From Chapter 5 of the Book of Genesis, a man sets off.Enoch is his name. Yes, the Lord exists for him. Enoch walks with the Lord.

 With Abraham, something changes: the Lord speaks to him: « Leave your country, your relatives, your father’s house … » . And Abraham sets off, towards… the unknown! He becomes the friend of God.

 Later, God appears to Moses in a burning bush, « Go and see the Pharaoh in order to bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.  » An entire people then started walking through the desert. The desert signifies a spirituality developed by the prophets: « I remember the affection of your youth, the love of your engagement, you followed me into the wilderness, in the land that is not seeded … »

 Exodus, separation, solitude, silence, listening to the Word of God…

This dimension of the desert is found in the Gospel, when Jesus invites his disciples: « Come away …’

From the earliest days of the Church, the sense of God Absolute, the faith in the Gospel inspires men and women to retreat to the wilderness, and to leave everything to follow Christ. Among many others, the most famous is St. Anthony called « the Father of monks ». Some live alone, others, like Pachomius, lead their lives in a community. 

Rules of life emerge. One of them was written in the sixth century by St. Benedict in his monastery at Monte Cassino, south of Rome. It has gradually imposed itself on the entire Western monasticism as a particularly successful synthesis of the monastic tradition. Thanks to its balance and flexibility, it was followed for centuries and has trained generations of monks and nuns to the present day.