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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

July, August, and September 2016

Rev. 07 November 2016


September 2016

M. Wilde
Prior Mauritius OSB
New Prior at Sant'Anselmo, Roma

Abbot Primate Gregory Polan OSB has appointed Father Mauritius Wilde OSB, until now prior of Christ the King Priory, Schuyler, Nebraska, the next prior at Sant'Anselmo. Father Mauritius succeeds Abbot President Elias Lorenzo OSB as priore.

Father Joel Macul OSB is the new prior of the Schuyler Ottilien community. He had served previously as Abbot of St. Paul's Abbey in Newton, NJ.

Monastic Interreligious Dialogue: Books and Video

Dilatato Corde -- the name comes from the Prologue of the RB and means "with an expanded heart" -- is the multi-lingual, bi-annual, on-line journal of DIMMID that focuses on the dialogue of religious experience and practice and is the main feature of the DIMMID website: <>. The major articles of the first five years have been published in book form.

As a special offer, DIMMID is making these five volumes available to monastic communities at half price: $100.00 for all five.

Any monastery may purchase these printed volumes of Dilatato Corde by going to the website, clicking on "Add to cart," and then following the instructions for paying with a credit card. The cost of shipping will be automatically added to the bill.

If any monastery wishes to pay by check, it should be made out to Lantern Books for $120 ($100 for the books; $20 for shipping). The order and payment should be sent to

Lantern Books
128 2nd Place
Brooklyn, NY 11231-4102

DIMMID Documentary

"Strangers No More" (52:53), the 2015 documentary film on Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, is now available on YouTube. The easiest way to access it is to follow the linked title above. One can also go to the DIMMID homepage and click on the French or English links provided in the "News" sidebar at right.

G A TamayoNew Abbot President for Subiaco Cassinese Congregation

The General Chapter of the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation elected, 22 September 2016, Father Guillermo Arboleda Tamayo OSB, 60, abbot of the Abbey of Santa Maria of Medellin and administrator of Guatapè (Colombia) to be the new abbot president. He succeeds Abbot Bruno who has served as abbot president since 2004. Abbot Guillermo becomes the first abbot president of the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation from the Americas.

The Conventual Priory of Santa María de la Epifanía (Guatapè), Rionegro-Antioquia, Colombia, elected Dom Guillermo in 1991. The community elected him as their first abbot in 1999. Then in 2014, he took on the administration of the Abbey of Santa Maria of Medellin, before being postulated to become the abbot of the community (Catholic News Live).

Olivetans Re-Elect Abbot General

21 September 2016, during the first session of the General Chapter, the delegates re-elected Dom Diego Maria Rosa OSB Oliv., 66, as abbot general of the Congregation Monte Oliveto Maggiore. The Holy Father named Abbot General Diego Maria OSB Oliv. the abbot ordinary of the territorial abbey, 21 October 2010. Until then, Dom Diego had been abbot of S. Maria del Pilastrello in Lendinara.

PrimasCongress Elects Abbot Primate Gregory Polan OSB

Saturday, 10 September 2016, the Congress of Abbots elected Father Gregory Polan OSB, Abbot of Conception Abbey, Missouri, to become the tenth abbot primate. His acceptance of the election resulted in the beginning of his eight-year term as abbot primate. He had professed vows as a monk of Conception Abbey, 28 August 1971; the monks elected him ninth abbot of Conception, 6 November 1996. 

Abbot Gregory, 66, “has led Conception Abbey for twenty years as its abbot.  He served as President-Rector of Conception Seminary College for ten years.” 

A student of Scripture and Theology, Abbot Gregory has been recognized in the field of Biblical translation. “His recent work has included translations for the New American Bible and a complete translation of the Book of Psalms resulting in the Revised Grail Psalter,” planned for use in the approved liturgical books. Ad multos annos!

Pope Francis and the Monastics

Pope Francis received in audience, 8 September 2016, the 250 abbots and abbesses in Rome for the Congress of Abbots that will elect a new abbot primate. He urges the Benedictines to maintain their monasteries as "oases of the spirit" (Vatican News; full address in Italian; The Pilot). Abbot Primate Notker Wolf OSB, near the end of his term, speaks about the Rule of St. Benedict for lay men and women (YouTube).

Greg Great S. Gregorius Magnus OSB

Saturday, 3 September, is the feast of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome. At Downside and other Benedictine academies, the feast day of this Doctor of the Church heralds for many the joys of the intellectual life.

What we know of Saint Benedict (480-547) comes from the Second Book of the Dialogues written by Pope St. Gregory the Great  (ca. 540-604). 

August 2016

Ampleforth Abbot Steps Down

Abbot Cuthbert Madden OSB stepped aside from his duties "temporarily" during an investigation that examines allegations. Prior Terence Richardson OSB is delegated to Dom Cuthbert’s role at Ampleforth Abbey while he is absent.

Sacred Heart Celebrates Centennial

Linda Sailer writes for the Dickinson Press (28 August 2016) about the monastic women remembering the 100 years of Sacred Heart Monastery, Richardton, North Dakota, as an independent Benedictine community. The liturgical celebration of the centennial will be led by Most Rev. David Kagan, Bishop of Bismarck, 23 October 2016. 

New Address for American-Cassinese

The American-Cassinese Congregation has launched its website with a new domain name:  <>.

Prior Nikodemus
Prior Administrator Nikodemus
Subprior Named Prior Administrator for Dormition Abbey

At the conclusion of the visitation in the Congregation of the Annunciation, 28 August 2016, the abbot president, Dom Ansgar Schmidt OSB, charged Subprior Father Nikodemus Schnabel OSB with the responsibilities of prior-admnistrator for 18 months ( Spring 2018 the monks will convene to elect an abbot to succeed Abbot Emeritus Gregory Collins OSB, who resigned unexpectedly, June 2016.

End of Term for Abbot Primate

9 September 2016 is the last day in office for Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf OSB, 76 ( The Congress of Abbots first elected Abbot Notker on 7 September 2000; they re-elected him 25 September 2008 and 21 September 2012. Having travelled the world over supporting Benedictine communities, Abbot Notker also authored several books. His talents as a musician are legendary.  10 September, the Congress of Abbots elects the next abbot primate.

Annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

On Sunday at the Angelus in Rome, 28 August, Pope Francis reminded the people, "This coming Thursday, September 1st, we will mark the World Day of Prayer for the care of creation, together with our Orthodox brothers and with other Churches," describing the event as, "an opportunity to strengthen the common commitment to safeguard life, respecting the environment and nature" (Vatican Radio).

6.2 Earthquake Recorded 10 km SE of Norcia, Italy

Norcia (Nursia) is the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica. The earthquake that shook the region of Umbria happened Wednesday, 24 August 2016, 01:36 UTC (3:36 a.m. local time). The Monastery of St. Benedict "is physically located above the 5th century ruins of the house of St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica, and has been the location of monastic communities since the tenth century AD. Today the Monks of Norcia care for the spiritual, pastoral, and temporal needs of approximately 50,000 pilgrims from around the world who annually visit the birthplace of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica. In light of seismic activity, the monks have temporarily transferred to Sant'Anselmo, Rome as a precautionary measure.

There have been dozens of strong aftershocks, and at least 73 have been killed by the earthquake. The epicenter was Norcia, near Rieti, not far from Perugia. Hardest hit were the small towns and villages in the mountainous area where the regions of Umbria, Lazio, and Le Marche meet.  Update:  By 28 August, almost 300 people are known to have died.

Independence and Election at Kristo Buase

The monks of Kristo Buase Monastery are happy to announce that on 6 August 2016, the patronal feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Abbot President Bruno of the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation raised Kristo Buase to the status of priory sui juris. This new title means that Kristo Buase now becomes an independent monastery within the English Province, and is no longer a dependent house of Prinknash Abbey, Gloucester, UK.

On 15 August 2016 the conventual chapter of Kristo Buase Monastery elected Very Rev. Dom Bede Kierney OSB as prior. Abbot President Bruno confirmed the prior in office, 17 August 2016. Dom Bede automatically transfers his stability from Pluscarden Abbey to Kristo Buase. Dom Bede is currently resident in Scotland. He hopes to arrive in Ghana on 31 August. In the interim, Dom Gabriel Peh OSB has taken up administration of Kristo Buase Monastery as sub-prior.

Abbot BrendanGlenstal Monks Elect New Abbot

On Saturday, 13 August 2015, the monks of Glenstal Abbey, Ireland, elected Fr. Brendan Coffey OSB, 46, to succeed Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman OSB, fifth abbot, 2008-16.  Abbot Brendan served as prior of Glenstal, 2007-15, and pursued doctoral studies in Liturgy at The Catholic University of America for the academic year, 2015-16, The abbatial blessing will occur Saturday, 5 November 2016, after renovation of the abbey church is completed. Abbot President Ansgar Schmidt OSB of the Annunciation Congregation presided and confirmed the election.

HMML Preserves Manuscripts in the Middle East

Matteo Fagotto writes about Fr. Columba Stewart OSB and the work of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library in the Middle East for The National (UAE; 11 August 2016).  HMML based in Collegeville, Minnesota, and dedicated to the digital preservation of endangered manuscripts around the world has been active in the field since 1965 and nowadays hosts the world’s largest collection of images of manuscripts, made of 140,000 samples saved on microfilm and digital format.

"Under Columba’s direction, the HMML has been particularly active in the Middle East, working in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Jerusalem to digitize thousands of manuscripts of all confessions, from Coptic to Maronite and Armenian, from Greek Catholic to Latin. In 2013, the organisation took the landmark decision of starting to digitize Islamic material as well."

Agbang Priory Becomes Abbey

On 6 August 2016, traditionally kept as the patronal feast of the monastery, Most Rev. Jacques Danka Longa, the Bishop of Kara, Togo, consecrated the new church of Agbang Monastery, assisted by the bishops of Dapaong and Sokodé. The building has seats for more than 70 monks and 200 faithful. Seating outside the circular structure accommodates additional congregants. The Ottilien monasteries of Münsterschwarzach, Schuyler, and Uznach financed its construction.

Following a thoughtful discussion with the monks, 8 August, Abbot President Jeremias Schröder OSB announced the conventual priory has been raised to the staus of an abbey. On 10 August, the monks elected Fr. Romain Botta OSB, 48, secretary of the Ottilien Congregation since 2012. Abbot Romain will continue as secretary until the general chapter, October 2016.

Abbot Aidan - Archbishop Wester - Abbot Joel, O Praem.

Blessing of New Abbot for Pecos

30 July 2016 Most Rev. John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, conferred the abbatial blessing on Father Aidan Gore OSB Oliv. The monks of Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey, Pecos, NM, had elected Abbot Aidan, 30 June 2016. Until the election he had served as the prior of Pecos monastery, a member of the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation.

July 2016

Kylemore Abbey Partners with University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame, Indiana, has accepted the invitation from Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland, to extend its Irish Studies program in a new partnership. Abbess Maire Hickey OSB said, “I am delighted that the University of Notre Dame has responded favorably to our invitation to join our community in advancing our educational and spiritual mission. I have high hopes that this partnership will yield rich fruits for generations to come.” This summer students will visit Connemara starting “a 30-year lease with the Benedictines which will entail renovating almost a fifth of the Abbey's floor space for the specialised use” (Their Irish World, July 13, 2016).

Solemnity of Saint Benedict

Benedict, author Benedictines and their friends remember Saint Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism and Co-Patron of Europe, Monday, 11 July 2016.

Born 480 A.D., his Rule for Monasteries brought order and creativity to a world of decadence and corruption. The manuscript illustration at left depicts our Founder posed at a writing desk as a scribe.

The office hymn, Gemma caelestis recalls his vision of the death of his twin sister, Scholastica, and the sequence, Laeta quies, poetically recalls incidents of Benedict’s life in the light of scriptural precedents.

Many monasteries use the July date for the profession of vows. Congratulations to the many Benedictine men and women making first or perpetual commitments or celebrating jubilees of monastic profession.

Elizabeth Cameron Galbraith's essay posted at Pray Tell, reviews some aspects of Benedictine vocation and profession.

Jubilee of Mercylogo

8 December 2015 began the Jubilee of Mercy. Opening of the Holy Door in the Vatican Basilica is the official act of the Holy Father inaugurating the jubilee that concludes on the Feast of Christ the King, 20 November 2016. In the words of Pope Francis, "On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope."

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with His anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.

--Pope Francis, from his Prayer for the Jubilee of Mercy.

What's New OSB
What's New auf Deutsch: Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).
What Was New OSB, July, August, September 2016, and previous quarters (1995-; archive).

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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