Sickness and health
Before all things and above
all things care is to be had
of the sick, that they be served in very deed as Christ
Himself … Let the sick themselves remember that they
are served for honour of God and not to grieve the
brethren who serve them with unnecessary demands.
of St Benedict, ch.36] (1)
Care of sick and weak members of the
community was integral to monastic life. It was important that
the monks were fit and healthy, so that they could participate fully
activities, from celebrating the Offices in the church, to administration
and everyday daily chores to keep the abbey up and running. Care
of the sick was not simply a practicality; it was also in accordance
teaching and imitative of Christ, the healer.
the monastery was preventative and restorative. The monks were
routinely bled, in groups, as it was believed this kept
them in good health.
[Read more about bloodletting]
Any member of the community who
was sick or injured was sent to the infirmary, where he was tended
by the infirmarer and his helpers.
Those staying in the infirmary followed a less rigid way of
were permitted better foods.
[Read more about the infirmarer and the infirmary]