Fulda (dpa/lhe) – In order to get to know life in monasteries for a longer period of time, religious communities and monasteries throughout Germany offer the opportunity to complete a “voluntary religious year”. Since the launch in the summer of 2019, 51 participants have taken part in the project initiated by the German Religious Superiors Conference (DOK), said Maria Stadler, coordinator of the “Volunteer Religious Year”.

“Half of the participants are between 17 and 30 years old and a quarter are between 30 and 60 years old and 60 and 75 years old.” There are currently seven graduates in Germany. Between three and twelve months, the participants between the ages of 18 and 75 experience monastic life in one of around 50 participating monasteries.

The Hessian Franciscan monastery Frauenberg in Fulda is currently hosting a participant for the second time. “Religious life is gradually becoming exotic. I see the overall project as an opportunity for monasteries and religious to open up and interested people to get to know life,” said Father Cornelius Bohl, who heads the monastery in Fulda as “Guardian” and is also the contact person for the religious year graduates acts.