Total institutions are by definition totalitarian, but not necessarily authoritarian. Voluntary total institutions consist of members who have chosen to enter, but what opportunities do they have to leave? This article addresses opportunities for exit and voice in Catholic monasteries within the Cistercian Order of Strict Observance. Monasteries have institutionalized important democratic processes regarding membership and leadership. Members are involved in decision-making through community bodies and discussions, but in many practical concerns, superiors may wrest control by neglecting to ask the community for alternative opinions. The superior’s decision-making style therefore crucially affects the range of democratic decision-making in individual monastic communities. Complete exits are common during the initial entry process. The cost of leaving is higher for full members, and the internal exit option to other monastic communities in the Order is therefore of great importance. It means that monastic communities cease to operate as monopolies.