American Monastic Newsletter

Volume 28, Number 1, February 1998

Letter from the President


At the close of the old year, it has become customary to "number my thanks" for the blessings of the past year. 1997 was full of blessed occasions that came from meeting Benedictines and being welcomed into monastic houses around the country.

One such blessing was the opportunity to visit monastic libraries and partake of surprising ideas, gaze on art and artifacts and rest in life-enhancing nuggets of wisdom. Another blessing was the beauty of the varied landscapes, where these monasteries reside, whether amid majestic mountains, near flowering meadows, in sun-touched prairie grasslands, high desert plains, among the tall skyscrapers of large cities or the edges of small rural townships. There was the blessing of witnessing the exchanges between new members and lifelong followers of the monastic way.

The opportunity to engage in gatherings of monastic colleagues was also a rich blessing. In January of 1997, Fr. Simeon Thole, OSB, and the monks of St. Leo's Abbey, St. Leo, Florida, hosted the meeting of the ABA Board, with gracious warmth of welcome, juicy citrus fruits and lovely grounds. This January Abbot Douglas Nowicki, OSB, and the monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey hosted the members of the board, in a lovely setting of rolling hills, majestic buildings with lovely arches and refurbished interiors.

Many of our larger monastic houses over the years welcomed Benedictine musicians, liturgists, formation personnel, abbots and priors, prioresses, development directors and treasurers to annual and biennial meetings. Such occasions have been full of the blessings of praying, eating, dialoguing, recreating together and mutually enriching one another's lives. I am deeply grateful for the many gracious acts of hospitality required by the members of these communities to host such gatherings. Many of our smaller monastic houses have welcomed boards, councils, and committees which planned the activities for the larger assemblies. Each contributed to the enrichment of the whole monastic family, with its professed members, lay oblates, staffs, and volunteers.

Once again on August 9-12, at the ABA convention, monastic men and women, oblates, scholars and supporters of the Benedictine legacy in North America will gather to focus on one core aspect of the monastic charism. Hospitality will not only be our topic, but hopefully will also be manifested in the ways we are together, as we guests partake of the care provided by our host community at Latrobe. I invite you to consider coming and participating in this event, the details of which are covered within the pages of this AMN. I trust the convention will be an occasion of rich blessings, stimulating dialogues, challenging ideas and exchanges from lived experience as well as scholarship.

Mary Forman, OSB, ABA President


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ABA. Newsletter (February 1998) / © Copyright 1997-2009 by American Benedictine Academy / Managing Editor: Renee Branigan OSB, Box 364, Sacred Heart Monastery, Richardton, ND 58652 / HTML version: Tom Gillespie OSB /