Page last updated at 04:03 GMT, Saturday, 20 February 2010

Austrian monastery offers weekend visits

By Bethany Bell
BBC News, Vienna

Cross and candle
Worship with monks is included in the weekend visit

A monastery near Vienna, Austria is offering men the chance to be a monk for a weekend.

Franciscans from Maria Enzersdorf, site of a monastery since the 15th Century, are opening their doors as they need recruits.

During the weekend they will have the chance to work and pray with the monks.

The Franciscans say they want to provide people with a realistic impression of life as a monk, and are accepting men up to the age of 40.

The scheme, which is free, started in October last year and since then, the chaplain says, three people are now considering becoming monks.

And it is not just for men - an order of Franciscan nuns is also offering weekend introductions to the sisterhood.

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