Deepening Union: A Benedictine Commitment
Junior Essay Winner
Brother Boniface Hamilton, O.S.B.
There are certain qualities that are characteristic of a monastic leader. An abbey's monks, living in close proximity to one another, will recognize the candidate's caliber and potential, but they also will test those presumptions daily. The trials that accompany adherence to a monastic community, and the struggles of its cloistered life, are unremitting. Yet while these observances can be a highly subjective test, they also can allow a monk to distinguish himself early, exemplifying all the attributes that can gain the affections of his confreres and command the admiration of all.
At Belmont Abbey, Father Thomas Oestreich (1872-1943) is often mentioned as a man whose potential was recognized early. In particular, his rise in the full extent of his abbey's life--monastic, academic, pastoral, religious, scholarly--is still recognized. This paper is an assessment of what the Belmont monastery appreciated in Oestreich, qualities recognized still today