“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” – John 17:21

Sponsored by The Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross, Common Observance

A message from the Archbishop Oscar Joseph, OCCO

People of prayer have always been the spiritual fiber holding together the Christian Church. Heresies have torn, burned, and bloodied it’s fabric but have never destroyed the faith imprinted with the image of Christ. The old heresies remain. They wear the new faces of narcissistic pantheism, secular humanism, modernity and so on. In our time the Church has suffered from the pervasive evil of false doctrine, pride, and division. Yet with God‘s grace the Christian Church continues limping along. We are pleased to sponsor The Global Fraternity for Christian Unity whose purpose is to pray and work (Ora et Labora) so: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” John 17:21

General information
The purpose of the Fraternity is to provide a venue of encouragement for continued spiritual formation of individuals and groups invested in the discipline of prayer (e.g. supplications, intercessions, praises, healings, confessions, and contemplation). The Fraternity offers fellowship to encourage corporate, as well as individual prayer. An advantage of covenantal prayer lives is the coverage provided to the Church and spiritual leaders for defense, strength, and boldness to demonstrate Christ’s love to others. The Fraternity provides an avenue to develop strength to transform souls through example, instruction, and accountability. We grow our discipline of prayer by following the example of another praying. We are able to provide and receive instruction on various forms of focused prayer, bringing us into deeper communion with God. We are encouraged to develop personal prayer lives through our covenant with one another for prayer. The broader society benefits from church families who are strengthened and blessed by the intercessions of devoted Fraternal Prayer Warriors. Our faith is deepened by our devotion to prayer.
  1. To seek our personal perfection through prayer and work, (Ora et Labora)
  2. To pray for unity amongst all Christians
  3. To prayerfully intercede for those in need and for peace in the world
  4. To perform works of charity, pastoral ministry, and mission work with other Christians including other Christian churches and organizations.

We will accomplish our purposes by creating a global network of likeminded Christians who are self-reflective, who are repentant of their own sinfulness, and who wish to work with other Christians for unity through personal and corporate prayer and collegial efforts to work together for building up the Body of Christ. Each member will observe and support with warm interest and prayers the plans, work and endeavors of each other: “In necessaries unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.” (In necessary things unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity).
We applaud and support other Christian Unity Movements. We believe that The Global Fraternity for Christian Unity offers a unique perspective in that it is sponsored by a Contemplative Religious Order and promotes the Rule of Saint Benedict. This gives us a real opportunity to offer to a grass roots membership a balanced focus on God, prayer, and good works. We do this together as we are instructed by Holy Scripture and the Rule of St. Benedict. Personal and corporate spiritual growth goes hand in hand. The Global Fraternity for Christian Unity offers educational and social networking opportunities to its members for this purpose. It is our sincerest hope that going before our Good Lord together in prayer He might grace us all to love each other as He loves us.
The Fraternity is hosted by The Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross. The Order sponsors The Fraternity by offering structure for its operations. However, members of the Fraternity are not expected to pursue religious vows as monks. Fraternity members benefit from the Benedictine spirituality of the vowed religious who are available to mentor, lead retreats and workshops regarding prayer, study, work, and community. Fraternity members are like minded individuals, groups, churches, monasteries, oblate groups, Bible study groups, etc. from all jurisdictions and denominations whether it be Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox or Protestant. Membership does not require each member to accept all doctrinal teachings, sacramental devotions, or liturgical practices characteristic of each other, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the essentials of the historic Christian Faith.
The Cistercian Order is sponsoring The Global Fraternity because The Rule of St. Benedict is the most foundational piece of monastic spirituality in the Western world. The Rule (as it is usually called) is about community living—a day-to-day basic guide originally written for Christian men who wanted to be monks, telling them what to do, how to be Christ-followers in that unique way, and how to get along with each other. Today, people who are committed to monastic values of all kinds turn to the Rule—both lay people and members of vowed religious orders, Catholics as well as Protestants. The Rule of St. Benedict is not only the basic guide for living for monks of various orders (Benedictine, Cistercian, etc.), but is also the inspiration for today’s neo-monastic movements in cities around the world. It establishes a way of life rooted in the Gospel and grounded in the scriptural principles of charity, humility, stability, and faithfulness. The Rule sets forth an outline for Christian discipleship drawn from the heart of Jesus’ ministry—the call to follow Christ, to be transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit, and to become living witnesses to the grace of God in the world. Every aspect of Benedictine spirituality flows from it.
Benedictine spirituality is practical and profound. The Rule of St. Benedict has often been referred to as a compendium of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Benedictine/Cistercian spirituality general overview

  • Preferring nothing to the love of Christ
  • Joyfully accepting the blessing of obedience, practicing fraternal charity, progressing in the conversion of life and the practice of humility
  • Greater places of silence, peace, brotherhood, and ecumenical sensitivity
  • Authentic religious perfection
  • Witnesses of the theological virtue of hope
  • The experience of God and the Benedictine approach to prayer
  • The search for God
  • Obsculta –“listen with the ears of your heart”. We listen, trusting that God is there and that God will speak.
  • Burning passion for God, discipline and discipleship
  • Spirit of hospitality
  • The luminous figure of St Benedict stands in our midst, pointing always to Christ.
  • Contemplative silence
  • Devotion to Mary to whom the Cistercian Order is consecrated
  • Faithfulness to our way of life as we live in charity and courage

We pray to dispose ourselves to God. “Here I am Lord.” We pray to open our hearts and minds to be challenged and changed by God and neighbor. Benedictine/Cistercian spirituality is humane: St. Benedict knew that the regeneration of the individual generally is not to be reached by the path of solitude, nor by that of austerity, but by the beaten path of man’s social instinct, with its necessary conditions of obedience and work, and that neither the body nor the mind can be safely overstrained in the effort to avoid evil. When one has imbued oneself in prayer, silence and solitude, it becomes almost impossible to believe that life’s journey ends at the grave.  Following Christ in community life becomes a school of the Lord’s service and a training ground for brotherly love.

The Fraternity’s income is derived from voluntary donations. Members may give their tax deductible donations through the donation portal found on the Cistercian website US dollars only please. The web address for the donation portal is www.CistercianMonks.org.  Donations will pay for expenses only not for any personal gain. There are no required membership fees or any other costs.
The Fraternity for Christian Unity is sponsored by the Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross, Common Observance headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC and is under the auspices of His Excellency The Most Rev. Lord Abbot General the Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross, Common Observance. The Unity Resource Leaders are appointed and responsible for the advancement of the Fraternity for Christian Unity and assistance to its membership in their area. The Unity Group Leaders form and lead local groups, social media groups etc. The primary function of leadership is to lead and encourage the membership to advance the Fraternity’s purposes and goals. This is not a political movement.  Membership in the Fraternity does not express or imply approval by, or acceptance into, any jurisdiction, church or religious order.
Applying for membership is easy. Simply go to our Facebook page and ask to be a member.

Educational information to aid in Christian Unity
  1. Written Examination of Conscience
  2. Four Reflections on Ten Commandments
  3. Why do bad things happen to good people?
  4. Perfectionism
  5. Guilt and Shame
  6. Receiving forgiveness from God
  7. Importance of having a Rule of Life
  8. Be not Afraid
  9. Getting Angry
  10. “I want my mate to be my best friend.”
  11. Listening Beyond 101
  12. Penitential Readings
  13. Prayer of Sorrow for Sin
  14. Rule of Life, Aids for the Beginner
  15. Spiritual Laws 101
  16. Sure fire ways to ruin your marriage
  17. Videos called “30 Seconds of Wisdom”. Caution: You might think that Abbot Oscar Joseph, OCCO is a bit craze if you watch these but watch and listen carefully there is a great deal of wisdom bestowed in 30 seconds.
  18. Revd. Br. Brendan, OCCO has produced a contemplation/teaching on being cool
  19. Video evidence that contemplatives are down to earth real people. Revd. Br. Brendan, OCCO describes a part of one of retreat. Please know it is only a part albeit a lively part. If you want to be convinced that monks in the Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross are real people just like you – here is the proof.

  1.  How to Develop a Life of Prayer
  2. How to Pray Lectio Divina
  3. Two Wonderful Lectio Divinas
  4. Pray for the Cistercian Order
  5. Ongoing Life of Prayer
  6. Video on Contemplation: Fr. Dan Nobles, OSB, has created a wonderful video on Contemplation which you can use every day if you like. Fr. Dan is certified NOT crazy.

Support Contacts

This is a list of our leaders. You are welcome to contact them by email. Each contact has a specific role.

The Unity Resource Leaders are appointed and responsible for the advancement of the Fraternity for Christian Unity and assistance to its membership in their area. This position is a resource for spiritual direction, help with personal prayer and encouragement on personal growth and playing well with others. You may email them.

Outside the USA

The Unity Group Leaders form and lead local groups, social media groups etc. The persons in this position are actually doing works with various Christian groups. You can email them to participate in their groups or get encouragement on starting your own.

Outside the USA