“It is the chariot of Aminadab, that is of a willing people, of the voluntary poor of Christ. It has two sides: one of men, another of women; four wheels, two of men clerk and lay, and two of women lettered and unlettered. Two oxen draw the chariot, the clerkly and monastic discipline of the blessed Augustine and the holy Benedict. Father Gilbert guides the chariot over places rough and smooth, over the heights and in the depths. The way by which they go is narrow, but the path is eternal life.”
How we’re organised
Historically Gilbertine’s were somewhat unusual in that they were begun as a double house — Gilbertine Monasteries included both men and women under the leadership of a single Magister. While this organisational structure is no longer possible within the Roman Catholic Church, our Gilbertine family continues to include both men and women: Gilbertine Sisters who are to form the backbone of our wider ministry of prayer and contemplation, the Brothers and Canons Regular who are in service to a particular neighbourhood and parish, and our Companions — who come from a variety of walks of life to support the work of our communities through prayer, freewill offerings, and other community activities.
Our members conform to the Augustinian Rule but retain and study the Benedictine Rule as a source of spiritual wisdom. Our Canons Regular are to profess, in the presence of their Magister and Prior and the gathered community, after a noviciate of at least one year, vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. We come together regularly for public prayer, Chapter meetings and, when we are further established, for a Great Chapter on the Minor Rogation Days before the celebration of the Ascension.
Our Gilbertine charism includes daily prayer (Divine Office) and contemplation as well as service to a specific parish and neighbourhood. Members live a life of simplicity and may be employed in a variety of roles in the community. Goods are held in common and are distributed as according to need.
FR. ROBERT-CHARLES BENGRY
Father Robert-Charles Bengry GSmp, the Parish Priest at St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, shepherds our Gilbertine community currently taking shape within the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.
Fr. Robert-Charles was born and raised on the Canadian prairie but has lived and served in British Columbia and Manitoba as well. Father earned a Bachelor of Design, Diploma of Christian Studies and Master of Divinity in Vancouver and served a three-point rural parish in the Anglican Diocese of Brandon for seven years. He became a Benedictine in 2006 and, since his Confirmation as a Roman Catholic, has been actively establishing a modest Gilbertine restoration.
Father Robert-Charles took the Religious and Confirmation name “Charles” after St. Charles Borromeo who was known for his reforming efforts; Robert, his given name, recalls his other personal patron St. Robert Bellarmine.