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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

October, November and December 2005

Rev. 2 January 2006

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December 2005

Monastery Moves

On 1 January 2006 the community of the Monastery of Santa Maria de Serra Clara of the Brazilian Benedictine Congregation, which depends on the Abbot President as its superior, will change its location and its name. It is leaving the country and going to the city. From now on it will be located in Pouso Alegre (MG), the seat of the Archdiocese, and it will be called Mosteiro de São Bento.

Sister Janelle Neither Dead Nor Buried!

The Duluth News Tribune ran a large submitted photo of Sister Janelle Cahoon OSB from the 1999 documentary "Sisters: Portrait of a Benedictine Community" (see below) directed by John Hanson. One editor typed the caption with a note to check on whether it was, in fact, Sister Janelle's funeral that was profiled in the film. Two more editors read the caption, believing that fact had already been checked, and the error slipped through. "People tell me I look pretty good for being buried that long," Sister Janelle said. Other nuns have suggested that she refer to the whole affair as "Dead nun walking."

Prince Appointed Prior

On Sunday, 18 December, Archabbot Jeremias Schroeder OSB, President of the Ottilien Congregation, appointed P. Florian Prinz von Bayern OSB, 47, as Prior Administrator of Tigoni Monastery, Limuru, Kenya. His term is set for three years.

Prioress Marie-Rita Installed

Having completed her visitation of the Monastery of the Glorious Cross in Branford, Connecticut, Mother Véronique Dussud OSB, Prioress General of the Congregation of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified, named Sister Marie-Rita Syn OSB, Prioress of the North American monastery. Mother Prioress Marie-Rita was installed in office on December 13th, feast of Saint Lucy.

Duluth Benedictines Filmed

The Sisters of the St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota, pursue a balanced life based on the Rule of St. Benedict and face an uncertain future with spirit, conviction and wit. Told by the Sisters themselves -- at work, prayer and leisure -- "Sisters: Portrait of a Benedictine Community" follows their lives over a span of two years. The Independent Lens feature premieres on some PBS stations on Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 10 - 11 p.m. Check local listings for broadcasts in your area. The film was made by Pro Video Productions, Duluth.

+ Abbot Benedikt Schlömicher OSB

Abbot emeritus Benedikt Schlömicher OSB of Admont Austria, died on Wednesday, 14 December. He served as abbot of Admont from 1978 to 1996. His successor, Abbot Bruno Hubl OSB, was elected on 1 August 1996.


The Abbey of Montevergine, Italy, <> is one of only four territorial abbeys in Italy. Founded in 1124 as the seat of a monastic congregation, the abbey was united to the Subiaco Congregation in 1879 and assigned to the Italian Province in 1958. The community cares for the Sanctuary that houses the famed icon of Our Lady of Montevergine. The monks are also know for their herbal concoctions prepared for pilgrims, an important library of illuminated manuscripts and incunables, and an extensive museum of Nativity sets (presepi). The monastery, near Naples, is especially well known to Italian immigrants all over the world who revere the Madonna of Montevergine. Her ancient icon is the largest in the world (4m x 2.6m).

Independent Priory

On Sunday, 11 December, St. Josef Priory in Maria Roggendorf, Austria, became an independent Priory in the Austrian Congregation. Founded in 1974, it became a dependent priory of Stift Göttweig in 1991. The monastery's first prior is P. Josef Fritz OSB.

Icon Writer Sketched

Sarah Garrecht Gassen profiles Sister M. Carmela Rall OSB, a Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration, Tucson, AZ, in "Windows to Heaven" (Arizona Daily Star, 10 Dec. 2005). Since 1999 she has been making sacred icons. "Byzantine Orthodox icon painting has rules that govern not only what the artist paints, because artists copy existing images, but precisely how the artist should proceed, technically and spiritually. The painting is supposed to be a religious experience, filled with prayer."

Learning from the Wind

Both elementary and high school students, it is foreseen, will benefit from the novel scientific experiment at Portsmouth Abbey School, Rhode Island. The monks, neighbors, zoning board and local politicians succumbed to the convincing arguments of Brother Joseph Byron OSB to build the state's first utility scale wind turbine. Advocates for wind power from Rogers Williams University also helped present the case for a licence to construct the 164-foot structure supporting a Danish Vesta turbine. Completion of the project is anticipated for March 2006.

New Dean Approved

The Holy See has approved the omination of P. Daniël Hombergen OCSO as the new Dean of Theology at the Pontifical Athanaeum of Saint Anselm, Rome. Father Daniël is a monk of Maria Toevlucht Abbey, Zundert, The Netherlands. He succeeds Father Mark Sheridan OSB, who became rector of the university.

Also named recently are the new Vice Rector and President of the Pontifical Institute for Liturgy, P. Juan Javier Flores Arcas OSB, a monk of Silos Abbey, Spain; the librarian, Dom James Leachman OSB, a monk of Ealing Abbey, UK; and the guest master, P. Romano Silva Lopes, a secular priest and oblate of São Bento, Brazil.

Tomb of Edward the Confessor Found

Radar imaging of the foundation for the famed Cosmati mosaic pavement in Westminster Abbey, London, has revealed the original site of the tomb of King St. Edward (1004-1066). Benedictine monks founded a community in 960, over a hundred years before the burial of the penultimate Anglo-Saxon King of England. "Although Edward's current whereabouts are known, after his body was moved twice in the 12th and 13th centuries, the location of the original tomb where he was buried after his death in January 1066 has always been a mystery" (Reuters/CNN).

< Queen Edith is present when angels escort the soul of King Edward to heaven. From the Life of Edward the Confessor, Cambridge University Library MS. Ee.3.59, fo. 29r, ca. 1255.

November 2005

Memorial of Dorothy Day

29 November 2005 marks the 25th Anniversary of the death of Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement and a Benedictine Oblate.

Monks Return to Douai

On 2 November 2005 two monks from Douai Abbey, England, Fr Finbar Kealy OSB and Fr Peter Bowe OSB, left to make a foundation in Douai, France, whence the community had been expelled in 1903. The foundation is being made at the invitation of the parishioners and townsfolk of Douai. The formal opening will be on Sunday, 5 February 2006.

Benedict XVI Chair at Latrobe

A newly endowed chair at St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, PA, will be officially announced on Nov. 28 with an inaugural lecture by Dr. Scott Hahn, who was named to head the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation. His topic will be his new book, "Letter and Spirit: The Living Word in the Church's Liturgy." The chair was established in 2004 with support from the Donahue and Magovern families of Pittsburgh.

Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister, grew up in suburban Pittsburgh. He has written or co-authored nearly a dozen books on Catholicism, the first in 1993 when he and his wife, Kimberly, wrote "Rome Sweet Home," about their conversion to Catholicism (Tribune Review). He is the founder and director of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

Vocation Directors Convene

Thirty Benedictine women and men from across the United States, as well as from Canada and Mexico, gathered at Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, Indiana, for the annual meeting of Benedictine Vocation Directors. The meeting was held 10-14 November 2005 and had as its theme "Hospitality: The Call."

Sister Lynn Levo CSJ, of Saint Luke Institute, gave a day's presentation on the psychosexual development of the candidate for religious life. Sister Patricia Henry OSB, prioress of Monasterio Pan de Vida in Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico, also gave a day's presentation on preparing communities for accepting men and women from various cultures.

Prior to the meeting, a day-long gathering was held for newly appointed vocation ministers. This gathering was led by Sisters Anita Louise Lowe OSB and Agnes Marie Dauby OSB of Ferdinand, and by Sister Cathy Bauer OSB of Covington, Kentucky, and Sister Nicolette Etienne OSB of Beech Grove, Indiana.

Election Allowed

The Holy See acceded on 4 November to the postulation of 4 October by the capitulars of the Monastery of Our Lady of Glory, Uberaba, Brazil. They had elected as Abbess S. Escolástica Pimentel OSB, a nun of Our Lady of Peace Monastery, Itapecerica da Serra. The new Abbess in the Brazilian Congregation will take possession on Thursday, 17 November. The abbatial blessing will be on 8 January 2006, feast of the Epiphany.

Pecos Partitioned

The Vatican has ordered an end to the decades-old coed arrangement at the Benedictine Our Lady of Guadeloupe Abbey near Pecos. The five women residents at the Mother of Mercy and Peace Monastery have never been officially recognized as nuns by the Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy.

The Vatican has asked the women to have less daily contact with the monastery's 14 monks. The Vatican proposes that the women complete a year-long period of training at an Olivetan convent in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to prepare them to become nuns.

The monastery's abbot, Christopher Zielinksi OSB, says they then could return to Pecos to establish their own convent. The nuns and monks would continue to work together at the monastery's school for spiritual directors. Zielinksi says three of the women who live at the monastery are leaving because of the Vatican order, and one of the monks is taking a leave of absence.

Graduate Programs Approved

Fr. Lawrence Stasyszen OSB, President of St. Gregory's University, Shawnee, OK, announced on Thursday, 10 November, that the University has achieved accreditation for a master's degree program in Business Management and a master's degree in Pastoral Theology.

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools expects the business master's degree program to commence in March 2006 in connection with St. Gregory's College of Working Adults at Shawnee and at Tulsa.

The undergraduate enrollment of St. Gregory's in fall 2005 surpassed the highest enrollment ever in the 130-year history of the monks' first school.

Prinknash Monks Move

The 14 Subiaco monks of Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire were housed beyond their needs. The monks moved from the 60-room monastery (1972) back to their previous residence, a 16th c. manor house on the property. Fr Martin McLaughlin OSB, the bursar at Prinknash, said that "the decision to move had been made to consolidate the community's resources and 'revitalise its traditional life of prayer, work and hospitality'" (Ekklesia, 08 Nov 2005). The land has been associated with Benedictines for 900 years, but the present community was established in the 1920s when a group of monks arrived from Caldey Island.

Green Benedictines

Glenstal Abbey, Co. Limerick, was a major winner at the Sustainable Energy Awards 2005 in Dublin. Using lake water, the monks saved 21,000 € on heating costs. "The awards focus on the individuals and groups who demonstrate a commitment to introduce energy management as an integral part in the operation" (Limerick Post, 09 Nov 2005).

Begabte Benediktinnerinen

S. Aquinata Böckmann OSB has enriched her online "Bibliography for Students of the Rule of Saint Benedict" with numerous new entries and corrections. The bibliography is classified by introductory topics, chapters of the Rule of Benedict, monastic themes and a glossary of terms arranged alphabetically. The bibliography is mined using a WebSideStory search engine.

S. Silja Walter OSB, member of Fahr Abbey, is one of the few writers who "for decades approached the secret of the divine search by their art of poetry" (Anton Scherrer, Paulus, Freiburg). Liselotte Kamber-Fey writes about Silja Walter in "Das Schwert im Herzen, nicht in der Hand" on the occasion of the publication of her Complete Works.

October 2005

Elections in Brazil

On Tuesday, 19 October, following the procedures of the Brazilian Congregation, the chapter of the Monastery of the Holy Cross of Brasilia (DF), Brazil, elected Rev. P. Dom Hugo da Silva Cavalcante OSB, 37, to be the Prior Administrator.

On Saturday, 8 October 2005, the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Mother of Christ Monastery, in Caxambu (MG), Brazil, elected as Prioress Mother Maria Regina Silva OSB of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace, Belo Horizonte (MG). The ceremony of installation took place on the same date as practiced in the Brazilian Congregation.

Code of Canon Law Online

Online elsewhere is the Code of Canon Law (CIC). Book Two, Part III deals with the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, often referred to in the Constitutions as "the universal law."

Austrian Congregation

On Wednesday, 19 October, the General Chapter of the Austrian Congregation re-elected Abbot Clemens Lashofer OSB (Göttweig) as President. Also elected were the four Assistants: Abbot Christian Haidinger OSB (Altenburg), Abbot Bruno Hubl OSB (Admont), P. Ambros Ebhart OSB (Kremsmünster) and P. Martin Rotheneder OSB (Melk). The election occurs every six years.

+ Abbot Alan Rees OSB

On 2 October 2005, Dom Alan Rees OSB, 64, Abbot of Belmont Abbey, UK, from 1986 to 1993, died tragically in consequence of an accidental fall at the abbey. Abbot Alan professed vows in 1969 and became a priest on 28 September 1974. A talented musician, Dom Alan was an associate of the Royal College of Music and the Royal College of Organists. He served as novice master before he was elected abbot on 9 July 1986. He was also Episcopal Vicar for Religious, Choirmaster, and composer. From time to time he wrote on Benedictine spirituality. He will be sorely missed by the monks and nuns of the English Benedictine Congregation. The Belmont Community, his family and many friends, will celebrate the Liturgy of Christian Burial on Monday, 10 October, at 2.30 p.m. in the Abbey Church.

AngelBeuronese Art

Beuron Archabbey in southern Germany is celebrating the opening of a new exhibition space with a display of selected art works. The collection recalls the first time Beuronese art was shown to a wider public at the Autumn Exhibition of the Wiener Sezession in 1905. The anniversary exhibition tries to present as many as possible of the works shown in Vienna 100 years ago when the city was a center of Late Art Nouveau (Jugendstil). Besides sculptures and gold metalwork are the designs of sacred decoration created for churches and chapels in Beuron and Monte Cassino. Important loans, among them precious miniatures created by nuns, supplement the Abbey's holdings. A richly illustrated catalog and comprehensive lectures at the start and completion accompany the exhibition that runs from 17 September until 27 November 2005.

+ Death of Abbess Benedict Duss

Lady Abbess Benedict Duss OSB, a physician who founded the first independent, cloistered, monastery for Benedictine nuns in the United States, died Sunday, 2 October, at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. She was 94. Mother Benedict retired in 1998 but retained the formal title of Abbess Emerita in recognition of her service as founder and leader of the monastery, which started in 1948.

She was born Vera Duss in Pittsburgh on 21 November 1910, and as a young girl, traveled to France with her mother and brother. She earned a medical degree at the Sorbonne and entered the Benedictine order in 1936 at the ancient Abbey of Notre Dame De Jouarre, outside of Paris. After Gen. George Patton's Third Army liberated the abbey in 1944, Mother Benedict returned to the United States. She has said she regarded it as a call to return to her native country to start her own monastery.

Mother Benedict and co-founder Mother Mary Aline Trilles de Warren OSB gave their monastery the Latin name meaning "Queen of Praise" in honor of the Virgin Mary. The story of its founding became the basis for a 1949 movie, "Come to the Stable." In 1976 the Vatican elevated the monastery to the status of abbey. The wake will be on Monday and Tuesday at the abbey church. His Excellency Henry Mansell, Archbishop of Hartford, will celebrate the Liturgy of Christian Burial on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Camaldolese Elect Prior General

On Saturday, 1 October, the general chapter of the Camaldolese Congregation of Order of Saint Benedict elected Dom Bernardino Cozzarini OSB Cam, 65, as Prior General of the Order and local superior of Camaldoli, Italy. Born at Saint Giovanni di Casarsa (PN), he made first monastic profession at Camaldoli on 27 February 1966. He became a priest on 6 August 1972. Previously, for many years Prior Bernardino had received assignments to the General Council (1981-1993), was Master General of Students (1993-1999) and served most recently as the Vice-prior of the Monastery of Camaldoli.

Prior Bernardino achieved a licence in monastic theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant' Anselmo (1972) and has been active in interreligious dialogue. At the end of the 1970s he lived near the Saccidananda Ashram in the Tamil Nadu region of India. He was instrumental in helping the ashram -- founded by Jules Monchanin and Henri Le Saux and continued by Dom Bede Griffiths OSB Cam -- to be incorporated in 1981 into the Camaldolese Congregation.

Prior Bernardino succeeds Dom Emanuele Bargellini OSB Cam whose service as guide for the Congregation lasted eighteen years. The Camaldolese Congregation consists of houses for men or women.

Australian Election

The Good Samaritan Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict of Australia, Japan, Philippines and the Republic of Kiribati announce the successful completion of the process of election of 28 and 29 September 2005 in Sydney, New South Wales. More than 200 Benedictine women chose Sister Clare Condon SGS to be the next Congregational Superior. Sisters Maria Tasto OSB and Jane Becker OSB from Ferdinand, Indiana, facilitated the process of discernment. Sisters Kerin Caldwell SGS, Patricia Fawkner SGS, Veronica Hoey SGS and Carmel Pattinson SGS were elected to the Council of the Superior.

Synod on the Eucharist

The Holy Father has appointed four Benedictine priests to serve as experts for the forthcoming Eleventh General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The monks are Fr. Juan Javier Flores Arcas OSB, president of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, faculty of liturgy of the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome; Fr. Stephan Haering OSB, of the abbey of Metten and professor of canon law at the University of Munich, Germany; Fr. Roberto Nardin OSB Oliv, professor at the faculty of theology of the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome; and Fr. Fidelis Ruppert OSB, abbot of Münsterschwarzach, Germany. From 2 to 23 October 2005 the Synod will treat the topic: "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."


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