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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

October, November, and December 2016

Rev. 11 January 2017


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December 2016

Damme Priory Closes

Citing lack of monastic personnel and insufficient funds for necessary renovation, Prior Stephen Veith OSB announced the decision of the chapter of Münsterschwarzach Abbey to close the priory of Damme in Oldenburg, northern Germany, effective 31 December 2016. The Ottilien monks had been at Damme for 54 years, creating a retreat and conference center that sponsored 90 programs. In spring 2017, the property will re-open under new lay management. Fourteen hundred particpants bade farewell at St.-Viktor-Kirche in a gala civic, prelatical, and ecumenical celebration.

New Abbot at Olinda

On Monday, 5 December 2016, the monks of São Bento de Olinda, Brazil, elected Dom Luiz Pedro Soares OSB, 69, as the 107th abbot. He had served as prior-administrator since 13 December 2013. Dom Filipe da Silva OSB, Abbot of Rio de Janeiro and President of the Brazilian Congregation, presided and confirmed the election. The Most. Rev. Dom Antônio Fernando Saburido OSB, Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, confers the abbatial blessing on Abbot Luiz, Thursday, 27 December 2016.

Monasticism in China

For Liturgical Press, Sophia Senyk and William Skudlarek OSB translated Christian Monks on Chinese Soil: A History of Monastic Missions to China by Matteo Nicolini-Zani. Nicolini-Zani is a member of the ecumenical Monastic Community of Bose (Italy). A student of Chinese language and literature, his main interest of research is the history of Christianity in China, a topic about which he has published several articles and books. Nicolini-Zani is coordinator of the Italian Commission of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.

Rule of Benedict: New Translation and Commentary cover

12 December 2016, Liturgical Press publishes The Rule of Benedict: An Invitation to the Christian Life by Abbot Georg Holzherr OSB JCD (Einsiedeln). Abbot Georg has drastically revised this seventh edition of his Benedictusregel that serves as the basis for this commentary "using up-to-date research methods and the latest translations of ancient monastic texts. At the same time, this commentary is meant not only for experts in the field of ancient monasticism but also for all lay and monastic readers interested in delving into the teachings and spirituality of Saint Benedict and his spiritual predecessors in the East and in the West."

The translation by Fr. Mark Thamert OSB (Collegeville) "features a completely revised and expanded introduction and commentary. New research in the field of early monasticism is offered, including new insights into the monastic life of women. Finally, the updated bibliography and a detailed index are valuable tools for anyone wanting to explore the extraordinary world of Saint Benedict."

Neresheim Abbey Keeps the Money

The high court (Oberlandesgericht Stuttgart) in Baden-Württemberg, upheld the decision of a lower court, Landgericht Ellwangen, concerning denial of the claims worth one million euros against the mysterious legacy of four million euros accrued by the deceased Abbot Norbert Stoffels OSB of Neresheim Abbey, Germany. The court declared the claims were unproven so the Beuronese monks of Neresheim are now free to use the windfall to continue badly needed restoration projects.

November 2016

Primate Replaces Prior at Norcia

Abbot Primate Gregory J. Polan OSB appointed, 22 November 2016, Father Benedict Nivakoff OSB to succeed Prior Dom Cassian Folsom OSB, 61, founder of the Monastery of St. Benedict (Norcia, Italy), the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica. Father Cassian explained, "The earthquakes of the past several months have presented us with incredible challenges, which require vigorous, creative leadership. While I am in good health at the moment, I do not have the strength or energy necessary to meet these challenges. Therefore it is time to pass the baton to younger, more energetic hands." Dom Cassian had been the founding superior for 18 years. Prior Benedict, 67, a priest since 2008, had been serving as novice master.

New Abbot for Conception

Abbot Benedict osb The monks of Conception Abbey, Missouri, elected Father Benedict Neenan  OSB PhD, 67, to become the monastery's tenth abbot, Tuesday, 22 November 2016. Abbot Benedict succeeds Abbot Gregory J. Polan OSB, who was elected Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation in early September 2016. Abbot Gregory had served as abbot since 6 November 1996.  Right Rev. Vincent Bataille OSB, president of the Swiss-American Congregation, monitored and confirmed the election; he had been the principal celebrant for the Mass of the Holy Spirit that preceded it.

Abbot Benedict had served as prior, vocations director, retreat-master, rector/president, and director of development, overseeing the management of Conception Abbey’s apostolates and development. Abbot Benedict is the author of Thomas Verner Moore: Psychiatrist, Educator and Monk, a publication concerning Moore’s work in psychology and its helpfulness to the Roman Catholic Church.

Close of the Jubilee of Mercy

Sunday, 20 November 2016, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, marks the close of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica and the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy.

Abbot Paul re-elected at Belmont Abbey, UK

The monks of Belmont Abbey re-elected Rt. Rev. Abbot Paul Stonham OSB for another eight-year term as is cutomary in the English Benedictine Congregation.

American Monastic Newsletter

The October 2016 issue of The American Monastic Newsletter is available online as a PDF document. Father Dan Ward OSB JCL returns as a guest columnist discussing canonical issues connected with fragile communities. The issue concludes with a membership form. Memberships in the American Benedictine Academy run from January to January.

October 2016

Basilica San Benedetto Destroyed

Basilica in ruins

On Sunday, 30 October 2016, ca. 7:40 a.m., a 6.6 earthquake destroyed the Basilica San Benedetto, first constructed between 1290 and 1338, that honored the birthplace of Saint Benedict. None of the monks were injured. Only the facade of the church remains. The monks are likely to play a central role in the eventual rebuilding of Norcia and had begun an appeal on their website before Sunday's quake. There are currently no reports of deaths following the shock on Sunday morning.

The epicentre of the quake was about 40 miles (68km) south-west of Perugia and close to the town of Norcia, which was already reeling from a series of large quakesLa Stampa reports that six injured people have been recovered from the rubble in Norcia. Aftershocks hit every 20 minutes or so (BBC News).

Friends of Saint Benedict

The annual symposium of the Friends of Saint Benedict is devoted to "Benedictine Wisdom and Sacred Humanitas," featuring Sister Donald Corcoran OSB Cam., 4-5 November 2016, St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Washington, DC. Sister Donald will articulate her vision of sacred humanitas, grounded in the Benedictine wisdom tradition and drawing on the wisdom traditions of other faiths as well. More information is available at the website.

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

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