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233 > Page 233 of Abbey of Gethsemani / E. Carl Litsey.

THE ABBEY OF GETHSEMANI. pecially fits them for this office. They memorize the Psalms in Latin, and chant the entire Book of Psalms twice a week. Their garb is a white cassock, which in length barely escapes the ground, with a black scapular over it. Their vows are for life. The vow lay brothers, as their name indi- cates, are the working class of the order who have taken life vows. They sow, plant, reap, cut wood and perform all sorts of manual labor. Their cas- sock is brown. The oblate lay brothers' duties are identical with the vow lay brothers, the only difference being that the former are not bound, and may leave the monastery whenever they please. The entire brotherhood wear cowls, and are girt about the waist with a broad leathern belt. Their vow is poverty, obedience and silence. When they meet each other, they salute by bending the head. They cannot speak except by permission of the Superior, and when one brother knocks at the door of a room where another brother may be, a stamp of the foot is the sign for him to enter, instead of speaking. During the "Great Silence," which lasts from six in the evening till six in the morning, not a word is spoken by any. And in the cloisters eternal silence reigns, not even the Superior speaking there. When any one comes and seeks ad- mission into the order, the rule by which they live is first explained to hint. If he expresses himself willing to abide by it, a room is given him, and he becomes a postulant. At the ex- piration of two weeks he is given the dress of the order. His novitiate lasts two years. During this time he is free to leave if he should so desire. When two years are gone he takes the vows, and the world is lost. It seems strange to us of the world 233