Elders of the Benedictines:
A Portrait and Interview Project

Father James Jones, O.S.B., b. 1924

Father James Jones, O.S.B.Abbot James is a member of the Benedictine community at Conception Abbey in Conception, Missouri.

Q: Do you have any regrets in having chosen a monastic life?

A: About three times a day. No, not really. One thing keeps nagging at me, that I should have been in the armed forces during World War II. I made a decision to go to the seminary in 1941 as I felt God was calling me. But it I still wonder and have some regret. I remember once when I wasn't regretting being a Benedictine but I was regretting being prior. I sat down with Abbot Jerome, who was many years my junior, and said that I'd had it. I told him I'd been prior four or five years and I felt I wasn't getting anywhere and I thought I should get out. Abbot Jerome took me on a walk. He walked me up to the cemetery and said, "These are our successes. You will admit that every one of them that you knew were good men. They were faithful to the end. That's all we have to do is to keep our community together, faithful to Jesus Christ and the Father. So don't be so discouraged. Every one of these crosses is a victory." That made me feel good. They were all good guys who succeeded in life. They all had faults like you and me. They weren't cannonizable saints but they were real victories. I have no serious regret about having chosen the monastic life

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