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What Was New

April, May, and June 2012




June 2012

American Benedictine Academy

The theme of the 2012 biennial convention of the American Benedictine Academy is "Seek Peace and Pursue It: Monasticism in the Midst of Global Upheaval." The academy will convene in Duluth, Minnesota, 2-4 August 2012. Recently made available online are the out-of-print papers and responses delivered at the 1998 convention in Latrobe devoted to "Hospitality: Prism of the 21st Century." The June 2012 issue of The American Monastic Newsletter  is also online.

Monastic Gardens - Benedictines

Listen to a podcast from Irish Radio about the monks of Holy Cross Monastery, founded in 1998 in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, as an island of peace and harmony. The Olivetan Benedictine monks came from the Abbey of Our Lady of Bec-Hellouin, France.

+ Prior Columban Trojan OSB, 71

Brother Columban Trojan OSB, the prior of St. Procopius Abbey, died Saturday, 16 June 2012 at Community Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Naperville, Illinois. In 1991 Abbot Hugh Anderson OSB asked Brother Columban to assume the office of Prior, second-in-command of the monastery. He was the first non-ordained monk to serve in that position, and for the rest of his life he played a major role in the leadership of the community. He much enjoyed the annual Priors’ Workshop and in time became one of the senior members of that group. He was the major organizer of the General Chapter of the American-Cassinese Congregation held at St. Procopius in 2004. Shortly after his election, Abbot Austin Murphy OSB reappointed him to the office of Prior, and for the past two years Prior Columban served the community as best he could amidst worsening health. Mass of Christian Burial in the Abbey Church, Thursday, 21 June, 10:30 a.m., with burial in the abbey cemetery to follow. May he rest in peace.

Ampleforth Abbey Beer Launches in July

"We think we've got the taste and texture right," said Father Wulstan Peterburs OSB, Ampleforth's procurator, "The Benedictines took their classically English brewing skills to France after Henry VIII's Reformation, then returned with a distinctly European type of beer when the French revolution made them homeless again in 1789. The process, unused since, apart from a brief 19th-century experiment outside the monastery, has given the brew an invaluable marketing tool: ancient documents referring to secret recipes" (The Guardian). Wim van der Spek at Little Valley Brewery, West Yorkshire, is helping the monks.

Installation of Prioress in South Dakota

On Saturday, 16 June 2012, Sister Joella Kidwell OSB, President of the Federation of St. Gertrude, will install Prioress Mary Wegher OSB. The Benedictine Sisters of St. Martin Monastery, Rapid City,  elected Sister Mary, 21 April 2012. She succeeds Sister Yvette Mallow OSB. Sister Mary will serve as the communities' thirteenth Prioress since it's foundation in 1889 from St. Nicholas of Flue Convent, Melchtal, Switzerland. The Installation Mass will be celebrated in the Holy Cross Chapel of Terra Sancta Diocesan Center, Rapid City, South Dakota.

Closure of Blue Cloud Abbey, SD

On 29 May 2012 the Benedictine monks of Blue Cloud Abbey, Marvin, South Dakota, voted to close their monastery. The monastery was founded by Saint Meinrad Archabbey (Swiss American Congregation), 24 June 1950, raised to a priory, 5 August 1952 and to an abbey, 21 March 1954.

The reason for closure is the lack of vocations and the aging of the monks. Although the abbey has successfully managed a retreat center for groups and individuals, the monastery has not been able to draw a sufficient number of new members. After Sunday, 5 August 2012, no public liturgies will be celebrated, and all scheduled retreats are canceled. The public are invited to a farewell gathering on 5 August.

Monks Elect Fifth Abbot in New Hampshire

Twenty-five monks of Saint Anselm Abbey, Manchester, NH, elected Father Mark Cooper OSB, 63, to succeed Abbot Matthew Leavy OSB, 62, 5 June 2012. Abbot Mark recently retired after 33 years as VP for Finance at St. Anselm College. Abbot President Hugh Anderson OSB presided at and confirmed the election according to the Guide for Abbatial Elections in the American-Cassinese Congregation.

New Abbot for Genesee

On 30 May 2012, the monks of the Abbey of the Genesee, Piffard, NY, elected Fr. Gerard D'Souza OCSO to succeed Fr. John Denburger OCSO, 75, fifth abbot. Father Immediate, Abbot Elias of Gethsemani Abbey, oversaw the election and installed Abbot Gerard. Abbot Gerard was born to Indian parents in Doha, Qatar, 24 May 1958. He immigrated to the United States in 1988 and became a US citizen. He professed solemn vows at Genesee in 1999. He has been Novice Master since 2004.

May 2012

Thien Tam Made Dependent House

The Monastery of Thien Tam was founded in the Diocese of Dallas from the Abbey of Christ in the Desert, New Mexico, in September 2009. Intended principally for candidates with a Vietnamese background and culture already living outside Vietnam, the monastery is open to any man who truly desires to live the monastic life.

The Provincial Chapter of the English Province, meeting in Pluscarden Abbey, Scotland, voted unanimously on 9 September 2011 for the erection of Thien Tam as a Dependent House in the Subiaco Congregation. The Council of Assistants and the Council of Visitors approved the decision.

On 21 May 2012, Abbot President Bruno Marin OSB erected the Monastery of Thien Tam, Kerens, Texas, as a dependent house of the Abbey of Christ in the Desert, New Mexico.

Presently there are nine men living the monastic life at Thien Tam. Six of them are in solemn vows to Christ in the Desert, and one is a solemnly professed monk of another community. One is a postulant and one is a candidate.

Photo + Abbot Gerald Benkert OSB

Abbot Gerald Benkert OSB founding abbot of Marmion Abbey, Illinois, died peacefully in his room at the abbey, 16 May 2012, at the age of 102. He was abbot of Marmion from 1948 to 1969. He later served his community in its mission priory in Guatemala for over 30 years. Abbot Gerald, the oldest living abbot, remained a faithful and model participant in all of the liturgical and community exercises of the abbey to the day of his death. May he rest in peace.

New Abbess for Iowa photo

On 7 May 2012, the community of Our Lady of the Mississippi elected Sister Rebecca Stramoski OCSO as abbess for a six-year term. Mother Rebecca was born in 1959 in San Antonio, Texas. She entered Mississippi Abbey in 1987 and made solemn profession in 1995. She succeeds Mother Nettie Louise Gamble OCSO, At the time of her election, Mother Rebecca was Novice Mistress. Ad multos annos.

Administrator Appointed for Mount Saviour Monastery

Photo Abbot Hugh Anderson OSB, President of the American-Cassinese Congregation, has appointed Father Joseph Gabriel Cusimano OSB to a three-year term as Prior Administrator of Mount Saviour Monastery, Pine City, New York. His appointment begins 2 June 2012. Father Joseph Gabriel is presently the claustral prior of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert (Subiaco Congregation) that had been founded by Mount Saviour Monastery. Father Joseph served as Prior Administrator of Saint Benedict's Abbey, Polokwane, South Africa, from 2006 to 2010.

Saint Hildegard Honored and Benedictine Abbess to Be Beatified

On 10 May 2012 the Holy Father inscribed Hildegard of Bingen OSB (1089-1179) in the catalog of the saints and extended to the universal Church the liturgical cult in her honor. Also announced during the audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, was the beatification set for 10 November 2012 of Sister Maria Luisa Prosperi OSB (1799-1847),  Abbess of the Monastery of Saint Lucy in Trevi, Spoletana, Italy.

Benedictine Sister Questions Philippine Mining Policy

Because of her opposition to the Philippine "government's support of multinational large-scale mining at the expense of local communities and natural resources," Sr. Stella Matutina OSB is the target of a vilification campaign by the 28th Infantry Battalion (Bulatiat article). The deployment of the infantry in the province is part of the Investment Defense Force, a creation of the former Macapagal-Arroyo administration to defend mining investments.

April 2012

Notre Dame Series on Benedictine Spirituality

Prof. Maxwell E. Johnson, editor of Benedictine Daily Prayer (Liturgical Press), shares his thinking on Benedictine Spirituality in the inaugural series of video presentations produced by Notre Dame University's Center for Liturgy. Dr. Johnson's series and others will appear in Oblation: Liturgy and the New Evangelization, an online journal on liturgy, catechesis, and spirituality edited by the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy.

Vatican Radio Profiles Sant'Anselmo

The German language section of Vatican Radio offers a profile of the Pontifical University of Saint Anselm in Rome. "On average we have about 300 students," says Abbot Pius Engelbert OSB, archivist of Sant'Anselmo. Abbot Pius recently published Sant'Anselmo in Rom - Kolleg und Hochschule: Von den Anfängen (1888) bis zur Gegenwart (EOS Verlag).

New Abbot for Disentis

On Thursday, 19 April 2012, the 21 monks of Disentis Abbey elected Dean Vigeli Monn OSB, 44, to be the next abbot. Abbot Vigeli, like the majority of the population in Surselva, the region surrounding the abbey, is a native speaker of Romanisch, Switzerland's fourth official language. Father Vigeli is the first native speaker to be elected in 96 years. Before entering the monastery Abbot Vigeli served as a member of the Swiss Guard at the Vatican. He succeeds Abbot Daniel Schönbächler OSB, the abbey's 95th superior.

Breuer's Church at Collegeville

"The Monks and the Modernist: What the Benedictines Built at Collegeville" by Albert Eisele appeared originally in Commonweal magazine (April 6, 2012) 10-13, in recognition of the church's 50th anniversary year. Commonweal has allowed the article to be more widely available to readers of Pray/Tell: Worship, Wit, and Wisdom, a blog from Liturgical Press.

Interreligious Videos

The home page of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue website gives links to two videos, "Jesus Washing the Feet of a Guest," and "Pietà Lanka," in which Sri Lankan theologian Father Aloysius Pieris SJ comments on works of Christian art done by Buddhist artists.

Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Passion or Palm Sunday,1 April 2012, is the start of the holiest week of the year for Western Christians. Many Holy Week services from Saint John's Abbey will be broadcast live from the abbey church by Real Media. The Text This Week offers a rich variety of Web resources for Palm Sunday and Holy Week.

Anniversary - 1 April

On 1 April 1995 the OSB Website made its appearance on the World Wide Web. This year marks the seventeenth 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, Monastische Welt).

What Was New OSB (1995-; archive). January, February, and March 2012.

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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