What Was New!
Second Quarter 2001
Monastic E-Mail Directory
S. Jill Maria Murdy OSB (Richardton, ND) has updated the data in the Monastic E-Mail Directory. If you are a monastic who would like to be included, or if you would like to submit additions or corrections, please use the online registration form.
American-Cassinese Elect President
Abbot Timothy Kelly OSB, ninth abbot of Saint John's Abbey, was elected President of the American-Cassinese Congregation of Benedictine Monasteries of Men on 22 June. The election came at the conclusion of the Congregation's forty-seventh General Chapter held 17-22 June at Saint John's, Collegeville, Minn.
New Czech Cistercian Monastery
Julie V. Iovine writes in "Where Minimalism Is a Calling" about the building of a new Cistercian monastery in the Czech Republic. Our Lady of Novy Dvur, between Karlsbad and Prague, is the "first in the 21st century and only the sixth Cistercian monastery to be built since 1900" (New York Times, 14 June). A project of the Cistercian Abbey of Sept-Fons, the French and Czech monks have chosen the English architect, John Pawson, "famous for his minimalist temple to cool commercialism, the Calvin Klein flagship store on Madison Avenue." The five million dollar project, to be inhabited August 2002, incorporates a pre-existing Baroque manor house and courtyard, but the austere church is new.
Abt Bernhard Naber OSB Re-elected
On Friday, 15 June, the twelve monks of the Austrian abbey of Altenburg re-elected Abbot Bernhard Naber OSB, 66, for a third twelve-year term. In 2000 the government of Lettland recognized Abbot Bernhard's special care for the poor of that formerly Communist country. He plans to continue and expand that pastoral work.
Subiaco Website Re-located
The new address for the website maintained by the monks of Subiaco, Italy, is <www.benedettini-subiaco.it/>.
Election in Cleveland
On 8 June, the monks of Saint Andrew Abbey, Cleveland, OH, elected Fr. Clement Zeleznik OSB as their fifth abbot. Born in 1931, Abbot Clement made first profession in 1953 and was ordained in 1959. He is eligible to attend the Forty-seventh General Chapter of the American-Cassinese Congregation meeting 17-22 June at Collegeville where he studied philosophy as an undergraduate.
Belgian Trial of Rwandans
All four defendants, including two Benedictine Sisters, were found guilty of war crimes in a Belgian court on Thursday, 7 June. The sisters were accused of "helping Hutu militia massacre thousands of Tutsi refugees in Rwanda's 1994 genocide." The prosecutors sought the sentence of life imprisonment, but on Friday Sister Gertrude, also known as Consolata Mukangango, received a 15-year sentence for her role in the massacre of Tutsis seeking refuge at her convent at Sovo in southern Rwanda. Sister Maria Kisito, also known as Julienne Mukabutera received a 12-year sentence. "The trial, which lasted almost eight weeks, was the first in which a jury of ordinary citizens had sat in judgment of war crimes committed in another country" (CNN.com).
Schwester Aquinata Böckmann OSB concludes the academic year in Rome by forwarding corrections and additions to her "Bibliography for Students of the Rule." Citations for chapters 1-7 of the Rule have been expanded and a new section, "Vocabuli / Terms," has been added.
The National Catholic Reporter devotes the cover story of the 1 June issue to the Saint John's Bible. Patricia Lefevre writes "Word by Word" about the handwritten Bible commissioned by Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville.
Early Evidence of Cenobites
Karel Innemee reports speculations about the monastic excavations at Wadi al-Natrun where hermits of St. Macarius first congregated mid-fourth century. In the ninth century, a defensive tower from the fifth century was enhanced by a perimeter wall, signaling for the archaeologists from Leiden University, the location of "Egypt's Oldest Monastery" (Egypt Revealed, May/June 2001).
Rule for Monasteries Re-issued
In celebration of its seventy-fifth year of successful Catholic publishing, The Liturgical Press issues a new edition of Leonard Doyle's 1948 translation of The Rule of St. Benedict, edited and introduced by David Cotter OSB. For many years, Leonard J. Doyle OblSB (1914-1970) was a gifted translator of German, French, Latin and Italian works for The Liturgical Press. His translation of the third edition of Dom Cuthbert Butler OSB's critical Latin text (Herder, 1935) has remained in print ever since its appearance as St. Benedict's Rule for Monasteries. Currently in its twentieth printing, it has sold nearly 160,000 copies. Designed by Frank Kacmarcik OblSB, the highly legible book and ribbon marker are casebound with leaf foil stamps. The original edition's division into sense lines is printed in two colors on 70 pound natural vellum finish sheet. The traditional dates for a thrice-yearly reading are included discreetly in the margins. (Hardcover, 176 pp., 6 x 9, $24.95).
S. Linda Herndon OSB, writes about "The Computer's Edge" in the current issue of Review for Religious (May/June 2001). To stimulate further discussion, she introduces some of the social and ethical issues in the computer world, raising some questions, and proposing some practical responses. Linda, an Atchison Benedictine, writes from Madison, Wisconsin, where she is a doctoral candidate.
The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City tells the moving story of its "Benedictine Beginning" on its website. The hardships of pioneer life in the Indian Territory were compounded by the severe asceticism of the early monks from Pierre-qui-Vire Abbey in France. The abbey was transferred from the Congregation of the Primitive Observance to the American-Cassinese Congregation on 8 January 1924. Its titular was changed from Sacred Heart to Saint Gregory in 1929.
Pentecost in Austria
There are still tickets available for many of the concerts that make the International Baroque Days, 1-4 June, at Stift Melk an important cultural event. The theme for the tenth year of Pentecost concerts is "Europa zu Gast." A 3-CD Sampler provides highlights of perfomances in 1999/2000.
Since 1997 the Friends of Saint Benedict has been an organization rooted in the Anglican tradition that fosters understanding and personal participation in the Benedictine way of life. The spring issue of the Friends' newsletter, Regula, contains an Easter version of Elizabeth Swenson's "Notes and News." The feature article is an excerpt from Esther M. de Waal 's "Journal of a Journey in South Africa and Namibia." The Friends sponsor "A Benedictine Experience" at various locations throughout the year.
Saint Leo Abbey Church
The monks and people of Saint Leo, Florida, are seeking a state grant to support the badly needed renovation of Saint Leo Abbey Church. Most at risk are the stained-glass windows designed and executed by Florida artist, Karl Mueller.
News from Europe
Fr. Georg Ross OSB (Ettal Abbey) sends news about two new websites for Benedictine women. One is maintained by the Benedictines of the Blessed Sacrament in Osnabrück: <www.benediktinerinnen-osnabrueck.de/>. The other is devoted to the Sisters of Saint Alban at Diessen am Ammersee: <www.kloster-st-alban.de/>. The common page for Benedictine men in Germany has been expanded to include indices for Switzerland/Italy and Austria. The Union of Benedictine Women in the German-Speaking Areas maintains a website at <www.benediktinerinnen.de/>. A similar common website for the Benedictines of The Low Countries (De Lage Landen: The Netherlands and Belgium) is also available at <www.monasteria.org/>. It includes excerpts of the Rule of Benedict in Dutch.
On 19 May 2001 the Benedictine monks of Niederaltaich Abbey (Bavarian) elected P. Marianus Bieber OSB, 43, as their new Abbot. Abbot President Dr. Gregor Zasche OSB presided at and confirmed the election. Abbot Marianus is the 85th Abbot of Niederaltaich; his predecessor, Abbot Emmanuel Hungclaussen, 74, resigned because of his age.
First Abbot Elected
On Friday, 11 May 2001, the chapter of Mvimwa Abbey (Ottilian) elected Fr Basil Ngaponda OSB its first Abbot for a period of twelve years. Fr Basil is 51 years old and is a professed monk of Hanga. From 1985 to 1988 he was Prior Administrator of Hanga Abbey. More recently he was head of the Benedictine Students Community in Morogoro. The blessing will take place on 22 July. May God bless Abbot Basil and his community!
Rémy Rougeau (pseud.) relishes the rural romance of the Trappist milieu in his recently published novel, All We Know of Heaven (May 2001). Rougeau provides a "Diary" entry about the seasons of beekeeping for Slate.com that identifies him as a Benedictine in the upper Midwest.
On 7 May 2001 the Congregation for Divine Worship presented the "Fifth Instruction for the Right Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council: Liturgiam authenticam." The Latin text was accompanied by press releases in English, Italian and Spanish. Vatican translations of the Instruction are available in English and French. Cardinal Jorge A. Medina Estévez and Archbishop Pio Tamburrino, respectively prefect and secretary of the Congregation, signed the forty-page document. Approved by the Holy Father on 20 March 2001, the document came into effect on 25 April. (Selections from Zenit.org.)
Kloster Nütschau has re-designed their website and changed the address to <www.klosternuetschau.de/>. The website features the Beuronese Priory of St. Ansgar, dedicated to the ninth-century Apostle of the North; Haus St. Ansgar, a retreat and conference center; and Jugendhaus St. Benedikt, a rustic meeting-place and dormitory for youth. Founded from Gerleve in 1951, Nütschau became a conventual (independent) priory in 1975. The new monastery building was blessed in 1999 and houses about a dozen monks.
Story of the Stones
Gesta Monastica (Monastic Events) is an online newsletter of the Trappist Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, CA. The first issue tells the tale that "began several years ago when the the Fine Arts Museum of the City of San Francisco awarded the 13th century Spanish Chapter House of Sancta Maria de Ovila to New Clairvaux Abbey. This building, a splendid example of medieval Spanish Cistercian architecture, had been brought, stone by stone, to San Francisco in the 1930's" for William Randolph Hearst. Leigh Weimers updates the story for the San Jose Mercury News (6 May 2001).
Communities of Jerusalem
Patrick Comerford mentions the Parisian monastic Communities of Jerusalem in his "Irishman's Diary." The communities were founded in 1975 by Father Pierre-Marie Delfieux to bring monastic life to the city.
Daily Reflections Online
Fr. Don Talafous OSB, alumni chaplain of Saint John's University, is publishing online the sequel to his popular book, A Word for the Day: Reflections (1992). There are Web links to Fr. Don's "Daily Reflections" at the Spiritual Life and Oblate websites of Saint John's Abbey.
On 21 April, the Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery elected S. Marie Hunkler OSB to be their ninth prioress. She is currently director of spiritual care at St. Benedict's Health Center in Dickinson, ND, a position she has held since 1995. She succeeds S. Paula Larson OSB. Prioress Marie will be blessed and installed in Richardton on Sunday, 3 June.
Maltese Benedictine Declared Venerable
On Monday, 23 April, the Holy Father recognized the heroic virtues of Sr. Maria Adeodata Pisani OSB (1806-1855), of the Monastery of San Pietro a Mdina, Malta. She lived in a cloistered convent for twenty-six years, yet became famous in the island for her holiness and love for the poor. The Holy Father will beatify Sr. Adeodata in Malta at the conclusion of his trip to Greece and Syria early in May. The same document also recognized, among others, 26 Ukranian martyrs. Also acknowledged were the heroic virtues of Fr. Charles de Foucauld, 1858-1916 (zenit.org).
The Benedictine and Trappist Monastic Interreligious Dialog announces that the MID Bulletin #66 (April 2001) is available both online and to subscribers. Fr. James Wiseman OSB (Saint Anselm's Abbey) edits the Bulletin.
S. Joan Chittister OSB, a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pa., a social psychologist and an internationally recognized lecturer and author, addressed the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) 20 April. The conference drew over 12,000 people, more than initially had been expected, said Leonard DeFiore, president of the association. Sister Joan challenged the educators to face the difficult social, economic and spiritual realities surrounding them and to raise the questions that can lead to change.
Salzburg Abbots Conference
P. Korbinian Birnbacher OSB, provides an illustrated report on the Easter meeting of the Salzburger Äbtekonferenz, 17-20 April 2001. Sixty-eight abbots, abbesses, priors and prioresses were joined in Erfurt by Abbot Primate Notker Wolf OSB; J. Wanke, Bishop of Erfurt; and Pastor D. Koller discussing the provocative theme of the conference, "Seeking God among the Godless: monasticism in an areligious society." The report is available at the German Benedictines' website (select SÄZ) maintained by Ettal Abbey.
Ad centos annos
Fr. Angelo Zankl OSB celebrates his centenary! Born 19 April 1901 in Almena, Wisconsin, Fr. Angelo arrived at Collegeville, Minnesota, in 1913. The oldest monk in the American-Cassinese Congregation, he has served seven abbots. He is the first monk of Saint John's Abbey ever to reach this age. In July Fr. Angelo marks the 80th anniversary of his monastic vows and in May the 75th year since his ordination. Congratulations!
Rwandans on Trial
Two Benedictine sisters and two other Rwandans are on trial in Belgium. They are alleged to have taken part in the killings in 1994 of more than 5,000 people who had sought refuge at their convent outside Butare, a southern city in the former Belgian colony. The trial that opened on 18 April is expected to last about six weeks. "The suspects are the first to be charged under a relatively new Belgian law that allows individuals, including non-Belgians, to be tried in Belgium for war crimes committed elsewhere" (CNN/Reuters).
The printed Proceedings of the 2000 ABA Convention entitled "The Good News of Monastic Life: Reading the Signs of the Times" have been published. They are available from S. Adel Sautner, OSB, Pierre, ND.
Br. Anthony Weber OCSO, webmaster, announces the new address for the Genesee Abbey website: <http://www.geneseeabbey.org/>. Abbey News provides "A Little Walk Along Monastic Life & Spirituality." The new Online Bookstore helpfully suggests titles for the liturgical seasons.
On the occasion of its seventy-fifth anniversary, The Liturgical Press is hosting a gathering at Saint John's Abbey. "Differing Visions, One Communion: Catholics and Liturgy in the United States," will consider the current state and future direction of liturgy in the Church in the United States. 7-10 June 2001, six major addresses will be presented on liturgical issues challenging the Church today. Participants may also attend one of a number of special interest group discussions. When registering, one can select a preferred special interest group discussion.
Monasterio Santa Escolástica, Pozos de Santa Ana - San José, maintains a website at <www.mundilink.com/benedictinas/>. Among other topics, it provides information about the varied works of the nuns: intellectual, artistic and agricultural. Monasterio de la Ascensión, Zamora, Spain, founded the community in 1991.
Joseph Phelan has updated his article, "Themes in Art: The Passion of Christ" for the Artcyclopedia.
Abbot Roger Named Auxiliary Bishop
On Tuesday, 3 April, the Holy See announced that Abbot Roger W. Gries OSB, 64, Saint Andrew Svorad Abbey, has been named one of the two new auxiliary bishops for the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio. Having served as Prior since 1977, Bishop-elect Gries OSB became abbot in 1981. Rev. Martin John Amos, pastor of Saint Dominic Parish, Shaker Heights, is the other new auxiliary.
Abbey of Regina Laudis
Bethlehem, Connecticut, has been the home of Regina Laudis Abbey since its foundation there in 1947 by Mother Benedict Duss OSB of Jouarre Abbey, France. The community maintains an informative website at <www.abbeyofreginalaudis.com/>.
1 April marks the sixth anniversary of the <www.OSB.org/> website. The most recent addition is the Necrology of the American-Cassinese Congregation. The Necrology lists the deceased of the Congregation by month from 1853 to June 2000. It is published annually as a part of the Ordo.
What Was New (spring 1995-)
January, February and March 2001.
Fourteen sites on this web server are mentioned in Catholicism on the Web by Thomas C. Fox (New York: MIS Press, 1996).
The monks of Saint John's Abbey welcome comments, questions and suggestions from readers at the Pilgrim's Parlor.
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