In the medieval period, communities of monks and nuns withdrew from society to devote their lives to worshipping God. Monks and nuns were celibate, renouncing all personal possessions and some even took a vow of silence. Different orders of monks observed Christianity with varying degrees of severity. To distinguish themselves from the secular world, monks wore distinctive habits (religious clothes) -- different orders can oft be distinguished by their unique habits.
These communities oft established their monasteries in remote locations and the monks would work the land to support the monastery. Monasteries often achieved great wealth from their land. Abbots who became monastic leaders oft doubled as feudal landlords.
|Premonstratensian||Wore white and were known as the White Canons.|
|Benedectine||Wore black. Known for elaborate monasteries|
|Carthusians||Renowned for their austere monasteries.|
|Cistercians||Renowned for their austere monasteries.|
|Cluniac||Known for elaborate monasteries.|