The American Monastic Newsletter

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

Monastic News Omnibus

Leaders of Benedictine communities from around the world gathered in Rome in September for the Congress of Abbots. The men and women assembled there to hear speakers and address business matters, but were also present to celebrate the beatification of Columba Marmion, OSB.

In the course of the meeting, Abbot Primate Marcel Rooney, OSB, announced that he would resign for health reasons. Archabbot Notker Wolf, OSB, 60, has been elected the ninth abbot primate of the Benedictine Confederation. The election takes effect immediately. Before his election as archabbot of Sankt Ottilien in 1977, Father Notker had been a professor at Sant'Anselmo.

Until the election of a new archabbot for Sankt Ottilien, Prior Claudius Bals, OSB, serves as the superior of the community and Abbot Anselm of Fiecht Abbey as superior of the congregation. The community expressed its sentiment concerning the election, "We are grateful for Archabbot Notker's long and devoted service and are very sorry to see him go. We wish him well for this new and challenging task." The Ottilien Congregation of missionary Benedictines consists of 1,100 monks in twenty monasteries worldwide. Erzabtei Sankt Ottilien also provided the Benedictine Confederation with its sixth abbot Primate, Dom Viktor Dammertz, elected in 1977 and nominated Bishop of Augsburg in 1992.

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Cistercian novice directors met in May at Santa Rita for their annual meeting. Facilitator Abbot Peter McCarthy and coordinators Father Paul Mark of Vina, CA, and Sister Anne Marie of Prairie du Sac led the meeting. The theme of spiritual accompaniment was addressed under eight different aspects.

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The November 2000 issue of Sisters Today will be the last to be published. Originally called Sponsa Regis, this periodical has been published for over seventy years by The Liturgical Press. For the past twenty-one years, it has been edited by Sister Mary Anthony Wagner, OSB, of St. Joseph, MN.

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An historic and unprecedented event took place on Friday, June 2, 2000. Reverend Lynne W. Smith, an ordained Presbyterian minister, made her first profession to the monastic way of life. She joins Benedictine Women of Madison, the first ecumenical monastic community of Christian women in North America. Approximately eighty people gathered in the Benedict House Chapel at Saint Benedict Center to celebrate the occasion and express their support for the community's first Protestant member. Sister Mary David Walgenbach, OSB, prioress, received her promises and welcomed her into the community. Sister Joanne Kollasch, OSB, a founding member of Benedictine Women of Madison and director of monastic formation, thanked all "who helped keep the vision and spark glowing and growing." She also thanked the retired community members who live in Sioux City, IA, for their continuous prayers and support.

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Raniero Hoffman, OSBCam, was elected prior of New Camaldoli Hermitage, Big Sur, CA. The monks of Holy Spirit Abbey, Conyers, GA, chose Basil Pennington, OCSO, as their abbot and Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, Dubuque, IA, reelected Gail Fitzpatrick, OCSO, to continue in her service as abbess.

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Junior monks from around the country had an opportunity to increase their knowledge of the tradition and get to know one another at the annual Juniorate summer program, hosted this year by Prince of Peace Abbey, Oceanside, CA. Topics were Scripture, taught by Eugene Hensell, OSB, St. Meinrad's, and personal dynamics in community living, addressed by Abbot Matthew Leavy, OSB, of St. Anselm's, Manchester, NH.

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