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Life of Our Most Holy Father St. Benedict
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CHAPTER LXVI.

Of the porter of the Monastery.

At the gate of the Monastery, let there be stationed a wise old man, who knows how to receive and to give an answer, and whose ripeness of age will not suffer him to wander from his post. He ought to have a cell near the gate, that such as come may always find him at hand, ready to give them an answer.

As soon as any one shall knock, or a poor man cry for aid, let him presently answer: “Thanks be to God,” or invoke a blessing; and with all mildness of the fear of God, let him reply speedily in the fervour of charity. If he need help, he shall have a junior Brother with him. The Monastery ought, if possible, to be so constructed as to contain within itself all necessaries, that is, water, a mill, a garden, and a bakehouse; also that the various crafts be exercised within it, so that there be no occasion for Monks to go abroad, because it is in no wise expedient for their souls. We wish this rule to be frequently read in the Community, that no Brother may excuse himself on the score of ignorance.

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