The history of the Cistercian monks and their search for new recruits.

The Cistercian Monks have published a recruitment booklet to attract novices and to inform the public about their religious order. Cistercian Nivard Kinsella who published the booklet tells RTÉ News about the life of a monk and the future of the order.

The Cistercians have been in Ireland for over 700 years. They arrived in 1142 and founded Mellifont Abbey near Drogheda. By the end of the 12th century they had spread throughout Ireland and had founded 40 abbeys for men. 

They were the first Irish men to sleep upstairs. They ran their own shipping line. They were so rich, they helped run the crusades. And by the reformation, they owned a million acres of Ireland.

However with the suppression of the religious houses, they lost everything and never really gained that level of influence again. Now there are just five Cistercian monasteries in Ireland for men and one for women, housing 220 monks and 40 nuns. They have 20 novices. 

It is hoped that the publication of 'Why Monasteries?' will encourage more vocations and educate people about monks and the work of the Cistercians. Nivard Kinsella believes that there is a myth that monks are different from other men, a myth which he hopes to dispel through the publication.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 26 February 1986. The reporter is Kieron Wood.