What Was New!
April, May, June 2004
The Oblate newsletter is published by the Oblates of Saint John's Abbey. The latest issue features an article by Dom Kevin Seasoltz OSB, "A Monastic Geography of Time and Place." Father Kevin edits Worship magazine. Brother Benet Tvedten OSB, Blue Cloud Abbey, offers reflections on a recent survey of Oblate Directors. The online edition has been enhanced by the ability to search past online issues back to January 1998.
Mount Saviour Monastery
At the 48th General Chapter of the American-Cassinese Congregtion, 13-18 June 2004, Mount Saviour Monastery, Pine City, NY, was admitted to the Congregation. Prior Martin Boler OSB was appointed conventual prior for a term of eight years. Since its founding on 11 October 1950 by Dom Damasus Winzen OSB and three companions, Mount Saviour has been autonomous and under the direct jurisdiction of the Abbot Primate. The monks utilize 250 acres of their land for raising sheep and producing market lambs, yarn and pelt products while many other acres serve as a woodlot.
100 Years of PAX
PAX, the review of the (then) Anglican Benedictines of Painsthorpe, Yorkshire, started in 1904. The review came with them into the Catholic Church to Prinknash Abbey on Caldey Island with Abbot Aelred Carlyle OSB in March 1913. It has continued ever since. The next issue will be in mid- to late-July, concentrating on the Abbey's latest venture, the housing of the Great Orpheus Woodchester Pavement, an exact copy of possibly the largest, late Roman floor mosaic in Western Europe. It will be housed in what was Prinknash Pottery that closed in January 2003. Visitors are welcome.
The June issue of the American Monastic Newsletter provides information about the convention that will convene 13-15 August 2004 at Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, Minnesota.
The Monastery of Chevetogne announced a re-design of its website by the Dutch designer, Harm Melis. Content is available in Dutch, French, German and English, but some areas are still being revised <www.monasterechevetogne.com>. From its founding by Dom Lambert Beaudoin OSB in 1925, the monastery has been a center of ecumenical activity documented in its influential quarterly, Irenikon, for almost 80 years.
+ Abbot John Eidenschink OSB
Rt. Rev. John Albert Eidenschink OSB, 89, seventh abbot of Saint John's Abbey for eight years (1971-79) and President of the American-Cassinese Congregation of Benedictine men for six years (1983-89), died at Collegeville on June 19, 2004. He was ordained in 1941, and in 1945 The Catholic University of America conferred upon him the doctorate in canon law. The Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Abbot John at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, 25 June, in Saint John's Abbey Church with burial in the abbey cemetery.
The June 2004 issue of Sant'Anselmo Forum, the newsletter of the Pontifical Athenaeum and College of Saint'Anselmo, reports the publication of the third CD produced by Abbot Primate Notker Wolf OSB: "Weiherserenade III. Kammermusik aus drei Jahrhunderten (Twililght Serenade III, chamber music from three centuries)." All of his CDs are in harmony with the motto he chose as abbot: "Jubilate Deo!" The CDs are available online from EOS Verlag, the press managed by the monks of Saint Ottilien.
Abbot Notker's musical training began with violin lessons when he was ten, but he changed to the classical flute during high school. His wide range of musical styles includes Rock music because it "is the music of the young people of our time. From the very beginning I have liked Rock's melodies and strong rhythms and, indeed, the lyrics.... To sum up: the people of our time are hungry for the message of Christ, are hungry for witnesses to the mystery of Jesus as the message of life and salvation."
The Holy Father accepted on 9 June the resignation required by Canon Law that Bishop Viktor Dammertz OSB had submitted in May. Bishop Dammertz celebrated his 75th birthday on 8 June. He professed vows in the Archabbey of Saint Ottilien in 1954 and was ordained in 1957. In 1975, the monks of Saint Ottilien elected him Archabbot. Dom Viktor served as sixth Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation from 1977 to 1992 when he was named Bishop of Augsburg. The former archabbot plans to retire at St. Alban Priory, on lake Ammersee, 20 km from St. Ottilien. St. Alban is the motherhouse of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Alban.
Quarr Monk Exposed
Dom Joseph Warrilow OSB of Quarr Abbey is the eponymous hero of Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul by Tony Hendra (Random House, 2004). The author, past editor of the National Lampoon, has authored numerous works of parody and satire. This book, however, although full of engaging humor, is Hendra's account about his encounter with Divine Love. Fr. Joe was the first priest he met to reveal the richness of God's mercy and His unbridled love. Andrew Sullivan, not an enthusiastic Catholic, wrote an appreciative review of Fr. Joe for the New York Times finding "something in this book that speaks particularly to our contemporary spiritual desert and to the kind of faith that 'like clear water from solid rock' can help us grow and heal again" (30 May 2004).
Force of Habit
Reporter Andy Minter visited Saint John's Abbey, spoke to some of the monks, joined the monks for prayer and meals, and wrote about the experience in the June 2004 issue of the Minnesota monthly magazine, The Rake. In Minter's article, "Force of Habit," he sees the monastery through a contemporary lens: "The Benedictine abbot, for example, is a model of managerial flexibility, expected to delegate and consult even though he is 'believed to hold the place of Christ in the monastery.'" Only a few of the excellent photographs taken by Larry Marcus that appear in the print edition are available online.
New Abbot at Assumption
The monks of Assumption Abbey, Richardton, ND, have elected Fr. Brian Wangler OSB, pastor of the Abbey's Parish. The election of the monastery's eighth abbot was completed on Friday, 28 May. Abbot Brian, 60, professed first vows on 11 July 1964. He was ordained a priest on 2 August 1969. Assumption Abbey belongs to the American-Cassinese Congregation.
Pope Blesses the Saint John's Bible
On Wenesday, 26 May, Abbot John Klassen OSB, President Dietrich Reinhart OSB and Scribe Donald Jackson presented a facsimile volume containing the Gospels and Acts to the Holy Father. The Saint John's Bible is the first handwritten Bible that interprets and illustrates scripture from a contemporary perspective, reflecting a multicultural world and humanity's enormous strides in science, technology and space travel. The presentation of The Saint Johns Bible to the Vatican is part of a trip organized by Saint John's Abbey and University for more than 80 people from Minnesota and the United States.
Worth Abbey, West Sussex, is the site chosen for a new project to help young people find a religious vocation. The Abbot of Worth, Dom Christopher Jamison OSB, believes COMPASS will give a leg up to young people nervous about taking the first step into religious life. The pilot project invites men and women aged 20-35 who believe they may have a call to religious life to spend one weekend a month for nine months at a house on the grounds of Worth Abbey.
The first group will begin in October. They will receive spiritual direction, learn about religious life and listen to their call in the company of other young people. The program runs until May and will also offer two residential weeks during that period. Abbot Christopher says. "We have to start asking what are we doing to create a culture in which everybody sees that God is calling to them in different ways."
COMPASS will introduce young people to the varieties of religious life. "Young Catholics in a previous era would have had a nun as a primary teacher, an uncle who was a Franciscan, a Jesuit giving them a retreat, but almost all of those cultural connections have evaporated," Abbot Christopher says. The programme is supported and funded by a variety of religious orders including the Salesians, the Congregation of Jesus (formerly known as the IBVM), the Capuchin Friars, the Vocation Sisters and the Josephites. The COMPASS website was launched on 1 May at <www.compass-points.org.uk>.
The Etruscans are Coming!
The Mabee-Gerrer Museum on the campus of St. Gregory's University, Shawnee, Oklahoma, will host an extraordinary and unique showing of Etruscan jewelry and artifacts. "Unveiling Ancient Mystery: Etruscan Treasure" runs from 1 June to 31 October 2004. The Director General of the Vatican Museums, Dr. Francesco Buranelli, will give a lecture on the subject of Etruscan culture on 26 May 2004 at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee.
The exhibits come from the private collections of Prince Fabrizio Alliata, Dr. Buranelli and from the Etruscan section of the Vatican Museums. There are around 200 pieces of gold jewelry from 500 to 700 B.C. and 30 or so artifacts from the Vatican Museums. The National Exhibits Foundation, directed by Fr. Malcolm Neyland, is helping the Benedictines arrange the exhibition.
MOM and Memoria
On Friday, 14 May, a spotlight shined on the splendid history of the Abbey of Altenburg in Austria. Prof. Dr. Karl Brunner, Director of the Institute for Austrian Historical Research, and Dr. Thomas Aigner, head of the St. Pölten Diocesan Archive, presented the virtual archive of Altenburg monastery. All of the abbey's 472 early documents are now made available to researchers on the Internet at <www.monasterium.net/>. The service will eventually include about 20 Austrian monasteries and convents in the course of three years. The project, known also as MOM (from the scribe's abbreviation for the Latin word, monasterium), is based at the diocesan archive in St. Pölten. The goal is to make some 20,000 medieval documents freely available in digital format.
It is to be hoped that the project will, over time, become an unparalleled resource for the study of the common cultural legacy of Middle Europe that will also encompass collections from the Diocese of Passau and the Archabbey of Pannonhalma in Hungary in cooperation with similar undertakings in neighboring countries. Prof. Dr. Zdenek Uhlir+ from the National Library in Prague used the occasion to introduce the Czech Republic's Memoria-Project and the Database of Manuscripts <www.memoria.cz/> to the distinguished audience of scholars, historians, archivists, educators and ecclesiastics assembled at Altenburg.
The Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities will assemble at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH, from 20 to 22 June 2004. The ABCU website includes a collection of essays that discuss the nature of Catholic, liberal arts education. Featured speakers on the program are Fr. Joel Rippinger OSB, Sr. Irene Nowell OSB and Dr. Gary Bouchard.
There are still a few places open for participants in the Second International Benedictine Youth Congress sponsored by the International Commission on Benedictine Education. The success of the Congress held at Münsterschwarzach Abbey in 2001 led the organizers to make plans for another. The Congress will convene 28 July - 1 August 2004 at Woodside Priory School, California, under the banner, "Breaking Barriers, Making Waves." Since the end of April it is possible for those who have pre-registered to make payment internationally through a secure transaction portal managed by Fr. Elias Lorenzo OSB of Delbarton School, NJ, in conjunction with Chase Manhattan Bank.
The Oblates of Saint John's Abbey publish The Oblate five times a year. The March - April 2004 issue features a "Reflection on Easter" by Oblate Director Michael Kwatera OSB. Book and video reviews, news of the annual retreat, poems and recollections are among the regular features.
Seasons of Election
The Lent and Easter seasons proved busy ones for the Federation of Saint Benedict. Federation President Michaela Hedican OSB announces the results of several elections.
The Chapter of St. Paul's Monastery, St. Paul, MN, elected Sister Carol Rennie OSB prioress for a five-year term, on Sunday, 2 May 2004. Sister Carol is presently the director of the Oblates and of the Benedictine Center. Sister Maria Tasto OSB and Sister Kristine Harpenau OSB, both from Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, IN, were the facilitators for the discernment process.
The Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, ND, re-elected Sister Susan Berger OSB as Prioress on Sunday, 7 March 2004. This is Sister's third term of four years as prioress. Sister Maria Tasto OSB and Sister Kathy McNany OSB, Emmanuel Monastery, Lutherville, MD, served as the facilitators for the discernment process at Bismarck, ND.
At St. Bede Monastery, Sister Audrey Cleary OSB, Saint Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL, vice-president of the Federation of Saint Benedict, presided at the re-election of Sister Margaret Michaud OSB as prioress. Sister Mary Catherine Wenstrup, St. Walburg Monastery, Covington KY, was the facilitator for the discernment process. Sister Margaret begins her third consecutive term of four years. She was also prioress from 1972-1980.
Sr. Phyllis McMurray OSB succeeds Sr. Ruth Ksycki, OSB, as prioress at Saint Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL. The community completed discernment and election on Sunday, April 25, 2004.
No additional elections in the Federation are scheduled before September.
Archabbot Lambert Resigns
After nine years in office, on Thursday, 29 April, Archabbot Lambert Reilly OSB, 71, of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, announced his resignation as abbot effective 15 December 2004. His resignation has been accepted by Abbot Peter Eberle OSB, abbot-president of the Swiss-American Congregation. "The close of the sesquicentennial year seems to provide an appropriate time for a transition in leadership," Archabbot Lambert said. "Announcing my resignation now allows the community to pray and prepare for this change in leadership. I am confident that the Holy Spirit will guide the community in its selection of the next abbot." Born in Pittsburgh, PA, he made his first profession of vows as a Benedictine in 1956 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1959. He is a popular speaker and retreat director.
Abbot Primate Notker Wolf OSB has distributed his Circular Letter for 2004. He reviews conditions at Sant'Anselmo and the preparations underway for the Congress of Abbots in September. He reports briefly on his participation in international Benedictine meetings and numerous other matters.
Bari - E' morto mons. Mariano Magrassi OSB
+Archbishop Andrea Mariano Magrassi OSB, 73, Archbishop emeritus of Bari-Bitonto, died on 15 April at the Abbey of Madonna della Scala, Noci. Archbishop of Bari for 21 years until he retired in 1999, Magrassi's pastoral activity was particularly characterized by his devotion to interreligious dialog. He organized numerous academic encounters among representatives of various confessions. Requiescat in pace.
A second edition of the Atlas O.S.B. is in preparation to go to the printers. P. Johannes Paul Abrahamowicz OSB has been coordinating the work of Congregational webmasters correcting and updating online data about each monastery in the Confederation. The deadline for making changes online is 30 April 2004. The Web portal for the Atlas O.S.B. is <http://atlas.osb-international.info/>. The database is accessible through a variety of search strategies. Questions about the Atlas O.S.B. can be sent to <email@example.com>.
Abbaye St Guénolé de Landevennec
The Abbey of Saint Guenole was founded by its saintly patron in 485. It achieved a kind of "golden age" copying manuscripts in the Carolingian era before being destroyed by the Vikings in 913. The monks fled, but returned to rebuild their ruined monastery ca. 950. Learn more about the venerable monastery and its dependency in Haiti by visiting the abbey's new website at <http://abbaye-landevennec.cef.fr/>.
On Easter Tuesday, 13 April, it was announced that the Holy Father has elevated Dom Fabio Bernardo D'Onorio OSB, 63, Archabbot Ordinary of Montecassino, to the dignity of the episcopate. He has been assigned to the titular see of Minturno. At 13, he entered the Abbazia di Monte Cassino where he completed theological studies for ordination. He professed monastic vows on 30 September 1962 and was ordained a priest on 4 June 1966. He achieved the doctorate in both civil and canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University. Pope John Paul II confirmed his election as Archabbot and Ordinary of Montecassino on 25 April 1983.
Archabbot Bernardo serves as a member of the liturgical commission of the Italian Bishops' Conference, and he has published several titles in the fields of pastoral care and art history. H. E. Giovanni Cardinal Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, will be the principal consecrator at Archabbot Bernardo's ordination on 16 May 2004 at Montecassino. Ad multos annos!
Two Benedictine monasteries will be broadcasting liturgies live on the Internet during Holy Week. Saint Ottilien Archabbey, Germany, has been broadcasting its liturgical services live daily for about a year. Outside of the broadcast times, an archive tape of the previous service is available. Saint John's Abbey, Minnesota, regularly broadcasts its Sunday liturgy, but all of the major services of Holy Week will be available. Both monasteries use RealAudio technology for the broadcasts.
On 6 April, Saint Meinrad Archabbey announced the generous benefactions of two widows that total almost $27 million. Each bequest from the estates of Virginia Basso and Bernice Davey, both of Indianapolis, is in excess of $13 million. Longtime friends and philanthropic patrons of the Archabbey, the women met at a monastic event and ended their days at the same retirement home. "We are pleased that we will be able to apply a portion of these bequests toward our comprehensive capital campaign, bringing the total to nearly $29 million of our $40 million goal," said Archabbot Lambert Reilly OSB.
Launched in 1995, the OSB Website celebrated its 9th anniversary on 1 April.
What Was New (1995-; archive)
January, February and March 2004.
The monks of Saint John's Abbey welcome comments, questions and suggestions from readers at the Pilgrim's Parlor. Send items for inclusion in "What's New" to the <Webmaster>.
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