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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

April, May, and June 2011

Rev. 29 August 2016

June 2011

Enlightened Monks

Ulrich L. Lehner (Marquette University) has written Enlightened Monks: The German Benedictines 1740-1803, a revisionist study of continental monks during the period of The Enlightment. The Enlightenment, it appears, affected the self-understanding and lifestyle of the monks. It had an impact on their communication, their teaching, their relationships to both wordly authorities and the academic world. The multifaceted achievements of enlightened monks, which included a strong belief in individual freedom, tolerance, human rights, and non-violence, show that monasticism was on the way to becoming fully integrated into the Enlightenment. The work was published 14 June 2011 by Oxford University Press, ISBN 978 0 199595 12 9.

Erie Benedictines Launch Monasteries of the Heart

Sister Mary Lou Kownacki OSB writes about the launch of Monasteries of the Heart for "Monasteries of the Heart is a movement of seekers interested in becoming part of a community of seekers, either online or with others of their own choosing, who form to support one another in shaping their spiritual lives around Benedictine values and priorities." Groups and individuals will be devoted to Benedictine values but not necessarily bound by geographic stability. It is a monastery "without walls (MOH website)."

Kansas Prioress Re-elected

The Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery have elected Prioress Anne Shepherd OSB to a second six-year term, 17 June 2011. Prior to her election to lead the monastic community in 2005, she was the monastery's director of development and communications. Prioress Anne is the eleventh leader of the 150-member community that was founded in 1863.

Abbatial Election in Washington, DC

The monks of Saint Anselm's Abbey, in the US capital, elected Rev. James Wiseman OSB, 66, for the second time, to be their abbot, 16 June 2011. Abbot President Dom Richard Yeo OSB facilitated and confirmed the election. Abbot James served previously as superior of the monastery from 1975 to 1983. Professor Wiseman teaches theology at Catholic University of America and at the abbey's preparatory school. He's also chaired the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, an association of monastics committed to fostering interreligious and intermonastic dialogue at the level of spiritual practice and experience (Communio).

Abbot James succeeds Prior Administrator Simon McGurk OSB, a monk of Belmont Abbey in the English Benedictine Congregation.

+ Sister Janice Robertson OSB

Sister Janice Robertson OSB of Jamberoo Abbey, Australia, died 9 June 2011. In 1994 S. Janice completed a Masters in Pastoral Ministry at Saint John's University, Collegeville, where she graduated summa cum laude. She was responsible for the establishment of Jamberoo Abbey's very successful Abbey Books and Craft. Her community gives thanks to God for S. Janice's life, and commend her into His loving care. The Sisters celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial in the Abbey church on Tuesday, 14 June.

Monks of St. Bede Abbey Elect Eighth Abbot

 7 June 2011, Abbot Hugh Anderson OSB, President of the American-Cassinese Congregation, confirmed that the monks of Saint Bede Abbey had duly elected Father Philip Davey OSB, 64, as their eighth abbot. Abbot Philip, Master of Junior Monks at the time of his election, succeeds Abbot Claude Peifer OSB, elected 3 June 2003 (News Trib).

Give Us This Day

Give Us This Day: Daily Prayer for Today's Catholic is a new, personal prayer periodical from Liturgical Press -- an award-winning publisher of liturgy, Scripture, and spirituality founded by the Benedictine monks of Saint John's Abbey in 1926. Deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition, Give Us This DayTM is about prayer -- praying daily, praying well, praying with confidence.

Give Us This DayTM supports the desire to establish prayer as a part of life, enhancing one's existing practices and deepening the encounter with God by providing: a practical approach to daily prayer; prayers and readings for daily Mass; daily prayer, Morning and Evening; and a reflection on the assigned Scripture readings for each day.

Abbot Hugh Gilbert OSB Named Bishop of Aberdeen

On 4 June 2011 the Holy See named Abbot Hugh Gilbert OSB the new Bishop of Aberdeen, Scotland. The bishop-designate had been abbot of Pluscarden (Subiaco Congregation) until the announcement of his episcopal nomination. The Diocese of Aberdeen is geographically one of the largest in Western Europe, covering 11,227 square miles and including one third of the land mass of Scotland and the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland. Most Rev. Keith Michael Patrick Cardinal O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, will be the principal consecrator of Abbot Hugh as bishop, 15 August 2011, the Solemnity of the Assumption, in St. Mary's Cathedral, Aberdeen.  (Photo and more information at BBC Scotland Online.)

May 2011

Benedictines in the Middle Ages

16 June 2011 sees the first appearance of The Benedictines in the Middle Ages by James G. Clark (Boydell & Brewer). The author explains that the aim of the book is "to explore the experience of monastic life under the Rule: who were the men and women that animated Benedict's precepts and, of course, altered them over time as the world around them changed? How were they occupied both under and beyond the strictures of the Rule, in worship, work, and recreation? And what was their interaction with wider clerical and lay society, and what, if anything was the imprint they left upon it?"

Twenty-sixth Annual Monastic Institute

The 26th annual Monastic Institute will transpire in scenic Collegeville, Minnesota, 26-30 June 2011. Sponsored jointly by Saint John's Abbey and the School of Theology· Seminary of Saint John's University, the Institute will focus on the theme, "Bible and Prayer in Benedictine Spirituality."

More information and registration is available online. If you have questions, contact Mr. Joseph Young at or 320-363-2580.

Sisters of Richardton Elect Sister Paula Larson OSB

The Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery, Richardton, North Dakota, announce their election of Sister Paula Larson OSB as prioress for a term of four years, effective June 6, 2011. Sister Paula had also served as prioress from 1989 to 2001. She has most recently been the manager of finances and property of the monastery. She succeeds Sister Ruth Fox OSB who is completing her term as prioress.

PBS Profiles Brother Paul Quenon OCSO

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly (PBS) interviewed Brother Paul Quenon OCSO, a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky.  Like his mentor, Thomas Merton, Brother Paul is a contemplative, poet, and photographer.

Por Tu

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Sunday, 15 May 2011, the Church celebrates the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The Holy Father has sent his message to the Church suggesting that all Christian communities meditate on the theme: "Proposing Vocations in the Local Church" (Spanish).  The US Bishops support the Pope's initiative by offering Web resources in English and Spanish to foster a vocation culture.

50th Anniversary of Pontifical Institute of Liturgy (PIL)

Addressing participants at a conference marking the 50th anniversary of Rome's Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Pope Benedict said Blessed Pope John XXIII asked the Benedictines to establish the institute to help the church respond to the "urgency of a reform," which many bishops from around the world were requesting before the Second Vatican Council (CNS).

The conference, entitled "The Pontifical Liturgical Institute: Between Memory and Prophecy," spanned over three days and focused on the legacy of the liturgy of the past 50 years, really since the Second Vatican Council. Speakers included liturgical luminaries like the electric guitar-playing Abbot Primas Notker Wolf OSB of the Confederation of Benedictines, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, and veteran liturgist Fr Matias Augé CMF (Catholic Herald).

April 2011

Cullman, Alabama

Abbot Cletus Meagher OSB reports via his cell phone that "We are well. Tornado literally skipped over St. Bernard. No power for next several days. We do have some limited backup power for dining hall. City and parts of county a real disaster. OSB Sisters [Sacred Heart Monastery] okay also. Keep us in prayers." The abbey's historic art grotto was also untouched by the tornado.

Saint Gregory's Abbey

St. Gregory's Abbey and the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art were featured on the front page of The Oklahoman, Easter Sunday. There were several photos throughout Holy Week on the newspaper's website.

Pax Intrantibus

Sister Joan Chittister OSB writes about peace, the hallmark of Benedictine monasteries, in a blog post at HuffPost: Religion, "Benedictine Spirituality: Peace in the Monastery of the Heart" (18 April 2011).

Monastics Conquer Cyberspace

The New York Times (17 April 2011) featured the monks of Portsmouth Abbey (English Congregation), Rhode Island, who "Embrace Web to Reach Recruits." The informative article is accompanied by a slideshow. They have taken to the Internet with an elaborate advertising campaign featuring videos, a blog, a Facebook page, and a Gregorian chant ringtone.

Similarly, the English Benedictine nuns of Holy Trinity Monastery, Oxfordshire, "have a significant online presence which is an important part of their spiritual outreach. Their website has won awards for their innovative use of online media. They have understood the absolute importance of the digital age and have Tweeted and blogged their way to a community of committed supporters. Online retreats and an iPhone app are just some of the ideas in development. Indeed one of their supporters credits the nuns with having transformed the way in which contemplative communities engage with others through their pioneering work in blogs, podcasts, video, and webcasting" (ICN).

Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Passion or Palm Sunday is the start of the holiest week of the year for Christians. This year, 2011, is unusual because the Greek Orthodox Easter falls on the same date as the Christian and Catholic Easter, which only happens periodically. Many Holy Week services from Saint John's Abbey will be broadcast live from the abbey church by Real Media, and Salt+Light television features services from Westminster Abbey, British Columbia, in the new series, "This Side of Eden." The Text This Week offers a rich variety of Web resources for Palm Sunday and Holy Week.

Vallombrosa Congregation

The Congregation of Vallombrosa was founded by St. John Gualbert in 1036 at Vallombrosa Abbey near Florence, Italy. It was approved on 6 April 1090 by Pope Urban II, suppressed in 1810, restored in 1819, and suppressed anew in 1866. After World War II it was reconstituted in 1949 and aggregated to the Benedictine Confederation of Congregations in 1966.


On 1 April 1995 the OSB Website made its appearance on the World Wide Web. This year marks the sixteenth anniversary of the website. "For fools rush in where angels fear to tread" -- Alexander Pope: Essay on Criticism, 1.625.

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

What Was New OSB (1995-; archive). January, February, and March 2011.

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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