From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Webster's Dictionary [1]

(n.) The system and influences of a monastic life; monasticism.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [2]


s an institution in which individuals devote themselves, apart from others, to the cultivation of spiritual contemplation and religious duties, and which has constituted a marked feature in Pre-Christian Jewish asceticism, and in Buddhism as well as in Christianity; in the Church it developed from the practice of living in solitude in the 2nd century, and received its distinctive note when the vow of obedience to a superior was added to the hermit's personal vows of poverty and chastity; the movement of St. Benedict in the 6th century stamped its permanent form on Western Monasticism, and that of St. Francis in the 12th gave it a more comprehensive range, entrusting the care of the poor, the sick, the ignorant, &c., to the hitherto self-centred monks and nuns; during the Middle Ages the monasteries were centres of learning, and their work in copying and preserving both sacred and secular literature has been invaluable; English Monachism was swept away at the Reformation; in France at the Revolution; and later in Spain, Portugal, and Italy it has been suppressed; brotherhoods and sisterhoods have sprung up in the Protestant churches of Germany and England, but in all of them the vows taken are revocable.