He publishes four to five books a year, sold all over the world. Yet nothing predestined this German Benedictine monk, who had been in seclusion for forty-four years, to communicate so much. The strength of his message: knowing how to bind faith and psychology, depth and personal development. Exceptionally, this "healer of souls" welcomed us in his Bavarian abbeyPascale Senk and Christiane Lanfranchi-Veyret
What, in your career, explains your immense interest for psychology?
Until the age of 24 it was rather the philosophy that interested me, including Heidegger, Sartre ... but in 1968, we went through a period of existential crisis in the abbey. The rituals were as empty of their senses, everything seemed old-fashioned. I myself was going through an emotional crisis. I wondered about these studies, this intellectual path that was imposed on me. I had to show willingness, rationality while I was caught in a special friendship with a woman. That's why I'm interested in group dynamics, and the links between psychology and spirituality, especially Jung. Then I heard about Graf Durckheim and went for a series of three-week stays in his Black Forest center. It was practiced meditation, artistic activities and physical exercises, relaxation ...
In hindsight, was this monk's life simpler or more difficult than you imagined when you entered the orders? ?
I became a monk with the intention of helping the coming of the kingdom of God. At the beginning of course I was afraid to live in a closed world but it was not presented at all as my fears could have implied I realized at the end of my crisis, that the monastic way helped me to find a balance between loneliness and community life, prayer and work ... in this sense, the monastic life helped me to stay in life. And then, thanks to the psychological support that I do, I have a lot of contact with the outside world. I had not imagined that I would receive so many invitations and that the need for help would be so great.
If you are told "monk-therapist", do you accept it?
I define myself as "Seelsorger" in German, the one who takes care of the soul. I am someone who cares for the soul, but who knows more in psychology At first I started with young people in difficulty, then we welcomed visitors from outside who came here to seek support. In the abbey, there is also the "Recollectio Haus", which receives for three months stays priests and nuns in crisis.As a spiritual accompanist, I work with lay psychotherapists, two men and a woman trained in different schools (humanistic psychology, gestalt, behavioral) I also have a supervisor for me, every 6 weeks.