The American Monastic Newsletter

        Volume 32, Nr. 1, February 2002             Richardton, ND 58652

Inside this issue:

Passing on the Tradition

An Open Letter

News Omnibus

Summer Opportunities

Pre-Convention Workshop

Artists' Exhibit

Junior Essay Contest

Book Reviews

ABA 2002


AMN Online

ABA Index

Issue Contents






AMN Online

ABA Index

Issue Contents

Gearing up for Convention 2002

 Monastic Mentoring at Core of Convention

The place will be Bismarck, ND, at the University of Mary. The Benedictine communities of western North Dakota, Annunciation Monastery (Bismarck), Assumption Abbey (Richardton), and Sacred Heart Monastery (Richardton), will host Convention 2002 of the American Benedictine Academy August 8-11. The theme of the biennial gathering is "Mentoring and Monastics: Re-Founding the Tradition."

In Thursday evening's opening session Mark W. McGinnis of Aberdeen, SD, will present the results of his "Elders of the Benedictines Project" -- interviews with thirty monastics which he undertook in the late '90s. He also did acrylic canvases of each of them. McGinnis belies his oft-given title of "regional artist" because he has delved into subjects of universal interest from varying faith traditions. McGinnis is a professor of art and religion at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD.

Sister Laura Swan's The Forgotten Desert Mothers: Sayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women, published in 2001, dealt with the master/disciple relationship in the early years of the monastic movements. In August 2001 she also published History of North American Benedictine Women: A Bibliography. Swan, currently prioress of St. Placid Priory, Lacey, WA, will draw on her research, as well as her experience in community leadership, in her exposition "Obsculta! Wise Elders and the Desert Tradition."

Sister Jacquelyn Ernster and Abbot Vincent Bataille will share their experience "from the trenches" (Benedict did use the military metaphor in the Rule!). Both will trace life experiences of being mentored and later becoming mentors in their monasteries. Ernster, for many years president of Mount Marty College, serves as prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton, SD. Bataille is abbot of Marmion Abbey, Aurora, IL, after having served as prior of that community's foundation at Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. They will tap the inter-generational dynamic for making Benedictine values come alive in "Mentoring among Monastics Today: Two Reflections from the Heart."

Dr. Carney Strange, professor of education at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, and an oblate of St. Meinrad Archabbey, has worked in higher education for decades. He brings expertise in fashioning places where people are called to change, to grow. A recent book, Educating by Design: Creating Campus Learning Environments That Work, highlights his passion. Recognized as one who has helped bring spirituality back to college life, he firmly believes environments shape people. That sounds like formation in monasteries! "Transforming the Journey: Mentoring Lives Through Magic and Myth" will lead participants into the process more deeply.

A panel of educational practitioners and researchers will share the results of their labors. Ms. Anita Falkenberg (University of Texas at Austin), Fr. Edwin Leahy (headmaster of Saint Benedict's Prep, Newark), and Fr. Jonathan Zingales (St. Leo University) will address various aspects of mentoring and modeling Benedictine values in education. Falkenberg and Zingales have recently engaged in research of Benedictine values at the university level. Leahy brings to bear decades of service as headmaster of St. Benedict's Prep School, located in one of the country's poorest ghettos.

Sister Rose Mary Rexing of Immaculate Conception Monastery, Ferdinand, IN, spent many years in vocation work before moving into development, now renamed "mission advancement." In past work she has focused on challenges to the monastic tradition and its refounding in the current age. She will tackle the dynamics of "mutual mentoring" in communities, how monastics mentor each other by listeningCand that includes lay boards and committees, oblates and guests, as well as people coming to religious communities. The title of her presentation is "Mutual Mentoring: A New Paradigm of an Old Tradition."

A pre-convention mini-workshop on "Computer Networking in Small Communities" will kick off the biennial gathering (see information provided below. The schedule for the convention as well as a registration form were included with the paper edition of this newsletter.



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The American Monastic Newsletter

Published in February, June and October

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