Fourth School

sapere aude

Black Eagle Monastery

Monasterium Stoicorum. Monastery of the Stoics. Maxwell Stanisforth (1893-1985), Oxford scholar and parish priest, wrote in the introduction to his translation of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations (Penguin Classics, 1964), "...the Stoic professor was accustomed to withdraw from society and meditate in solitude...In the Stoic vocabulary one who went into retreat was an 'anchorite'; one who practiced self-discipline was an 'ascetic', those who lived apart from their fellows were 'monachi', and the place of their retreat was a 'monasterium'."

Welcome to Black Eagle Monastery, the restoration of the Stoic monasterium. We know almost nothing about the original Stoic monasteries of ancient Rome, but this lack of information is both an advantage and disadvantage. It is advantageous because we are not constrained by traditions or outmoded rules and expectations. It is more difficult for the very same reason—we don't have the comfort of traditions or expectations to guide us. We are on our own.

We will be building the monastery together. Your part will be to design your own monasterium, a monastery of one, a place in your home where there is a dedicated time and place for the pursuit of the sacred in life, your Sacred Space. You do not need to move. You do not need to quit your job and leave your family. You can, with very little effort, begin your monastic program very soon. If at any time you wish to stop, you are free to do so. You will not be making a commitment to the monastery; you will be making the commitment to yourself. It's your life, and it's your choice in how you want to live it.

To be admitted to the Fourth School, you must be a graduate of the College of Stoic Philosophers' School of Essential Studies. Then, you will take Four Tests that judge your fitness for becoming a Stoicus Monachus, a Stoic monk. When you have successfully completed the Four Tests, you will be invited to join the monachi. You will learn about methods, techniques, and results; then you will practice in your own monastery of one.

To request the Fourth School syllabus, please contact

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