Come, let us adore.
What Was New
Fourth Quarter 2002
Election and Re-election
The chapter of St. Procopius Abbey, Lisle, IL, elected Fr. Dismas Kalcic OSB to succeed Abbot Hugh Anderson OSB as their 9th abbot on Sunday, 29 December. Born on New Year's Day, 1929, in Joliet, IL, Abbot Dismas professed monastic vows in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1961. Since 2001, he has been teaching economics at both Benedictine University and Benet Academy.
On Friday, 27 December, the monks of St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, KS, re-elected Abbot Barnabas Senecal OSB, to continue as the community's 8th abbot. Abbot Barnabas, 64, was first elected on 30 May 1994.
Abbot President Timothy Kelly OSB of the American-Cassinese Congregation oversaw and confirmed both elections.
Roots of Monasticism
In a long interview with Zenit News Agency, Dr. Juan María Laboa discusses the future of Europe considering the influence of monasticism. Dr. Laboa is joint editor of the Historical Atlas of Eastern and Western Christian Monasticism that will be published next spring in the US.
Quarr Abbey (Solesmes Congregation), Isle of Wight, provides information about the community in a tastefuly designed website at <www.quarrabbey.co.uk/>. The stories of both the medieval Cistercian foundation (1132-1536) and the modern Benedictine abbey (1901-2002) fascinate.
Benedict in the World
Benedict in the World: Portraits of Monastic Oblates, edited by Linda Kulzer OSB and Roberta Bondi OblSB, tells the stories of nineteen Oblates varying greatly in time, place and circumstance. The Liturgical Press makes the Contents and "Introduction" by Sr. Linda available online. Oblate Phyllis Thompson spoke briefly about her research for the chapter on "Eric Dean, Presbyterian Pilgrim," at last August's ABA Convention.
Renew and Create
The 40th anniversary of Vatican Council II in October offered an opportunity for reflection on the momentous event for both progressives and traditionalists. One of the fruits of that hope-filled and fertile period for the monks of the American-Cassinese Congregation is the document, Renew and Create (1969). Fr. Terrence Kardong OSB wrote about the post-Conciliar "Wild and Wooly" General Chapter of 1968 that commissioned the text.
« Ad Fontes »
Kloster Einsiedeln, Switzerland's most-visited Benedictine monastery, invites cybernauts to explore the world of original sources, primarily medieval manuscripts, some in the library since the 10th century. Ad Fontes is an Internet resource that simultaneously instructs and enlightens. Media-Prix 2002 recently gifted Roger Sablonier and the genii of the Seminar for History at the University of Zürich with 50 000 Euros to enable development of the website. "Texts from the monastic library, one of the most important private collections of Europe, serve as practice exercises that teach the skills of using, evaluating, dating and organizing archival collections" (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nov. 5, 2002). The website, although cognizant of Linux users, requires Macromedia Shockwave.
+ Fr. Evaristo Mwageni OSB
On Sunday afternoon, 24 November, Fr. Evaristo Mwageni OSB, Conventual Prior of Mvimwa from 1995-2001, died at San Camillo Hospital, Rome, of a severe bronchial pneumonia. Fr. Evaristo had recently arrived at Sant'Anselmo to attend courses in spirituality and monastic studies. In hospital he was visited by his own confrere, Bro. Ernesti, and by many Tanzanian seminarians, sisters and clerics. Archbishop Norbert Mtega of Songea visited him repeatedly over the last few days.
He had been elected first leader of Mvimwa after the monastery's independence and vigorously set the priory on a firm footing. In 2001 he was able to hand over an impressive and thriving community of 73 monks to Abbot Basil Ngaponda OSB, the first abbot. Abbot Primate Notker Wolf, guests and the residents of Sant'Anselmo will celebrate a requiem mass for Fr. Evaristo at 7:15 p.m., Wednesday, 27 November. The coffin will be flown to Dar es Salaam within a few days time, and his earthly remains will find their last repose at his beloved Mvimwa.
The Sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, ID, have added a new feature to their website -- online retreats. The first, "God's Delightful Voice: A Benedictine Spirituality On-Line Retreat," is designed to be a useful resource for people, including Oblates and those discerning a vocation to monastic life, who are interested in learning more about Benedictine spirituality. "Praying with Julian of Norwich" allows Julian to serve as a teacher, guide and mentor helping the retreatant enter more deeply into the experience of God's deep and abiding love. Other retreats are in preparation.
+ Fr. Richard Bourgeois OSB STL
On Saturday, 9 November, Fr. Richard Bourgeois OSB, monk of Glastonbury Abbey, Hingham, MA, died of a rare skin cancer in Dallas, TX. Fr. Richard received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of Sant'Anselmo in Rome, where he subsequently served as Registrar and later as Director of the Theology Renewal Program. In 2001 he was named North American Director of the Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museum. "In addition to his life-long interest in the Fine Arts, his commitment to pastoral ministry and inter-religious dialogue, his devotion to the beauty of monastic prayer and Catholic liturgy and his prodigious mind, Fr. Richard Bourgeois will be best remembered for his extraordinary capacity for friendship" (Higham Journal, 14 Nov. 2002).
US Sylvestrines' Priory Chapter
Abbot General Andrea Pantaloni OSB travelled from Rome for two reasons. The first was to begin the official visitation of the monasteries in the US of the Sylvesterine Congregation. The visitation included the monasteries of the Holy Face, New Jersey; St. Sylvester; and St. Benedict, both in Michigan. The second order of business was to convene the Priory Chapter that took place at St. Benedict, 7-11 November. The Priory Chapter is convened every six years. The meetings allowed sharing with the capitulars the reports of the US superiors about their communities as well hearing the Abbot General speak about things that need to be done and his suggestions for the future of each monastery.
On Friday, 8 November, the Chapter re-elected Fr. Daniel Homan OSB, Prior of the monasteries in the US, and elected two members of the Prior's council. In October Paraclete Press published Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love, a book by Prior Daniel and Lonnie Collins Pratt, that is supplemented by radicalhospitalitystudygroup, an online discussion.
Single Christian Men
Richard C. August is a member of the Friends of St. Augustine, St. Augustine's House, Oxford, MI, a Benedictine Monastery in the Lutheran Congregation. He is the founder of Fostering Monastic Living for Single Christian Men, a forum for "single Christian men who desire more focus on a vertical relationship with God, and who desire more of a prayerful and meditative lifestyle." To subscribe send a message to <email@example.com>.
From mid-November until the end of the year, visitors to the OSB website are invited to test "Benedictine Community OSB," an interactive discussion forum for "pilgrims on the way of Saint Benedict." The Community also makes Live Chat available for two or more registered users; 8-9:00 PM CT (GMT -06:00), is convenient for the moderator, but the feature is available around the clock. Posting a message grants local membership in the forum, but users must register a global user account, at no cost, to enjoy the full benefits of the hosting service, EzBoard. Premium service is available for an annual cost of $12.
Treasures Down Under
In mid-October 2002 the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict published The Treasures of St Scholastica's. The book offers a rare glimpse of the many artistic treasures located within the Congregation's motherhouse, St Scholastica's Convent, Sydney, Australia. Particularly appealing are the illustrations of the stained-glass windows in the main chapel. Archbishop John Bede Polding OSB founded the Congregation in Australia in 1857. For further information about the Sisters or to order copies of the book, greeting cards, etc., contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Benedictine monastic life has existed in Latin America since the 16th century. From 11 to 18 November representative men and women monastics of Latin America will gather with the Abbot Primate and other guests in Santiago de Chile for the 9th Latin American Monastic Encounter (EMLA). The theme of the gathering is "Re-reading and Living the Rule of Saint Benedict at the Dawn of the Third Millennium in Latin America." Since distance and poverty prevent many from attending the encounter, the organizers have established a website for EMLA to share the schedule, diverse information and conferences that are being presented. At the end of the encounter, a CD containing all the conferences will be made available to all. "Monasterios de Chile" is a website with information about the Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries of Chile that features a link to the EMLA website.
Responding to a letter from the International Lay Cistercians, the recent General Chapters of the Cistercians gave new impetus to the increasingly popular program in a "Letter to the Groups of Lay Cistercians."
US and Iraq
Participants at the meeting of Benedictine Presidents of Women's Federations and Men's Congregations of the United States issued on 12 October a "Statement from Benedictine Men and Women." Noting the ancient Benedictine motto of "Peace," the text marshals arguments for judging a pre-emptive military strike on Iraq as immoral. On 17 October, the LCWR and the CMSM published a joint letter to President Bush that expressed similar sentiments.
The highly pastoral Mixed General Meeting of delegates to the General Chapters of both men and women Cistercians ended in Rome on 24 September. The final document, Vision of the Order, 2002, sees what might be considered a "precarious" situation as a moment of great grace. The document recognizes the prophetic voices of the Order's young communities and the lay Cistercian Associates.
On 26 October, the monks of St. Benedict's Monastery, the Ottilien priory in Digos, PH, elected Fr. Edgar Friedmann OSB, professed at Muensterschwarzach, to be the conventual prior. Prior Edgar, 61, has been at Digos since its founding in 1983. He succeeds Abbot Odo Haas OSB, monk of Waegwan Abbey, who had become first conventual prior after independence in 1996.
Website for Hermits
The Camaldolese Benedictine monks of Eremeo di San Giorgio, Bardolino, Italy, discourage visits by tourists, but they have opened their lives and property to cybervisitors through their website at <www.eremosangiorgio.it>. Founded in 1663, the monks completed building the church in 1704 and lived for over a century in peace until being dispersed by Napoleon in 1810. The abandoned monastic space above the eastern shore of Lake Garda was re-inhabitated by the Camaldolese in 1855.
School Day's Praise
H.E. Walter Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians, opened the new academic year at Sant'Anselmo, Rome, on 14 October. He praised the missionary tradition of our order: "The Benedictine order has always been one of the main missionary orders, in the past as well as today. .... I believe that an ancient missionary order like the Benedictines can contribute a lot towards allowing ecclesiastical historiography to leave behind its eurocentrism, promoting a truly catholic historiography." The ceremony coincided with the opening of the Mabillon Institute for the History of Theology at Sant'Anselmo.
"The Road to Rome"
From 11 October 2002 until 7 May 2003, an exhibition of paintings by Fr. Jerome Tupa OSB graces the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC. The series of paintings entitled, "The Road to Rome," traces a modern pilgrim's route from Milan to Rome. The exhibit comprises approximately 50 works in oil, watercolor, pen, ink, and pencil, depicting the Italian countryside, sacred sites, and shrines through 21 towns and cities on the way to Rome. A news release and a cover story in PDF format provide more information. Fr. Jerome, 61, is a monk of Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, MN.
The monks of Abadia São Geraldo, São Paolo, Brazil, are the hosts for the Second International Conference on Benedictine Education, 30 October - 2 November 2002. Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf OSB is a featured speaker on the opening day of the conference at Colégio Santo Américo. Herr Heinz Plugge, Gymnasium der Benediktiner, Meschede, DE, will speak on "Benedictine Schools Today" based on an analysis of the ICBE Database hosted at this website. Educators from North and South America, Europe and the UK will address the participants.
The oldest community of Cistercian women in the United States, Saint Mary's Abbey, Wrenthan, MA, invites women under 40 to spend a weekend of experience and discernment, 7-11 November 2002, with them. Sr. Evelyn McGarry OCSO welcomes inquiries from interested women. The opportunity to sample the nuns' famous "Trappistine Quality Candy" is an added benefit.
The Cistercian women of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, Dubuque, IA, also support themselves and their new foundation in Tautra, Norway, by candy-making. Their "Trappistine Creamy Caramels" are now being made in the recently constructed candy house featured in the September 2002 issue of their quarterly newsletter. On Saturday, 12 October, the candy house is open to the public for tours from 2:30 - 4:00 pm.
Erie Benedictines to receive US Catholic award
The Benedictine Sisters of Erie are the selected recipients of the 2002 US Catholic Award, presented each year by the editors of US Catholic magazine to an individual or group that has furthered the cause of women in the church. Sister Christine Vladimiroff OSB, prioress, will accept the award at Loyola University in Chicago on Tuesday, October 15. She will also speak at the noontime event. Announcement of the award will appear in the October issue of US Catholic magazine. Sister Christine's reflections will be published in the following issue.
A New Augustine
Rev. Ron Rolheiser OMI, writing in The Tidings, recognizes Benedictine Oblate Kathleen Norris as an exceptional contemporary voice. He considers St. Augustine as the most influential theological thinker in the West with an "extraordinary capacity to articulate both a synthetic structure and working vocabulary" for the life of faith. Without making an exact parallel, he lauds Kathleen Norris for sharing some of the same qualities: "an extraordinary intelligence combined with a humble faith commitment, the artistry of a poet emanating from the pen of someone who prays, the experience of a person with a colorful past who has matured into post-sophisticated child-likeness, and a certain pathological sanity that has its feet planted solidly on the ground."
Sexual Abuse Breakthrough
At a press conference in the chapter house of Saint John's Abbey, Minnesota, on 1 October, Abbot John Klassen OSB announced a precedent-setting settlement of several sexual abuse cases brought against monks of Saint John's Abbey that includes both compensation and non-compensation elements. Abandoning legal statues of limitation, the abbey agreed to non-compensation elements that include 1) creation of an independent lay review board; 2) funding of an annual retreat for survivors if they find it helpful; 3) payments for the ongoing therapy and spiritual direction of survivors; and 4) a comprehensive program of education for the monastic community, lay staff and volunteers related to human boundaries. Attorney Jeffrey Anderson, a nationally prominent victims' rights activist, lauded the agreement that he helped to achieve over a three month period of negotiations and mediation.
+ Abbot Edward Vollmer OSB
On Wednesday, 2 October 2002, patronal feastday of the American-Cassinese Congregation, Abbot Edward Vollmer OSB, 94, third abbot of Holy Cross Abbey, died at Cañon City, Colorado. Abbot Edward was born in Milwaukee, WI, in 1908. He professed vows in 1931 and was ordained a priest in 1938. The monks of Holy Cross Abbey elected him co-adjutor abbot on 16 February 1966. He resigned as abbot in 1971. May he rest in peace.
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