The American Monastic Newsletter

Volume 30, Nr. 3, October 2000             Richardton, ND 58652

ABA Business Meeting Held

The biennial meeting of the members of the American Benedictine Academy takes place at the convention. In addition, several special interest groups from within the organization met during the convention. They offered reports on their discussions as part of the business meeting. Other committees also gave reports of their activities during the previous two years.

Visual Arts

All of the visual arts projects were quite "visible" at the convention. 11" x 18" enlargements of photos taken by Father Michael Komechak at the 1998 convention were posted on bulletin boards around the dining hall. The convention opened with a slide presentation illustrating the theme "The Good News of Monastic Life" with slides from 42 monasteries. An art show was mounted in the St. Meinrad library featuring art from eighteen artists. Father Michael Komechak will be the chairperson for this section.

Sister Emmanuel Pieper, OSB
Covington, KY

Internet Technology

Brother Richard Oliver, OSB, convoked the inaugural meeting of the Benedictine Internet Technology section, which was attended by about a dozen ABA members.

The pre-history of the section began at the Monastic Forum hosted by St. Meinrad in January 1997, which led to formation of the Benedictine Internet Commission <http:/>, includes the BIC Report (Jan. 1998) for monastic superiors and two summer web workshops (1998 and 2000), and resulted in creation of the ABA BIT section.

ABA is in a unique position worldwide to foster development of Benedictine Internet projects, especially concentrating on resources helpful for monastic formation.

Presently the ABA website <> presents the American Monastic Newsletter, the "Report on Monastic Researchers" and the annual membership directory. Last year several medieval and early modern feminized versions of the Rule of Benedict in Latin, French, German and English were put online with the assistance of Frank Henderson <>. The members brainstormed about other projects that included a directory of Benedictine or monastic art and expanding Assumption Abbey's Benedictine Web of Prayer <>.

Richard Oliver, OSB
Collegeville, MN

Monastic Researchers

Over the past two years, five newsletters have been sent, in October and April of each year and July of the convention year. The number of monastic researchers has steadily risen and is at 138 at present. Approximately 60% of these have access to e-mail. Because of this accessibility to email costs for photocopying, postage, and mailing labels have fallen.

Internet accessibility not only decreases the cost of this service but it also makes it more efficient. It is now possible to send out a call to section members for information for the newsletter so that it more accurately reflects the scholarly activities of the membership. In addition, we are asking for information about your favorite Web sites, those that you have found most useful in scholarly work.

Thanks to all members for your contribution, for staying with the important task of doing scholarly work.

John Klassen, OSB
Collegeville, MN


Nine persons were in attendance. Valerian Odermann read the letter of resignation from Hugh Feiss as section chair. Those present decided they wanted to continue the section and Sister Hildegard Varga was elected unanimously as section chair. Sister Hildegard, Canyon, TX, is also archivist for the Diocese of Amarillo.

Suggestions for future discussion included the topics: "How do you do that?" "Where/how can I learn the general principles of setting up an archives?" "What other professional organizations are out there which can help me?" The group also received information on the U.S. Catholic Documentary Heritage Project for on-line listing of religious archives. Brief visits were made to the archives at both St. Meinrad and at Ferdinand.

Hildegard Varga, OSB
Canyon, TX


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ABA at Kalamazoo

For the past several years, the ABA has sponsored sessions at the International Medieval Studies Congress held at Kalamazoo, MI, each May. The sessions are organized and chaired by Linda Kulzer, OSB, of St. Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, MN.

The 35th International Congress on Medieval Studies met at Kalamazoo, May 4-7, 2000. Over 3000 persons attended from all states and more than 25 countries. The ABA sponsored two sessions at this congress. The first, entitled "Giles Constable's The Reformation of the Twelfth Century and the Future of Monasticism in the Twenty-First Century" was a roundtable presentation featuring Hugh Feiss, OSB, Ascension Priory; Miriam Schmitt, OSB, Annunciation Monastery; and Terrence Kardong, OSB, Assumption Abbey. Session Two, "Benedictines Entering a New Millennium in 1000 AD" consisted of presentations by Dolores Super, OSB, St Benedict's Monastery; Denis Robinson, OSB, St. Meinrad Archabbey; and Ann Kessler, OSB, Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton.

The previous year, the congress met at Kalamazoo May 6-9, 1999. The ABA sponsored a session entitled, "Helfta and the Integration of Mysticism and Monasticism" with speakers Harriet A. Luckman, Marquette University; Julia Marie Roy, OSB, St. Joseph Monastery, Tulsa; and Ann Marie Caron, RSM, St. Joseph College. The session was well attended and all three speakers received offers for the publication of their papers in either periodicals or books.

Linda Kulzer, OSB
St. Joseph, MN


Monastic study grants are regularly given to members who need financial support for projects related to monasticism. The recipients of the grants awarded at the January meeting of the board were Scott Rains, Phyllis Thompson and Ann Marie LoPrieno. Recipients have been notified and given instructions as to how to obtain their funding. Reports of the use of the funds, one of the stipulations of the awards, have already been received from Scott Rains and Phyllis Thompson.

Three essays were submitted for this year's Juniorate Essav Contest. Submissions came from Sister Colleen Maura McGrane, OSB, St. Louis, Sister Katherine Ann Smolik, OSB, Clyde, and Sister Diane Marie Kestler, OSB, Elizabeth, NJ. Kathleen Norris, Obl. OSB, Hugh Feiss, OSB, and Placid Solari, OSB, served as the panel to review the essays and Sister Colleen was selected as the winner. All participants were notified of the decision and of the waiver of fees for the convention as it applied to the respective participants. Eugene Hensell, OSB, graciously agreed to select and purchase the book which, in addition to ABA membership and convention, forms part of Sister Colleen's prize.

Placid Solari, OSB
Belmont, NC

Academy Elections

Part of the regular business at the convention of the American Benedictine Academy was the election of four members to the board of directors. In addition, Father Eugene Hensell will remain on the board as past president. Sister Rosemary Rader, OSB, of St. Paul Monastery, St. Paul, MN was elected vice-president, to succeed to the presidency in 2002. Sister Rosemary was prioress of St. Paul's Monastery for two terms, was LCWR's appointee to the National Ecumenical Consultation of Men and Women Religious, has numerous academic credentials and has, for the past six years, been Benedict Distinguished Professor in Religion at Carleton College, and visiting professor in the religion department at St. Olaf College, both in Northfield, MN.

From the thirteen candidates, three at-large members of the board of directors were elected, each to serve a two-year term. Sister Kathleen Hickenbotham, OSB, Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton, SD, was reelected for a second term. She is a former teacher and currently a resident artist, doing art works for her community and other commissions. Rev. Dennis Okholm, a professor of theology at Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and an oblate of Blue Cloud Abbey, SD. Brother Richard Oliver, OSB, St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, MN, was a university librarian there and now serves as webmaster for several OSB or monastic websites, as well as coordinator of the Benedictine Internet Technology section of ABA.


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