First Quarter 2001
The one thousandth anniversary of the birth of Santo Domingo de Silos is fast approaching. This saint, known in English as Dominic of Silos (namesake of the more recent Saint Dominic de Guzman (1170-1221), founder of the Dominicans), was the restorer of the celebrated Benedictine Abbey in Burgos, Spain. In order to mark this anniversary appropriately, the Abbey of Silos and the University of Burgos are preparing to sponsor an International Congress on the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos.
The Congress will take place at sites in Burgos and at Silos itself during the first two weeks of October, 2001. The series of day-long offerings will address the historic, cultural, artistic and spiritual aspects that have made the Abbey of Silos one of the international "points of reference" for monastic life. For further information, please see: <www.ubu.es/convocatorias/silos.htm>.
Benet Lake Elects
On Friday, 23 March, the President of the Swiss-American Congregation presided at and confirmed the election of Abbot Edmund Boyce OSB, 63, by the solemnly professed monks of St. Benedict's Abbey, Benet Lake, Wisconsin.
Benedictine superiors are raising consciousness concerning the sexual abuse of consecrated women, especially in Africa. The National Catholic Reporter mentions the work of Abbot Primate Notker Wolf OSB and Federation President Esther Fangman OSB fostering knowledge and discussion of sensitive issues in monastic communities. Officials in Rome respond to reliable reports of clerical sexual abuse at curial pace. "The Holy See is handling the question in cooperation with the bishops, the Union of Superiors General, and the International Union of General Superiors. Work is being done in the double sense of forming persons and solving particular cases." The Superiors issued a statement on 22 March.
On Wednesday, 21 March, Benedictines celebrate the Transitus of Saint Benedict. St. Gregory the Great records his death as follows:
Benedict commanded his monks to carry him into the oratory, where he armed himself with receiving the body and blood of our Saviour Christ; and having his weak body held up by the hands of his disciples, he stood with his own hands lifted up to heaven. As he was in that manner praying, he gave up the ghost.
Upon which two monks, one being in his cell, and the other far distant, had the self-same vision concerning him: for they saw all the way from the holy man's cell, towards the east even up to heaven, hung and adorned with tapestry, and shining with an infinite number of lamps, at the top whereof a man, reverently attired, stood and demanded if they knew who passed that way, to whom they answered saying, that they knew not. Then he spoke thus to them: "This is the way, by which the beloved servant of God, Benedict, has ascended up to heaven" (Dialogues, Book II, c. 37).
Peter Gilmour, writing in the July 1996 issue of US Catholic, suggested compelling reasons for making Saint Benedict the patron saint of Cyberspace: "Saint Benedict: 1,500 years ahead of his time." The wireless, instantaneous, distantly shared, coincidental audovisual message prefigures the promised Internet at its best.
On Friday, 16 March, at 10:00 P.M. ET, CNN Tonight devoted significant time to the "Catholic Crisis?" Reporters visited with some of the Benedictine sisters, oblates and candidates of Sacred Heart Monastery, Cullman, Alabama. Segments of the original broadcast were repeated in later programs.
Renew and Create
The Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict at Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, MN, have re-designed and re-organized their website. It features a virtual tour of the monastery, their Art and History, and information about the Scholars in Residence program.
Monks gathered recently to elect new superiors in Germany and The Philippines. On 6 March, Prior Theodor Hogg OSB became the new Archabbot of St. Martin, Beuron, Germany. Abbot Theodor was born in 1941, professed first monastic vows in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1967. He succeeds Erzabt Hieronymus Nitz OSB, 72, elected in 1980. Hoch soll er leben!
Abbot Placid Spearrit OSB, Visitator for the Phillipine Province of the Subiaco Congregation, presided at the election on 7 March of Abbot Tarcisio Narciso OSB, 61. After confirmation of the election in Rome on Sunday, 11 March, Abbot Tarcisio was installed on Monday evening. He succeeds Prior Administrator Paul de Vera OSB, elected 8 February 1998. The community will celebrate the abbatial blessing on 31 March. Ad multos annos!
L'Abbaye Saint Benoît de Port-Valais announces a new website address at <www.abbaye-saint-benoit.ch/>. It includes informative sections about "Hagiographie," especially those beatified or canonized since Pope Pius XII, and "La Médaille de St-Benoît."
Breaking Bread 2
Father Dominic Garramone OSB, the bread-baking monk of St. Bede Abbey, Peru, Illinois, has published the second volume of his Breaking Bread With Father Dominic. National TV program schedule of his show, featured recipes and other treats are available at Fr. Dominic's website.
No, sir! at Big Sur, CA
The Camaldolese monks occupy the still center of an ecological controversy of federal proportion. Condors and the monks are threatened with a 47-week progam of U.S. Navy avionic bombing exercises to be located east of Lucia, CA.
Fr. Anthony Ruff OSB, founder and chaplain, announces 19 March as the application deadline for the National Catholic Youth Choir. The program that runs from 8-24 June 2001 includes a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, to sing at the Mass that closes a meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on 16 June.
For eight years, numerous Benedictines have been participating in an important study of Alzheimer's Disease. "The study follows almost 900 nuns, priests and monks from as young as 65 until their deaths. All agreed that after they die, their brains will be donated so that researchers can study them in great detail." The men and women monastics in two Illinois communities were featured on TV late in February during the NBC News with Peter Jennings. Robert Bazell writes about the study at Saint Procopius Abbey and Sacred Heart Monastery, Lisle, in his "Healthbeat" column at the MSNBC website.
The Benedictine abbey of Michaelbeuron, near Salzburg, Austria, announces the opening of a website at <www.abtei-michaelbeuern.at/>. Michaelbeuron belongs to the Austrian Congregation. Monastic life has flourished at "Buria" since 736. Today the monks maintain a boarding school, a retreat house, and five parishes.
The Advent of Lent
On 28 February, the Holy Father will visit the stational Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill for the celebration of Ash Wednesday. The ceremony begins at 5:00 P.M. with a penitential procession that forms at Sant'Anselmo, the international Benedictine house of studies. Blessed Pope John XXIII revived the custom of a Lenten pilgrimage to the major churches of Rome in the 1960's.
Saint Andrew's Abbey, Bruges, Belgium, announces a new address for the website at <www.sint-andriesabdij.org/>.
The Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica's Monastery, Duluth, and St. Paul's Monastery, St. Paul, have re-designed or created websites. Duluth, at <www.DuluthBenedictines.org/>, includes many more photographs and expanded sections for Oblates, vocations and the McCabe Renewal Center.
St. Paul's Monastery website at <www.stpaulsmonastery.org/> provides information about the Benedictine Center where they "offer the warmth of their monastic home and peaceful grounds to persons of all faiths, cultural traditions and races, to 'listen with the ear of your heart.'" Their urban Meditation Center provides an oasis of silence downtown, and the monastery serves as the national center for M.O.M.S., the Ministry of Mothers Sharing.
The current issue of the American Monastic Newsletter features summer opportunities for monastic formation or continuing education. Members of the American Benedictine Academy receive three issues per year.
10 February is the feast of Saint Scholastica, Religious Founder and twin sister of St. Benedict. The image at right is a detail of the fresco inside the richly decorated cave at Subiaco where Benedict first lived as a monk. The monastery dedicated to Santa Scolastica at Subiaco housed the first printing press in Italy in 1463.
On the night of 2 February, the Benedictine women of Our Lady of the Desert, Abiquiu, New Mexico, began their formal canonical relationship with Jamberoo Abbey, New South Wales, Australia. After a year of novitiate, the oblates will be able to make profession as Benedictine nuns. Our Lady of the Desert is closely associated with Christ in the Desert Abbey (Subiaco).
With Hearts Expanded is a history of the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, MN, from 1957 to 2000. Four Sisters of Saint Benedict's Monastery -- Evin Rademacher OSB, Emmanuel Renner OSB, Olivia Forster OSB and Carol Berg OSB -- cooperated to produce the volume. Hardback ($24.95) or paperbound ($14.95) copies are available from the CSB/SJU Bookstores or by phoning (320) 363-7074.
Visitors to the website for the Benedictine Sisters of Erie can listen to the title song from the CD/tape, "Te Deum - Chants of Praise," recently released by the Sisters through Benetvision. Sister Mary David Callahan OSB wrote the twenty-nine hymns and canticles sung by the monastic schola. She does so in a noble tradition of Benedictine women musicians that includes, among many others, Hildegard of Bingen and Milan's Chiara Margarita Cozzolani OSB.
The Benedictines of Saint Joseph Monastery in Oklahoma unveil their website at <http://www.tulsaosb.org/>. "Monastic Life Choices" discusses both the consecrated and the oblate modes of Benedictine life.
Jane Frith OblSB has been instrumental in finding a new home for the Oblate Forum. The website at <www.oblateforum.org/>, managed by a team of oblates, allows members to follow the discussion either through individual e-mail messages, as a daily digest or as an ordered archive on the Web.
Saint Scholastica Monastery, Fort Smith, Arkansas, recently acquired a unique domain name: <www.stscho.org/>.
The Benedictine nuns of Rosheim, Alsace, welcome visitors to their website at <www.benedictines-rosheim.com/Accueil/Accueil.htm>. Today, 900 women trace their community and Eucharistic spirituality to Catherine de Bar, Mère Mectilde du Saint-Sacrement (1614-98).
Mount Saviour Monastery in Pine City, NY, announces a new web address: <www.msaviour.org/>.
Le Monastère Bénédictin de Ganagobie (Solesmes) maintains an informative website at <www.ndganagobie.com/monastere.htm>.
The Benedictine women of Monastero di Santa Maria Madre della Chiesa e di San Benedetto invite religiously inspired guests to their house outside Pisa, Italy. The website at <www.geocities.com/benedettine_pisa/> documents the baking and distribution of altar breads.
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