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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

January, February, and March 2011

Rev. 29 August 2016

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March 2011

Election among the Sylvestrines

On Monday, 21 March 2011, Abbot General Michael Kelly OSB Silv. presided when the monks of St. Vincent, Martyr, Monastery, Bassano Romano, Italy, elected Don Cleto Tuderti OSB Silv. as conventual prior.  Don Cleto had served previously as prior from 1993 to 2005.

Of Gods and Men

Having won the Grand Prix du Jury at the 2010 Cannes Festival and numerous other awards, Of Gods and Men, has been released by Sony to select cities. Written and directed by one of France's top filmmakers, Xavier Beauvois, Of Gods and Men is loosely based on the 1996 kidnapping and subsequent murder of seven Cistercian monks (OCSO), all of them French, living in a monastery in Tibhirine, Algeria. Although an Islamic fundamentalist group reportedly claimed responsibility for abducting the monks in late March 1996 and killing the Trappists almost two months later, the true identities of the murderous criminals remains a mystery.

Xavier Beauvois envisioned a film reflecting the rhythm of the Cistercians' daily routine, focused on their lives and the discussions of faith that must have taken place. Monastic music plays a vital role in the film.

John W. Kiser wrote about the same incident in The Monks of Tibhirine (St. Martin's, 2003).

by Philip Hargreen

Transitus of Saint Benedict - 21 March

Several miracles associated with the Transitus (Passing) of Saint Benedict are reported by Pope St. Gregory the Great. In Chapter 37 of the second book of his Dialogues, Gregory relates how Benedict, the man of God, prophecies the time of his death at Monte Cassino and communicates the news of his death to distant monks.

By permission of the Congregation for Divine Worship, today's celebration ranks as a solemnity in the American-Cassinese Congregation.

The Catastrophe in Japan

Father Don Talafous OSB, in one of his Daily Reflections, speaks about how difficult it is to comprehend the enormity of the multiple disasters that have befallen the people of Japan. Communications are still sparse from the afflicted Diocese of Sendai, with 11,000 Catholics, that includes the areas hardest-hit in the disaster. Several monks of Trinity Benedictine Monastery, Fujimi, Japan, shared reports with the monks of Saint John's Abbey, the founding community. The reports mention little damage at Fujimi, some disruption at the Trappistine monastery, Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, and the death of a Redemptorist priest whose car was swept away.

Saint Benedict's Advice for Lent

The Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 9 March 2011.

Saint Benedict offers his thinking about the observance of Lent in chapter 49 of his Rule. Besides abstinence from vice, food, and drink, Benedict recommends reading, especially Sacred Scripture. The right kind of Lectio Divina can lead to that "compunction of heart" that is the mark of authentic monastic prayer.

Father Don Talafous OSB offers a "Daily Reflection" that might also be a helpful aid and incentive for private prayer.

Liturgical Press offers a varied selection of Resources for Lent and Easter. Numerous other online resources for the liturgical season have been cataloged by the Lutheran Church of Canada.

February 2011

New Prioress

On Sunday, 27 February 2011, the Sisters of Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, Minnesota, elected S. Michaela Hedican OSB the 16th prioress.  The election concluded  a discernment process that began in October 2010 and culminated in a three-day process that began Friday, February 25. Prioress Michaela was chosen from among nine candidates surfaced during the process. She served as President of the Federation of Saint Benedict from 2003 to 2009.

Missions Museum

A new website at <> supports the renovation of the extensive Missions Museum maintained at Saint Ottilien Archabbey. Created in 1911, it opened to the public in 1922.  The main areas of the collection are 1) an ethnological section with 6,000 exhibits from East and South Africa, Korea, and other Asian countries, 2) a zoological section with 500 stuffed animals and animal parts, chiefly from East Africa, and 3) a selection of mission memorabilia and relics of missionaries martyred in Africa and Korea.

The museum is open daily from 9 AM until noon and from 1 to 5 PM (6 PM in the summer). St Ottilien is conveniently situated 40 km west of Munich and 35 km south of Augsburg.

New Website for Monastic Interreligious Dialogue

The new website of DIMMID and it's new journal, Dilatato Corde, are on-line at <>. Dilatato Corde, launched in 2011, is an international, multi-language journal rooted in the Christian monastic experience of interreligious dialogue, an experience shaped by listening, respect, contemplation, and hospitality. The name of the journal is taken from the Rule of Saint Benedict, which invites those who follow the monastic way of life to run the way of God's commandments with an "expanded heart" (Prologue, 49).

The Sisters Are Tweeting

Bernhard Warner mentions Sister Christine Ereiser OSB, Tulsa, Oklahoma, in an Advertising Age article praising religious women for their saavy and exemplary use of social media.

Red Plains Benedictines Prepare to Leave Piedmont

The role of the Benedictine sisters of Red Plains Spirituality Center is about to take a new form. In 2009, the members of Red Plains Monastery decided that it was in their best interest to merge with a larger community. They chose to become a part of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas. Since then, five members of the community have moved there and six have continued their ministries in Oklahoma.

Their ministries have a long and rich history, beginning with the establishment of Peace House in Oklahoma City in 1980. It became a center for education and advocacy on justice issues such as nuclear arms, women's issues and assistance for refugees. The work they began continues under the capable direction of others. Read more.

Koiné Expo 2011

From 12 to 15 March 2011, Koiné Expo, the world's fair of religious goods, liturgical design, and ecclesiastical art, will take place in Vicenza, northern Italy. A special feature of this year's biennial gathering will be a session led by Prof. Francesc Labastida, responsible for the lighting, according to Gaudì's intentions, of the recently consecrated Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.

Abbot of Monte Cassino Celebrates in London

Most Rev. Pietro Vittorelli OSB, the Abbot Ordinary of Monte Cassino, will celebrate Mass in Latin at Westminster Cathedral, London, on Thursday, 3 March 2011, 10:30 a.m. He will be joined by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, and Benedictine monks will sing at the Mass. (Reluctant Sinner Blog)

To Pray and to Rock

Tom Beaudoin profiles Abbot Primate Notker Wolf OSB in his avocation as a rock musician in a Facebook blog entry, "To Pray and to Rock: The Head of the Benedictines, Patron Saint of Rock and Theology." The Rock and Theology blog, sponsored by Liturgical Press, explores the relationship between 'secular' rock and 'sacred' theology, and related matters of faith and culture today.

Saint Benedict of Aniane

Responsible for a revival of Frankish monasticism in the 8th and 9th centuries, St. Benedict of Aniane (d. 821) was the scion of a noble Visigoth family and served as cupbearer to Pepin III and Charlemagne before becoming a monk (c. 770/773) at St.-Seine near Dijon. His feast day is Friday, February 11.

Dissatisfied with the observance at St. Seine, Benedict became a hermit on his family estate and lived on the banks of the Aniane, where several other solitaries joined him.

Benedict compiled all known monastic rules in Codex regularum and composed Concordia regularum to demonstrate the universality of the Rule of St. Benedict of Nursia, his namesake. He attended the Synod of Aachen, 817, that determined that all monasteries in the kingdom of Louis the Pious, Charlemagne's son, should follow the Rule of St. Benedict. Implementation of this decree was not totally successful.

Saint Scholastica

Saint Scholastica

Thursday, 10 February, is the feast day of Saint Scholastica. Pope Saint Gregory the Great tells the story of her final visit with her brother, Saint Benedict, to teach a lesson about the efficacy of prayer and the primacy of love.

Unwilling to lose the companionship of her brother, Scholastica prayed to God. As a result, a violent storm prevented Benedict from returning to his own monastery, and they spent their last time together in the company of Sacred Scripture. "Grant that through her prayers we may live innocently and attain everlasting bliss" (Collect for Mass).

In the next chapter of the Dialogues, Gregory recounts how three days later Benedict, "lifting up his eyes to heaven, beheld the soul of his sister that had departed her body ascend into heaven in the likeness of a dove." He gave orders that they both should be buried at Monte Cassino. "As their souls had always been one in God while they lived, so their bodies continued together after their deaths."

World Day for Consecrated Life

In 1997, Pope John Paul II instituted 2 February as a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. The website of the US Catholic Bishops Conference offers resources for commemorating World Day for Consecrated Life (celebrated in US parishes on February 6).

Available at, the resources are: prayers of the faithful, a prayer card, and a suggested parish bulletin announcement.

January 2011

Election in Colombia

On 6 January the Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien elected Father Marcos Dworschak OSB prior of El Rosal, Bogota, Colombia. Monks from Venezuela founded the monastery in 1961. The priory achieved independence in 1992 during the 500th anniversary of the "Discovery" of America. The monastery lies about 40 km northwest of the Colombian capital.

What's New (Aktuelles) in the Austrian Congregation. Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag).

What Was New OSB (1995-; archive). October, November, and December 2010.

The monks of Saint John's Abbey welcome comments, questions and suggestions from readers at the Pilgrim's Parlor. Send items for inclusion in "What's New" to the <Webkeeper>.


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