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What Was New!

Fourth Quarter 2001
October, November and December

December 2001

+ Jozef Floribert Cornelis OSB

Dom Jozef Floribert Cornelis OSB, 91, retired Archbishop of Alagoinhas, Brazil, died 20 December. He professed monastic vows in the Abbey of Zevenkerken, Belgium, on 15 January 1930. Pope John XXIII consecrated Dom Jozef bishop in 1959. Named the first bishop of Elisabethville (now Lubumbashi) in 1959, he served as the first Archbishop-Bishop of Alagoinhas from 1974 to 1986 when he resigned on account of age. Dai-lhe, Senhor, o repouso eterno; e brilhe para ele a vossa luz.

Benedictine Resource

Julia Bolton Holloway, founder of the Julian of Norwich website, has expanded it with a section devoted to "Benedictinism." Recently the University of Florence (Biblioteche e archivi, 8) published Julia's co-edition and translation of the extant manuscripts of Julian's Showing of Love with special attention to their Benedictine history.


The ancient and venerable abbey of Kremsmünster, Austria, founded in 777 by Duke Tassilo, announces a new website address: <>. The Abbey Church is a repository of sacred art. The Church's fifteen Gobelin tapestries are to be restored by the Federal Monuments Office. Besides a prominent Gymnasium and boarding school, Kremsmünster also boasts the oldest highrise in Europe, die Sternwarte, or Mathematical Tower, that houses the monastery's significant collections devoted to the natural sciences.

African Election

Archabbot Jeremias OSB, President of the Ottilien Congregation, announces that on 6 December the community of Ndanda Abbey elected Fr. Dionys Lindenmaier OSB new abbot of the monastery. Abbot Dionys, 61, had been a missionary in Ndanda, Tanzania, since 1970. Recently he served his community as novice master. His predecessor, Abbot Siegfried Hertlein OSB, resigned after more than twenty-five years in office on 3 November. One of the new items at the Sankt Ottilien website is the history of the Ottilien missionary congregation written by P. Frumentius Renner OSB for the first volume of Germania Benedictina.

November 2001

Orthodox Wisdom

The Greek Orthodox monastery of Saint Gregory Palamas, Perrysville, Ohio, provides translations of both ancient and modern patristic texts. "Father, give us a word" is the New Leimonarion, recalling that "around 600 A.D. John Moschus compiled the Leimonarion or The Spiritual Meadow, a collection of sayings and stories from the early fathers of Egypt and Sinai. This New Leimonarion will seek to gather flowers suitable for the spiritual life of our day." Most of the classic texts concern primarily the "Prayer of the Heart." St. Nikodemos, for example, suggests how suitable unceasing prayer is for lay Christians.

Plouharnel Prior Preferred

Fr. Prior, Dom Philippe Piron OSB, is the new abbot of Abbaye de St. Anne de Kergonan. Having confirmed the election on the evening of 24 November, the president of the Solesmes Congregation installed Abbot Philippe, 48, on Sunday.

New Abbot in Louisiana

On 23 November, the monks of Saint Joseph Abbey, St. Benedict, LA, elected on the first ballot Prior Justin Brown OSB, 43, to succeed Abbot Patrick Reagan OSB, 63. Saint Joseph Abbey belongs to the Swiss American Congregation.

Einsiedeln Abbot Approved

On 17 November 2001, the Holy Father expeditiously confirmed the election of Dom Martin Werlen OSB, 39, that took place on 10 November. He will be blessed as abbot-ordinary of Einsiedeln on Gaudete Sunday, 16 December. The youngest of Einsiedeln's fifty-eight abbots ever elected is a native of Geschinen in Oberwallis. Before beginning his twelve-year term of office, Abbot Martin served as prefect in the boarding school and as vice-postulator for the cause of the Venerable Bro. Meinrad Eugster OSB (1848-1925), monk of Einsiedeln.


The recent American Monastic Newsletter contains details about the ABA monastic studies grant and the Junior Essay Contest. President Valerian Odermann OSB sketches the theme of ABA Convention 2002.

UK News

At a diocesan synod held on 8 November 2001, Bishop Peter Selby of Worcester announced the appointment of two ecumenical members of the cathedral foundation, one of whom is the abbess of Stanbrook, D. Joanna Jamieson OSB. The new ecumenical members will be installed as honorary canons at Evensong on 24 November. Stanbrook Abbey has had a long and happy association with Worcester Cathedral, and in welcoming this gracious and imaginative gesture of Bishop Selby, the prioress and community are conscious of the honor done to them as well as to their abbess and hope that the appointment of ecumenical members will further the cause of Christian unity.

Father Mark Barrett OSB, a monk at Worth Abbey, has written Crossing: Reclaiming the Landscape of our Lives (Darton Longman & Todd, 2001), an absorbing and enchanting book that describes how the monastic day can provide each of us with markers to draw a map of our individual spiritual journeys. He shows how the things of the spirit are not confined to the monastery but are present every day, in all the familiar rhythms and routines of ordinary life.

Moving Monastics

Oblates, alumnae and friends are helping the Benedictine women of St. Mary Monastery on 15-16 November move from Nauvoo to Rock Island, Illinois. St. Mary belongs to the Federation of Saint Benedict.

Richardton Revision

The women of Sacred Heart Monastery (North Dakota) unveil a new version of their website at <>. The latest issue of the Benedictine Witness Newsletter is also available online.

Benedict Rules!

Vena Eastwood, an oblate of Stanbrook Abbey, former teacher and chaplain at St. Benedict's School in Derby, England, has just published Benedict Rules: daily reading of the Rule of St. Benedict for Young People. The day-by-day structure helps teachers to incorporate the RB in religion classes or ministries to junior and senior high-schoolers or both (Source Books, Box 794, Trabuco, CA 92678-0794, $12.95).

Modern Hermits

Linda Wertheimer talks with Sister Marion Madden, the Vicar for Religious in the Diocese of Wheeling, West Virginia, about the role of hermits in modern life and the Catholic Church. The interview from 31 October is available as a RealAudio file from "All Things Considered" at National Public Radio.

October 2001

Pluscarden Prelate Praised

The Times (UK) carries an obituary (24 October) for Dom Alfred Spencer OSB (1915-2001), first abbot of Pluscarden Abbey (Subiaco). His plans to live as a hermit near Prinknash Abbey were frustrated in 1966 by the call to serve as superior in the world's northernmost monastery. "By the time he celebrated his half-century as a priest in 1991, the community at Pluscarden had nearly doubled in size, and the Abbey had been raised to international standing."

Breuer Centenary

24 October is the fortieth anniversary of the dedication of the Saint John's Abbey Church (panorama), Collegeville. The event heralds a series of special events scheduled throughout the year to honor the centenary of the church's architect, Marcel Breuer. The Abbey Church and other buildings of the Bauhaus architect are among the chief "Treasures of Saint John's."

Most Reverend Monks

Bishop Amédée Grab OSB, Diocesan of Chur in Switzerland and President of the Council of the European Episcopal Conferences, spoke 22 October to Vidimus Domini about the nature and role of consecrated religious named to the episcopacy. The topic was not a central concern of the Tenth Ordinary Synod of Bishops. Fr. Kilian McDonnell OSB's recent contribution to ecclesiology, published in The Tablet (8 September), is included in the Library of the Synod of the People of God.

Ancient Abbey at Aachen

Founded 814 A.D. in Aachen by Benedict of Aniane the Abbey of Kornelimünster continues to thrive as a monastery of the Subiaco Congregation. The tasteful and informative website at <> informs about Benedictine spirituality, monastic hospitality, its noble history and the schedule of events. Abbot Albert Altenähr OSB, moderator of the German Oblates' Workgroup, has written an historical introduction to "Die Benedikt-Medaille."

French Abbot Named Bishop

On Tuesday, 16 October, the Holy Father named Dom Robert LeGall OSB, Abbot of Sainte-Anne de Kergonam, the Bishop of Mende. Abbot Robert, 56, studied at Solesmes and Fribourg and has written numerous articles for Famille Chrétienne as well as monographs on the liturgy.

Chevetogne Group

Laity, monastics, abbots and abbesses from throughout Europe met in the Abbey of Praglia, Bresseo (PD), Italy, to discuss the topic of happiness. Since 1992 the "Chevetogne Group," named after the monastery of its first meeting in Belgium, has convened to share reflections. On 10 October representatives of the Benedictine, Cistercian and Orthodox traditions discussed the theme of happiness "with philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and physicians of the Italian university world before a very attentive and participatory audience, coming from the whole region and from different cultural and social backgrounds" (Vidimus).

Austrian Abbey Elects 67th Abbot

On Friday, 12 October, the chapter of the venerable abbey of Melk, Austria, elected Prior Georg Wilfinger OSB, 52, to succeed Abbot Burkhard Ellegast OSB, in office since 1975. Duke Leopold I created Melk as a monastery of religious clerics in 976, but Benedictines assumed care in 1089. Today the monastery numbers about thirty-five senior and junior monks who oversee the Gymnasium for about 800 young men and women. Abbot Georg was director of the boarding school from 1983-2000. Since 1966 Melk has fostered an exchange program with Saint John's Preparatory School in Minnesota. Abbot Georg has also served as pastor of Großriedenthal for many years.

Good Sams Celebrate Centenary

The Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict celebrate on 16 October 2001, 100 years of life and mission at their Mother house at St Scholastica's, Sydney, Australia. Archbishop John Bede Polding OSB founded the Congregation in Australia in 1857. Publication of the history of the Congregation, The Good Sams: The Sisters of the Good Samaritan 1857-1969, and the unveiling of a sculpture of Saint Scholastica in the convent grounds will commemorate the centennial. For further information, contact <>.

Swiss Patriarch Resigns

Having served as the fifty-seventh abbot of Einsiedeln Abbey since his election in 1969, Abbot Georg Holzherr OSB, 74, relinquished his office of Abbot Ordinary, at the Holy Father's pleasure, on the same date he had been elected, 10 October. His translation of the Rule of Benedict has appeared in several languages.

The Abbey Banner

Fr. Tom Gillespie OSB makes available online The Abbey Banner, successor to Collegeville's Abbey Quarterly (1983-2000). Edited by Fr. Daniel Durken OSB, Saint John's Abbey publicist, the magazine is designed primarily for Oblates, friends and benefactors. The Abbey Banner's colorful design and expanded content lend itself to the .pdf format for which a free Acrobat Reader is required.

Trappists Elect Abbot at Genesee

On 2 October 2001, the monks of the Abbey of the Genesee, near Rochester, New York, elected Prior John Denburger OCSO to be their fifth Abbot for a term of six years. Abbot John was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1937. Ordained a priest for that diocese in 1963, Fr. Denburger entered Genesee in 1987 at fifty. Making solemn profession in 1992, Dom John served the community as its prior and master of young professed monks. He assisted at the General Chapter of 1996 as the delegate of the USA Region.

Interreligious Monastic Dialogue

From 17-28 September the Faculty of Theology at Pontificio Ateneo S.Anselmo held a special two-week course entitled "Theological Reflection on Interreligious Monastic Dialogue before and since the Second Vatican Council." Roma.  Sant'Anselmo, September 2001The 24 participants, most of whom had some experience in interreligious dialogue, came from Austria, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Guyana, India, Italy, Japan, and the United States. Lectures were held in the areas of relations with Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Prof. Sidney Griffith, ST, of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, gave a series on Islam. Hinduism was treated by Prof. Thomas Matus OSBCam of the Monastic Institute of Sant'Anselmo and by Prof. Stefano Piano from the University of Turin. Fr. Pierre de Bethune OSB from the monastery of Clerlande at Ottignies in Belgium and Prof. Michael Fuss from the Gregorian University in Rome gave lectures on Buddhism. More general reflections on the theology of interreligious dialogue, its goals, and prospects for the future, were given by Dr. Fabrice Blée of the University of Montreal, Canada, and Prof. Jacques Dupuis SJ, professor emeritus at the Gregorian University, Rome.


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