What Was New!
Third Quarter 2001
The informative website of Abadía de San Benito, Lujan, Argentina, can now be found at <www.sbenito.org/> or <www.sbenito.org/>. Featured are the full-text articles from the abbey's publication, Coloquio.
Abbot emeritus Stephan Pamer OSB, 92, forty-ninth abbot of Marienberg (1957-1984), Swiss Congregation, died on 24 September.
Monte Cassino's Eminent Guest
The retiring Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger used Monte Cassino as the venue for a four-day taped conversation that resulted in the release in German and Italian of Gott und die Welt written by German journalist Peter Seewald. In mid-September the Prefect issued his decision against deaconesses for implementation by the bishops.
In 1906 the first Benedictines from Beuron Archabbey inhabited the plot of land on Mount Zion given by Sultan Abdul Hamid to Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1898. Mount Zion is traditionally regarded as the place where Jesus instituted the Eucharist, gave His message of peace after His resurrection, the Holy Spirit descended, the Apostles convened for the first Council, and Mary fell asleep in the Lord. Hagia Maria Sion Abbey, formerly Dormition Abbey, was placed under the direct authority of the Congregation for Religious and the Abbot Primate in 1951. The website at <www.hagia-maria-sion.net/> documents, in German, the work of the monks in hospitality, theological study, ecumenical affairs and peace-making. The abbey maintains a retreat center at Tabgha on Lake Galilee.
Abbatial Resignation at Genesee
In keeping with the Constitutions of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, Dom John Eudes Bamberger OCSO offered his resignation as Abbot of Genesee Abbey, near Rochester, N.Y., U.S.A. on his seventy-fifth birthday, 24 August 2001. He has served his community in this capacity for over thirty years and for the last thirty-five years has been a key person for the renewal of the Order in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. Dom John Eudes' resignation was accepted by the Abbot General, with the consent of his Council, on 4 September. His resignation is effective as of 14 September 2001. Fr. John Denburger OCSO, Prior, has been appointed acting superior until the abbatial election which is scheduled for 2 October 2001.
Holy Father's Message
Pope John Paul II expressed his horror and revulsion at the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, on Tuesday, 11 September, in a telegram of condolence to President George W. Bush. The U.S. Bishops issued a Call for Prayer and Unity. Monasteries and churches remembered the dead, wounded and their families in fervent prayer.
+ Robert McAfee Brown
Thomas C. Fox, writes a moving appreciation of his former teacher, Dr. Robert McAfee Brown, pastor, ecumenist and activist who died at 81 on 4 September in Massachusetts. In 1962, he was invited to be an observer for the Reformed and Presbyterian churches at the Second Vatican Council. He once summed up his own theology in a quotation from Karl Barth: "The church must concentrate first on the lower and lowest levels of human society. The poor, the socially and economically weak and threatened, will always be the object of its primary and particular concern" (NCR, 9/14/01).
Abbot General Re-elected
Benedictines at the General Chapter of the Sylvestrine Congregation re-elected Abbot General Andrea Pantaloni OSB Silv. Abbot Andrea, 68, is a monk of Monastero San Silvestro Abate in Montefano, Italy. The Holy Father received the Capitulars in audience on 8 September.
The Benedictine Sisters of Virgina announce their website at <www.osbva.org/>. The Sisters are the only Benedictine women's community in Virginia. In Richmond they run St. Gertrude, the only Catholic high school for young women in the state. At Bristow some work at Linton Hall High School or in the K-8 elementary school. S. Lawrence Bucher OSB is the Oblate Director.
Election and Blessing
The capitulars of the General Chapter of the Bavarian Congregation re-elected Abbot Gregor Zasche OSB, of Schäftlarn Abbey, to another term as Abbot President. The chapter was held at Niederaltaich Abbey, 3-7 September. On Saturday, 8 September, the recently elected superior of Niederaltaich, Abbot Marianus Bieber OSB, received the abbatial blessing.
Roma Æterna et Nova
Father Johannes-Paul Abrahamowicz OSB, sub-prior of Collegio Sant'Anselmo, includes maintenance of the website at <www.anselmianum.com/> among his other duties. Major sections of the multi-lingual website are devoted to the Ateneo (education), the Collegio (residents) and the Confederazione (OSB). New photographs enhance all sections. Fr. Johannes has generously agreed to update the information about the Curia (Abbot Primate and his staff) that resides on this server. P. Johannes is a monk of Stift Göttweig, the Monte Cassino of Austria, and, since December 2000, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Benediktinerstift Göttweig is a major feature of the Wachau Cultural Landscape in the Danube Valley. [2005: P. Johannes, now Prior of St. Paul Outside the Walls Abbey, has been succeeded in his tasks at Sant'Anselmo by Dom Stefano Visintin OSB, MA.]
New Melleray Abbey
New Melleray Abbey has acquired its own domain name: <www.newmelleray.org/>. The Iowa monks were featured in the New York Times (6 Sept. 2001) for the success of their Trappist Caskets. Lay Associates of New Melleray and Our Lady of the Mississipi Abbeys maintain their own website at <www.aicassociates.org/>.
Sr. Christine Vladimiroff OSB, prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pa., was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) at their annual meeting 23-27 August in Baltimore. Two Benedictine prioresses serve as LCWR regional chairs: Sr Christine for Region IV and Sister Dorothy Jean Beyer OSB of Queen of Angels Monastery, for Region XV. Seventeen members of the Erie community traveled to Baltimore for the five-day LCWR/CMSM conference attended by over 1,200 religious leaders. The Erie community provided all of the liturgy, prayer and music for the assembly, as well as the environment for the general meeting areas.
New Camaldoli's New CD
The monks of New Camaldoli Hermitage have recorded a CD of the Sunday Office as celebrated at the Hermitage. The recording, O Day of Resurrection: Liturgy of the Hours for Sunday made in April 2001, includes the offices of Vigils, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. The music for the hymns, antiphons, psalms and other parts of the liturgy is rooted in Gregorian chant, via the ancient mother house of Camaldoli in Tuscany. It is adapted to modern English cadences to facilitate the active participation of guests. The CD and others under the direction of Fr. Cyprian Consiglio OSBCam are available from Oregon Catholic Press; the toll free number is 800-LITURGY.
On Friday, 31 August, the monks of Abtei Königsmünster, Meschede, elected P. Dominicus Meier OSB to be their third abbot for an initial term of twelve years. Abbot Dominicus, 42, entered the monastery in 1982 after brief service as a legal secretary. He studied theology in Würzburg and Münster. He completed his studies in canon law at Salzburg in 1999 and since then has served on the faculty of the Pallotines' school for religious. He was elected to the Congregational Council at the General Chapter of the Ottilians in 2000. Saturday, 6 October, is the date set for the abbatial blessing by Johannes Joachim Cardinal Degenhardt, Archbishop of Paderborn. Ad multos annos!
Benedictine World Youth Day
Herr Heinz-J. Plugge, webmaster for ICBE, has created a portfolio of photographs taken by P. Michael Hermes OSB at the First International Benedictine Youth Congress that met at Muensterschwarzach Abbey in Bavaria, 10-15 July. The next International Conference on Benedictine Education will convene in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2002.
VocationsPlacement.org is a service that helps men considering a vocation arrange for a visit to a monastery in North America. Both women and men's communities are represented in the Directory of Benedictine Retreat Houses that welcome all, including those in vocational discernment.
In celebration of the eightieth birthday (16 September) of Fr. Kilian McDonnell OSB, the Institue of Ecumenical and Cultural Research that he founded in 1967 and the School of Theology · Seminary of Saint John's University are co-sponsoring an essay contest for younger scholars born on 25 January 1959, or later. The deadline for submissions is 14 December 2001. A total of $20,000 will be awarded to twenty scholars. At age seventy-five, Fr. Kilian, theologian and monk of Collegeville, began writing poetry. The National Catholic Reporter recently published his poem, "Perfection, Perfection."
On Thursday, 23 August 2001, the community of Waegwan Abbey elected Fr Simon Ri OSB, 54, its fourth abbot for an unlimited period. Lately he has been responsible for the retreat house, the Waegwan oblate program and a fast growing series of patristic editions in Korean. His predecessor, Fr Bosco Kim OSB, stepped down after the expiration of his second three-year-term as administrator. May God bless Abbot Simon and the community of Waegwan Abbey (Ottilian).
Sounds of Senegal
In 1961 nine monks of Solesmes founded L'Abbaye de Keur Moussa <www.keurmoussa.com/> in West Africa. Today two-thirds of the forty monks are Senegalese. In 1984 the community achieved independence. Alexandra Zavis writes for the Associated Press about the incorporation of a local harp-like instrument, the Mandinka kora, into the liturgical life of the abbey, "African Monastery Yields New Music" (Washington Post, 22 August).
Central authorities in Peking have removed Khenpo Jigme Phuntsog, 68, a charismatic Tibetan monk, from his monastery at Serthar, Sida County, SiChuan, in south-west China, to a medical facility. The United Front Work Department <www.Zytzb.org.cn/>, responsible for religious affairs, seeks to reduce the community of 6-7,000 monastics to 1,000 monks and 400 nuns by October -- just in time for U.S. President Bush's state visit.
Debra Pickett features Sr. Teresita OSB, 94, in her revealing and sympathetic investigation of the fate facing retired monastics, religious and clergy. "Tough Conditions After Life of Giving" appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times (5 August 2001). The article recognizes the excellent work of SOAR! (Support Our Aging Religious!).
The Oblate Oratory at <clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/oblateoratory> was born out of the wish of a Benedictine Oblate to join in prayer with other Oblates for each other's needs. The Oratory is seen as one way of uniting Oblates in a community of common, intercessory prayer. It is designed not as a forum or discussion, but simply as a place for Oblates to list their important prayer needs. It is maintained by Raymond N. Calvert OblSB.
Queen of Heaven Monastery in Warren, Ohio, is the only community of Byzantine Benedictine women in the United States. Their website at <www.benedictinebyzantine.org/> supplies information about their way of life, St. Benedict's Auxiliary and the Oblate program.
Faithful readers of the now ceased Sisters Today magazine (née Sponsa Regis) might find familiar items at the Sisters Online website. Committed to using the Internet to focus attention on women's issues, SistersOnline.org/ is a justice based collaboration of congregations; a website seeking to be a voice and agent of difference. Many responded personally to last season's women in prison focus. Book reviews are an ongoing feature of the "Spirituality and Justice" section.
Las Monjas Benedictinas
Last year El Monasterio de San Benito celebrated fifty years independence in México City. Founded from Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, the monastery announces opening the first Benedictine website in Mexico: <www.benedictinesmex.org/>.
The biennial meeting of the Directors of Oblates of Saint Benedict, with companion Oblates, will be co-hosted in central Minnesota at Saint Benedict's Monastery and Saint John's Abbey from 27 July to 1 August. About sixty-five Directors are expected to attend. Recently added to the Saint John's website is a brief "Life of Saint Benedict and the Origin of the Oblates," first published in the Oblate Manual (1955).
67th Abbot Elected in São Paulo
The monks of Mosteiro de São Bento in São Paulo, Brazil, elected Dom Luiz César de Proença OSB, 49, as the 67th abbot. Founded in July 1598, the monastery has enjoyed over 400 years of continuous existence. The "new" church was designed by a Munich architect and decorated in the Beuronese style by Dom Adelbert Gresnicht OSB (1877-1956), a Dutch monk. Dom Aidan Cardinal Gasquet OSB solemnly consecrated the church in 1922. At that time Pope Pius XI raised it to the rank of minor basilica.
Joan Chittister OSB
The Washington Post (14 July) commented on the Vatican's muted reaction to the address on discipleship Sr. Joan Chittister OSB delivered 30 June in Dublin. Patty McCarty analyzed a Benedictine understanding of obedience for the cover story of the National Catholic Reporter (13 July). A statement by Sister Christine Vladimiroff OSB, Prioress of the Erie Benedictines, announces the successful conclusion of deliberations with the Vatican.
Dominicans Elect Argentinian
Delegates, gathered from 102 countries in Providence, RI, for the General Chapter of the Dominican Order, have elected Very Rev. Carlos Azpiroz OP their 87th Master since the foundation of the Order in 1215 by Saint Dominic de Guzman. He succeeds Fr. Timothy Radcliffe OP, the only Englishman to serve as Master General. Fr. Carlos Azpiroz Costa OP, 44, is only the second non-European Master General to serve in the Order's 787 years of existence. His term is for nine years. The Master and his Curia reside not far from the Abbot Primate on the Aventine in Rome.
Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement of support for Archbishop Rembert Weakland OSB concerning the unprecedented intervention by Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, in plans for the renovation of the cathedral in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a "personal" letter the former Abbot Primate (1967-77) wrote to the clergy, parish directors and deacons of the Archdiocese clarifying the serious issues of episcopal responsibility raised by the Prefect's opinions and behavior.
On Friday, 13 July, the capitulars of the 111th General Chapter of the English Benedictine Congregation elected Abbot Richard Yeo OSB, Abbot of Downside since 1998, to be the new Abbot President.
Worship magazine, has been published by the monks of Saint John's Abbey since 1926. In June, the Notre Dame Center for Pastoral Liturgy honored Worship on its seventy-fifth anniversary. The award paid tribute to its original editor, Dom Virgil Michel OSB, "a Benedictine widely acknowledged as the pioneer of liturgical renewal in this country. His visionary leadership sparked wide interest in the liturgical movement in North America, and the publication of Orate Fratres/Worship became an instrument for touching not only intellect but also will, heart as well as mind." Worship makes the index and summaries for the current issue (July 2001) available online.
Report from Richardton
The Benedictine Witness is published by Sacred Heart Monastery, Richardton, ND. The summer issue announces Bismarck as the venue for the next convention of the American Benedictine Academy and sketches the community's new Prioress, Sr. Marie Hunkler OSB.
Solemnity of Saint Benedict
On 11 July Benedictines celebrate the feast of Saint Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism and Co-Patron of Europe. Born in 480 A.D., his Rule for Monasteries brought order and creativity to a world of decadence and corruption. The manuscript illustration depicts his vision of the whole world in a bright ray of light amid the darkness. What we know of Saint Benedict comes from the Second Book of the Dialogues written by Pope St. Gregory the Great. The office hymn, Gemma caelestis, and the sequence, Laeta quies, poetically recall incidents of Benedict's life.
Benedict's Way: An Ancient Monk's Insights for a Balanced Life by Daniel Homan OSB and Lonni Collins Pratt was the top selling book for Loyola Press in 2000. The book won a Catholic Press Association Award in the general spirituality category. Loyola will release a paperback edition of its bestseller in September.
Oregon's New Abbot
Mt. Angel Abbey, St. Benedict, OR, elected Fr. Nathan Zodrow OSB, to become their tenth abbot on Friday, 6 July. He succeeds Abbot Joseph Wood OSB, who has resigned due to age, according to the norms of the Swiss-American Congregation.
The American Monastic Newsletter (June 2001), published by the American Benedictine Academy, is available online. It includes information about the revival of the monastery of Helfta in east Germany, book reviews, open letters as well as the membership directory for 2001.
The Benedictine nuns of Abtei St. Scholastika in northern Germany announce the opening of a website at <www.abteiburgdinklage.de> that includes information about their production of liturgical vestments, icons and fudge and their conversion of a barn to a shelter for homeless. The remarkable church is a converted farm building.
Monastery Retreats: a Vocations Placement Service began as a service for scheduling "live-in" monastic experiences for men and women discerning a monastic vocation in a Cistercian or Trappist abbey, but Benedictine monasteries are also welcome to register for this novel and helpful service. Vocation Directors should contact Natalie Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> for more information.
First Benedictine World Youth Congress
From 10 to 15 July 2001 the first Benedictine World Youth Congress will be held at Muensterschwarzach Abbey. It is the first time that pupils of the 120 Benedictine schools worldwide have been invited to such a meeting. Benedictine schools have a wide and solid common basis and, with globalisation paving the way, they can become a place of worldwide meeting. The idea for such an international meeting arose eighteen months ago and the work of its realization was started. May this meeting be the beginning of a good and long-lasting tradition.
The Sisters of Mount Benedict Monastery, Ogden, Utah, announce the opening of a website at <www.mbmutah.org/>. Founded in 1944 by the Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph, Minn., Mount Benedict Monastery became an independent foundation fifty years later.
Building on Benedictine Tradition
Christ the King Priory (Ottilian), Schuyler, Nebraska, is hosting the Benedictine Development Symposium, 16-19 August 2001, at the Benedcitine Mission House. A variety of lay and professed speakers and presenters will guide participants through three tracks: Capital Campaign and General Development; Volunteers and Investing; Direct Mail and Special Events. General sessions will be open to all attendees. For more information contact Br. Tobias Dammert OSB <email@example.com>.
News from Europe
The common website for German-speaking Benedictines includes a new section of excerpts from Monastic Information. The website records the election on 29 June by the monks of Scheyern Abbey. They chose P. Engelbert Baumeister OSB to be the community's 56th abbot. Born 1935 in the vicinity of the abbey, Abbot Engelbert has held positions in the boarding school, high school, vocational school and parish. Since 1974 he served as prior of the monastery. 14 September is the likely date for his abbatial blessing.
The Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter, Chertsey, Surrey, England (A.D. 666 - 1537) now has a website at: <www.surreyweb.net/StPeters/abbey/>. It is famous as the site of the Royal burial of the murdered King Henry VI in 1471.
Jane Lampman writes in the Christian Science Monitor (28 June 2001) about how author John Claassens found community by making monastic retreats. "Religious community is fostered, Claassen says, by the shared routine of prayer and chanting; daily work responsibilities -- creating a cottage industry to ensure community survival; and most important, the sense of spiritual calling. And more and more, he adds, 'they have the sense of mission of being in hospitality, of providing a space for outsiders to come in.'" Mr. Claassens documents his spiritual odyssey in Alone In Community: Journeys Into Monastic Life Around the World (Forest of Peace, 2001).
Alone in Community is one of the book titles reviewed in the spring/summer 2001 issue of Benedictines edited by Barbara Mayer OSB and published semiannually by Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, KS.
What Was New (spring 1995-)
April, May and June 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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