The American Monastic Newsletter

        Volume 32, Nr. 2, June 2002             Richardton, ND 58652

Inside this issue:

A Relational Skill

ABA Conference Schedule

Essay Winners

News Omnibus

Grant Opportunity

Ecumenical Conference

ABA Board Nominees

Book Reviews


AMN Online

ABA Index

News Omnibus

Elections and Appointments

The following women were recently elected as prioresses of their communities:

  • Mary Anne Matarese, OSB, St. Gertrude's (Ridgely, MD)
  • Janice Futrell, OSB, Red Plains Monastery (Piedmont, OK)
  • Carol Falkner, OSB, Our Lady of Grace (Beech Grove, IN)
  • Michelle Farabaugh, OSB, St. Benedict Monastery (Pittsburgh, PA).

Re-elected to continue their ministry of leadership were:

  • Mary Clare Neuhofer, OSB, Holy Name (St. Leo, FL)
  • Laura Swan, OSB, St. Placid (Lacey, WA)
  • Rita Brink, OSB, St. Walburg (Covington, KY)

Michael Naughton, OSB, a monk of St. John's (Collegeville, MN) has been named administrator of Mary Mother of the Church Abbey (Richmond, VA).

The monks of Waegwan Abbey in Korea have accepted the transfer of St. Paul's Abbey, Newton, NJ, as a dependent priory. Both houses are of the St. Ottilien Congregation and Abbot Joel Macul, OSB, will continue as superior during the transition. Eight Korean monks, of whom Bosco Kim, OSB, will be local superior, have moved there and will minister to Korean Catholics in the New York area.

Infirmarians Gather

Twenty-five monastic infirmarians gathered at the Cistercian Abbey of Mepkin in South Carolina in January for a conference coordinated by Guerric Heckel, OCSO. Ten Trappist, one Cistercian and seven Benedictine monasteries were represented. Both monastic and lay staff were invited, which resulted in a wide spectrum of care givers coming together.

Dr. Michael Downey gave the keynote address on the theology of diminishment and Father Guerric spoke on the spirituality of accompaniment. Abbot Francis Kline, OCSO, and Dr. Keith Barron addressed the sensitive topic of the necessity of intervention and Dr. Barron also gave a presentation on "compassion fatigue." Nutritionist Marti Chitwood and nurse David George shared their expertise with their respective presentations on food and integration of lay staff, and Hank Dunn gave an informative talk on end of life decisions.

Not only was the meeting well received, but participants expressed a desire for regular meetings. It is hoped that they will occur every couple of years and will alternate between the two religious orders.

Guerric Heckel, OCSO
Mepkin Abbey

Peace Torch

A delegation of nineteen persons from Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of St. Benedict, visited Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana on March 6 for a special lighting ceremony of the Benedictine Peace Torch. The delegation, including Archbishop Riccardo Fontana and the town's mayor, Alberto Naticchioni, asked Saint Meinrad's Archabbot Lambert Reilly, OSB, to light the torch this year.

Since 1989, the torch has been lit in a different European capital each year, retracing the steps of the Benedictine tradition and seeking the common Christian roots of the different European peoples. This year marks the first time the ceremony has been held outside Europe.

Also present at the ceremony were the Most Rev. Daniel Buechlein, OSB, archbishop of Indianapolis, and the Very Rev. Cassian Folsom, OSB, prior of the Monastero di San Benedetto in Norcia.

The running of the torch by local athletes has been a tradition since the first torch was lit in 1960, inspired by the Olympics. "The torch has as its goal each year to bring peace, hope and solidarity to the peoples of the countries on its way," said Mr. Naticchioni. "After having touched the major European capitals, this year the torch has crossed the ocean to bring its light as a sign of profound gratitude to the home abbey of the prior of Norcia and to bear witness to this country, victim of the terrorist attacks of September 11, that in the name of St. Benedict it is possible to arrive at a true culture of peace. As a small gesture, but at the same time significant, we light the Torch of St. Benedict, who is recognized not only in Italy and in Europe, but throughout the whole world, as a messenger of peace, a teacher of unity and civilization, a herald of religion. His values and his message are to be considered irreplaceable in this new millennium."

Dom Godfrey

The monastic world was touched by the death of Godfrey Diekmann, OSB, of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, MN, on February 22, shortly before his ninety-fourth birthday. A leader of the liturgical movement before Vatican II and shaper of reform of the liturgy after the council, he was a prophetic and wise voice in the renewal of the Church. His teaching inspired generations of students and he educated countless others by his work as an editor (1938-64) and editor-in-chief (1964-88) of the journal Worship. His dedication to the civil rights movement, liturgy, education and the future of the church will be long and gratefully remembered.

Gethsemani II

"Suffering and the Transformation of Suffering" was the topic of Gethsemani Encounter II sponsored by Monastic Interreligious Dialogue and hosted by Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. This Buddhist/Catholic monastic dialogue took on the concerns of suffering caused by loneliness and alienation, violence in structures, old age and sickness, and greed and consumerism. We had short presentations from 23 speakers followed by over 30 hours of dialogue. The setting was the abbey chapter room where we faced each other and allowed the hallowed space between us to provide silence as well as words. We followed the Trappist daily schedule and also did specifically Buddhist and Catholic rituals that pertained to transformation of the suffering of our fragile planet and peoples caught in the grip of violence. By this time next year Doubleday will have published the book. Soon we'll have parts of the presentations, pictures and comments on our website <>.

There are still reports to be written for MID, Gethsemani Abbey and our benefactor, Fetzer Institute. This needs more solitude to reveal its powerful impact. Two things to share here with my monastic family: 1) we have an amazing opportunity to contribute through dialogue as we know from experience how holy it is to speak from the heart, and 2) suffering should first be eliminated if possible. If not, then we have an obligation to alleviate it as much as we can. If that is also impossible, we must teach each other how to transform suffering through transmuting it. Christians would say participate in Christ's redemptive suffering of the Paschal Mystery and Buddhists would say make a choice to become a Bodhisattva. Suffering. We all suffer. All of us can be transformed by it.

Mary Margaret Funk, OSB
Beech Grove, IN

Essay Competition Winners

In convention years, the ABA sponsors a Junior Essay Competition to encourage research on local history by men and women in initial formation. This year, there are two winners: Sister Antonia Ryan, OSB, of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, KS, for "Mount St. Scholastica's French Refugees: In Search of Liberty" and Brother Boniface Hamilton, OSB, of Belmont Abbey, Belmont, NC, for "Deepening Union: A Benedictine Commitment." Each will be honored at the convention and receive ABA membership and a waiver of convention costs.

Grant Opportunity

The Local Societies Initiative is offering grants to fund start-up costs for dialogue groups exploring the dynamic interface between religion and science. This is a project of the Metanexus Institute with special funding from the John Templeton Foundation ( The Metanexus Institute seeks to create an enduring intellectual and social movement by collaborating with persons and communities from diverse religious traditions and scientific disciplines. In a spirit of humility and with a deep concern for intellectual rigor, the Institute promotes a balanced and exploratory dialogue between science and religion. While mindful of the complexities of this endeavor, we work to develop integrative approaches that enrich both domains. As the pace of scientific discovery and technological innovation accelerates, there is an urgent cultural need to reflect thoughtfully about these epic changes and challenges in constructive dialogue. The proposed projects are for established or newly formed groups to be catalysts for progress in diverse communities worldwide. The program seeks to create long-term networks for vibrant and broadly significant exchange. While focused on colleges, universities and seminaries, the program also welcomes applications from a wide spectrum of interested parties in other venues worldwide.

Program goals:

1) To promote the study of science and religion in local societies and organizations around the world and the development of a network of such groups;
2) to encourage a greater appreciation of the religious and spiritual significance of science and of the value of religious insights for science and society;
3) to broaden the participation of individuals and groups involved in the constructive dialogue between science and religion;
4) to exemplify a spirit of "humble approach" in the quest for understanding, which links the progress of scientific inquiry with metaphysical, religious, philosophical and moral concerns in a coherent, intellectually responsible and collaborative manner.

Criteria for applications: The applicant must demonstrate a commitment to a balanced and exploratory exchange between religious and scientific views. The applicant must be a group, existing or newly created for this purpose, of persons formally or informally affiliated, such as committees of faculty, campus ministries, student organizations, interdisciplinary programs or departments, groups of clinicians and students in the practice of medicine, seminary faculty and students, denominational bodies, clergy groups, professional and civic associations, employees in science/technology industries, private/public secondary schools, teacher associations, and organizations specifically incorporated to advance the dialogue between science and religion. Applications will not be accepted from individuals.

Each grant is for $15,000 paid over three years. The applicant must have a commitment of $15,000 in matching funds over the three years, payable in the amount of $5,000 annually. In special hardship circumstances, consideration will be given to matching by in-kind resources. Funds may be used for events, speakers, the purchase of books, group study, communications, publicity, outreach, public forums and travel directly related to the project. A panel of three judges will select the winners of the grants and supplemental grant awards. Funds must be used to develop new programs, operating as, or under the auspices of, a non-profit organization. The group must hold regular meetings for conducting study, discussion and business, and have a commitment to engage in outreach through free and well publicized public events with speakers representing expertise in the fields of both science and religion.

Additional criteria of merit include the potential of the program for broad public outreach, evidence of innovative and creative approaches to the subject matter, quality and cost effectiveness of the project, potential for long-term viability of the local group beyond the three year period, intellectual and spiritual content of the program, and ability of the local group to leverage other funding resources.

Applicants must submit a satisfactory written annual report to qualify for ongoing funding of the grant and must designate a contact person for the administration of the grant. One delegate from the group must attend the Annual Convention of Local Societies to be held in Philadelphia in June each year, the costs of which the group may fund from the grant or matching funds. Some travel stipends are available for international delegates.

A limited number of supplemental $10,000 grants will be awarded annually, based on the annual reports, to programs that demonstrate particular innovation, creativity and effectiveness. There is no matching fund requirement for these supplemental grants, but the ability to leverage additional resources is also a criterion of merit. Thus, over the three years of the project, a local society is eligible to win an additional $30,000 in funding. Application deadlines are January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 of each year through April 1, 2005. Up to fifty grants will be awarded each year. The application should include five copies of the following: a cover letter signed by the chairperson, a maximum 200 word description of the host organization, a maximum 200 word description of the program, a proposed budget, with appropriate notes, evidence of commitment of the $15,000 matching funds, a three to five page proposal narrative detailing the content and programs envisioned, and a brief curriculum vita or resume of the designated chairperson of the local group.

Single copies of supplemental materials are welcome with the application, including short biographies, resumes or curricula vitae of group participants and copies of relevant publications, institutional brochures and press clippings. We do not have the capacity to receive applications or annual reports that are not written in English, but the project may be conducted in any language. Five copies of the application packet should be submitted by mail to:

Eric Weislogel, Ph.D.,
Associate Director
Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science
P.O. Box 490
Unionville, PA 19375
Phone: (610) 486-1176, Fax: (610) 486-6897
URL: <> or <>



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