have been un- dertaken in every country of western Europe by monks of all orders and congregations, and at the present time (1910) this output of solid scholarly work shows no signs whatever of diminution either in qual- ity or quantity.

(vi) Missionary work. — Perhaps the mission field would seem a sphere little suited for monastic ener- gies, but no idea could be more false. Mankind is proverbially imitative and so, to establish a Chris- tianity where paganism once ruled, it is necessary to present not simply a code of morals, not the mere laws and regulations, nor even the theology of the Church, but an actual pattern of Christian society. Such a "working model" is found pre-eminently in the mon- astery, and so it is the monastic order which has proved itself the apostle of the nations in western Europe.

To mention a few instances of this — Saints Co- lumba in Scotland, Augustine in England, Boniface in Germany, Ansgar in Scandinavia, Swithbert and Wil- librord in the Netherlands, Rupert and Emmeran in what is now Austria, Adalbert in Bohemia, Gall and Columban in Switzerland, were monks who, by the example of a Christian society which they and their companions displayed, led the nations among whom they lived from paganism to Christianity and civiliza- tion. Nor did the monastic apostles stop at this point but, by remaining as a community and training their converts in the arts of peace, they established a society based on Gospel principles and firm with the stability of the Christian faith, in a way that no indi- vidual missionary, even the most devoted and saintly, has ever succeeded in doing.

It must be clearly understood however, that mo- nasticism has never become stereotyped in practice, and that it would be quite false to hold up any single example as a supreme and perfect model. Monasti- cism is a living thing and consequently it must be informed with a principle of self motion and adaptabil- ity to its environment. Only one thing must al- ways remain the same and that is the motive power which brought it into existence and has maintained it throughout the centuries, viz., the love of God and the desire to serve Him as perfectly as this life permits, leaving all things to follow after Christ.

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