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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

January, February, and March 2013

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March 2013

+ Dom Bernard Green OSB

Rev. Dr. Bernard Green OSB, 1953-2013, former Director of Studies at St. Benet's Hall, Oxford, died suddenly on 22 March 2013, aged 60 years of age. In 2010, T & T Clark published Christianity in Ancient Rome: The First Three Centuries that was based on his Oxford lectures.

The monks of Ampleforth will receive his body into the Abbey Church at Ampleforth, Wednesday, 3 April 2013, 6 p.m. Reception of the body will be followed by Vespers for the Dead. The monks will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial in the Abbey Church on Thursday, 4 April, at 11:30 a.m. May he rest in peace.

The Passing of Saint Benedict

Benedictines commemorate the passing of Saint Benedict on Thursday, 21 March. Like the great Saint Joseph, devotion to whom was fostered at Monte Cassino, Saint Benedict is a fitting patron at the time of death. On the margin of the medal of St. Benedict, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the Latin words: Eius in obitu nostro præsentia muniamur (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death). An additional prayer to Saint Benedict for a happy death is available online.

frescoPope St. Gregory's account below of St. Benedict's serene death ca. 543 A.D, is enhanced by testimony of Benedict's ability to forecast the day of it and his ability to communicate the news of it remotely by signs.

Six days before he died, he gave orders for his tomb to be opened. Almost immediately he was seized with a violent fever that rapidly wasted his remaining energy. Each day his condition grew worse until finally, on the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the chapel where he received the Body and Blood of our Lord to gain strength for his approaching end. Then, supporting his weakened body on the arms of his brethren, he stood with his hands raised to heaven and, as he prayed, breathed his last. --Gregory the Great, Dialogues, Book 2, c. 37.

We Have a Pope

coat of arms

On Tuesday, 13 March 2013, the College of Cardinals elected Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio SJ, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to become the 266th Bishop of Rome. His Holiness chose to be named Francis. Pope Francis, 76, entered the Society of Jesus in 1958 and served as provincial from 1973 to 1979. Pope John Paul II elevated him to the rank of cardinal in 2001. As a cardinal, he served as a member of several Vatican departments, including the Congregations for Divine Worship and for Clergy. Mr. John Allen profiled for the National Catholic Reporter Pope Francis as a papabile before the Conclave. "Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from outside of Europe in more than a millennium, the first from the Americas, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere" (Wikipedia). Ad maiorem Dei gloriam!

New Website for American Benedictine Academy

Members of the American Benedictine Academy learned 1 March 2013 about the launch of a re-designed website located at <>. The web designers at Paraclete Press have developed a full-featured site that is both artistic and easy to navigate. The new site offers the latest issue of The American Monastic Newsletter in PDF format. Sister Elizabeth Carillo OSB succeeds Sister Adele Sautner OSB as ABA Executive Secretary. Contact Sr. Elizabeth at <>.

February 2013

Decree of Incorporation

On Tuesday, 26 February 2013, H.E. João Bráz de Aviz, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, received in audience the Abbots of Subiaco, Montecassino, Noci, and Cava dei Tirreni, along with the Procurator General of the Subiaco Congregation and gave them the Decree of the Incorporation of the Cassinese Congregation into the Subiaco Congregation. The decree is dated 7 February 2013, the Memorial of Blessed Pius IX, proponent of the Subiaco Congregation. The new official name of the Congregation is the Subiaco Cassinese Benedictine Congregation.

Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone Asks Contemplatives for Prayer

Vatican City, 25 February 2013 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone SDB, sent a letter to the monasteries devoted to contemplative life around the world, inviting them to intensify their prayers at this special moment in the life of the Church. Following is the entire text of the message that is dated 21 February.

Sede Vacante

"I write to you as the whole Church anxiously follows the final days of the luminous pontificate of His Holiness Benedict XVI and awaits the arrival of the successor whom the Cardinals gathered in conclave and guided by the Holy Spirit will choose, after discerning together the signs of the times of the Church and the world.

"His Holiness Benedict XVI has asked all the faithful to accompany him with their prayers as he commends the Petrine ministry into the Lord’s hands, and to await with trust the arrival of the new Pope. In a particularly urgent way this appeal is addressed to those chosen members of the Church who are contemplatives. The Holy Father is certain that you, in your monasteries and convents throughout the world, will provide the precious resource of that prayerful faith which down the centuries has accompanied and sustained the Church along her pilgrim path. The coming conclave will thus depend in a special way on the transparent purity of your prayer and worship.

"The most significant example of this spiritual elevation which manifests the most authentic and profound dimension of every ecclesial action, the presence of the Holy Spirit who guides the Church, is offered to us by His Holiness Benedict XVI who, after having steered the barque of Peter amid the waves of history, has chosen to devote himself above all to prayer, contemplation and reflection.

"The Holy Father, with whom I shared the contents of this letter, was deeply appreciative, and asked me to thank you and to assure you of his immense love and esteem.

"With affection in Christ I send you greetings, united with you in prayer."

Mount St. Scholastica Celebrates Sesquicentennial

Prioress Anne Shepard OSB, Mount St. Scholastica Monastery, Atchison, Kansas, hosted one of the signature events of the order's yearlong celebration of its 150th anniversary: a Mass and lunch on the feast of St. Scholastica, foundress of the women's side of the Benedictine order.

Feast of Saint Scholastica

On Sunday, 10 February, Benedictines celebrate the holy life of Saint Scholastica of Nursia. Her twin brother, Saint Benedict, is the Patriarch of Western Monasticism.

"Whether or not the great Patriarch established a nunnery, it is certain that in a short time he was looked upon as a guide and father to the many convents already existing. His rule was almost universally adopted by them, and with it the title Abbess came into general use to designate the superior of a convent of nuns" (Cath. Encyclopedia).

Watercolor of Scholastica and BenedictPope Saint Gregory, in Chapter 33 of Book II of his Dialogues, tells the story of the final meeting between the two siblings. He uses it to teach a lesson in the efficacy of prayer and the primacy of love. The visit Benedict made to his sister suggests that their monasteries were not far distant. Such has remained the pattern, and many Brother/Sister monasteries are geographically close. Through collaboration in the apostolate and in prayer, men and women Benedictines support each other in fidelity to the Holy Rule.

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. Saint Benedict was soon thereafter laid to rest beside her in the crypt of Monte Cassino Abbey. "As their souls had always been one in God while they lived, so their bodies continued together after their deaths."

Leadership, Management, and the RB

The Pontifical Athenæum of Sant'Anselmo will host the course, “Leadership and Management and The Rule of Saint Benedict,” in Rome, 16-28 September 2013. The course, focussed not on theories but practices, is open to all monks, sisters, and lay people who occupy a position of responsibility inside monastic communities. The course is presented jointly by the International Monastic Institute, Sant'Anselmo, Rome, and the Faculty of Business and Management, University of St. Gall, Switzerland. For more information visit the website or download the PDF brochure about the course.

January 2013

Salzburg Monks Elect New Archabbot

On 30 January 2013 the monks of St. Peter Archabbey, Austria, elected Prior Korbinian Birnbacher OSB, 46, to succeed P. Benedikt Röck, 54, who had led the monastery as administrator since 2010. After study in Salzburg and Rome and ordination in 1994, Archabbot Korbinian  served the community as novice master, archivist, pastor, curator of art, and, since 2009, as prior. Archbishop Dr. Alois Kothgasser SDB will impart the abbatial blessing, 21 April 2013.

Abbot Martin Announces Retirement

Abbot Ordinary Martin Werlen OSB, 51, announces his plans to resign at the end of 2013. The election of his sucessor as leader of the Territorial Abbey of Einsiedeln, Switzerland, will probably be held in November 2013. He cited the effects of a sporting accident in January 2012. He wrote his moving appeal for reform in the Church, "Discovering Together the Embers under the Ashes," during his convalescence. The title echoes a phrase from Cardinal Martini's last interview.

Ettal Abbey's Good Example

Athough Richard Cardinal Marx, the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, and the German Bishops' Conference have broken relations with Christian Pfeiffer, the criminologist conducting research into allegations of sexual misconduct, the monks of Ettal Abbey working in consort with an alumni victims' association, look forward to the report from the research institute investigating the school. The report is expected to be made public March 2013.


+ Rev. Anscar Chupungco OSB

Abbot Tarcisio Narciso OSB has informed the Abbot Primate about the death of Fr. Anscar Chupungco OSB, 73,, former president of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy and rector of the Ateneo Sant'Anselmo, Rome. He had also served as consultor in the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments, and had lectured to bishops’ conferences and assemblies of the clergy in the US, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Father Anscar died from a heart attack early in the morning, 9 January 2013, at the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy in Malaybalay. The body will return to the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat, Manila, for the Mass of Christian Burial, Tuesday, 15 January. Read the obituary published by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. May choirs of angels welcome him into Paradise.

Beuron Archabbey Celebrates 150 Years

Augustian canons first settled at Beuron at the end of the eleventh century. They were forced to dissolve the foundation by the 1902 laws of secularization. The last canon, Abbot Dominikus Maier, died 1823 and is buried in the nave of St. Martin Archabbey Church. From 1802 until the arrival of two Benedictines, a novice, and a Brother in 1863, the property belonged to the princely house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. One of the highlights of the sesquicentennial will be the homily that Most Rev. Robert Zollitsch, Archbishop of Freiburg im Breisgau, will deliver at Pentecost. Archabbot Tutilo Burger OSB provides more details about the special year in an interview with Vera Romeu for the Schwäbische Zeitung (2 Jan. 2013).

What's New OSB
What's New auf Deutsch: Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).

What Was New OSB (1995-; archive). October, November, and December 2012.

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


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