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April, May and June 2006

Rev. 1 July 2006


June 2006

Coptic Monastic Reformer Dies

+ Abouna Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor), spiritual father of the Monastery of Saint Macarius (Abo Maqar), Wadi Al-Natroun, Egypt, was born in 1919. He earned a degree in pharmacy in 1943, but in 1948 he abandoned that career to enter the poorest monastery of all, Anba Samuel in Upper Egypt. In 1969, Pope Kyrillos called Abouna Matta and his disciple monks to move to St. Macarius Monastery, situated halfway between Cairo and Alexandria. They found the deteriorated fourth century structure housing only five sick and elderly monks. Abouna Matta wrote 180 books, in addition to many journal articles, on scriptural and monastic themes that did much to re-awaken interest in Coptic monasticism. Today, in 2006, there are 130 monks and the area of the monastery is six times the original size. Abo Maqar attracts pilgrims from all over the world.

"His reviving influence upon Coptic monasticism is felt worldwide. He carried the torch of spiritual and theological enlightenment in the church by combining fundamental teachings with the needs of modern thinking. By doing this he transformed the monastic life from that of simple, undereducated and less-religious worshippers to a life for the more serious seekers of the truth." Abouna Matt's obituary concludes with links to two videos of his monastic funeral and burial on Thursday, 8 June.

Farnborough Elects

After a hiatus of six decades, St. Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, UK, is again the seat of an abbot. The monks of Farnborough elected Dom Cuthbert Brogan OSB, 39, to become the third abbot, 13 June. Until his election, Abbot Cuthbert served as the monastery's administrator and Conventual Prior.

In 1895 Empress Eugénie of France transferred the Farnborough monastery she had founded in 1887 to the Benedictines. At first a house of the Solesmes Congregation, since 1947 St. Michael's belongs to the English Province of the Subiaco Congregation. Eugénie's son, the Prince Imperial, died fighting Zulus for England in 1879. In 1888 Louis Napoleon was re-interred at Farnborough. Also interred in the Imperial Crypt are his father, Napoleon III, and the founding Empress Consort (d. 1920).

Promoting Humility

Sister Meg Funk OSB announces the launch of a website devoted to the quintessential Benedictine virtue, Humility. Sister Meg is the author of three books, Thoughts Matter; Tools Matter; and Humility Matters. The website at <> provides a "home" for contemplatives (lay and monastic) that facilitates dialogue with like-minded souls, expounds sound teachings and highlights retreat opportunities to experience the presence of God in everyday life. The teachings are all from the shared Christian Tradition.

Administrator Elected

On Monday, 12 June, in the wake of the retirement of Dr. Heinrich Ferenczy OSB as Abbot of Schottenstift in Vienna, the monks elected P. Johannes Jung OSB as administrator. Abbot President of the Austrian Congregation, Father Clemens Lashofer OSB, presided at the election of Father Johannes, Director of the Gymnasium. Retired Abbot Heinrich will devote his full attention to the role of Administrator of Saint Paul Abbey in Lavanthal.

Monks Promote Herbal Medicine

On 4 June Saint Benedict's Priory at Ewu-Ishsan in West Africa celebrated with great solemnity the commissioning of the PAX Herbal Research Laboratories and the launching of The Herbal Doctor, a quarterly journal of African medicine. Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze, Bishop of Uromi, led the opening prayers. Prior Vincent Mordi OSB explained that monks, all over the world, had been in the vanguard of revolutions in different disciplines such as agriculture, medicine, botany, and engineering. "Monks are among the greatest inventors and thinkers of all time," he said, "the monks of Ewu are, therefore, carrying on the tradition of their precursors" (Vanguard, Lagos). The National Food and Drugs Administration, NAFDAC, has already registered 15 of the center's products. Twenty others will be registered next year. The center has taken up the challenge of arresting the HIV/AIDS menace by setting up a laboratory to carry out intensive research into the production of herbal anti-retro viral drugs. Saint Benedict's is a dependency of Glenstal Abbey, Ireland, belonging to the Annunciation Congregation.

Auction Record Set

A well-documented drawing by Johann Friedrich Overbeck (1789-1869), founder of the Nazarene Movement in art, set a record auction price for a Nazarene work of 78000 € ($98,575 US). The artist gave the drawing as a present to Cornelia, the sister of his friend, Goethe, and her husband, the Frankfurt jurist, Fritz Schlosser. In 1825 the Schlossers inherited Stift Neuburg near Heidelburg that became a center for the honor of Goethe and home for Overbeck's drawing that depicts the entombment of Jesus. Eventually Alexander von Bernus, poet, philosopher and alchemist, inherited Stift Neuburg from Cornelia Schlosser and signed the drawing on the back. He, too, made the Stift a literary center. In the 1920's the Stift was returned to the Benedictines of the Beuronese Congregation and now they have auctioned the sketch.

Garden of Religions

On Pentecost Sunday the Garden of Religions opened with great fanfare at Altenburg Abbey, Austria. About 2,500 guests listened to selections by Prokofiev and Britten played by the "Spirit of Europe" youth orchestra. Taking a clue from the Vatican Council II declaration, Nostra aetate, that deals with non-Christian religions, the garden embodies three themes: the Way, Water and Bread. Abbot Christian Haiding OSB and Father Michael Hüttl OSB explained the theological concept of the garden and gave a tour accompanied by music from the various cultures. Entrance to the garden that day was free, but voluntary donations raised 1700 € ($2,150 US) for a crisis intervention center in Sri Lanka supported by Venerable Subhuti, a Buddhist abbot. The garden is open daily until 1 November.

Clear Creek

Ginger Shepherd has written a comprehensive cover story about Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Monastery, Hulbert, Oklahoma, for the Urban Tulsa Weekly. Founded in 1999 from the French Abbey Notre Dame de Fontgombault, Clear Creek has more than doubled in size from 12 to 26 monks of the Solesmes Congregation. The monks support themselves by raising sheep and cattle and by operating a sawmill.

Memorial Musings

In her latest column, "From Where I Stand," Sister Joan Chittister OSB, offers reflections on speeches presented at Memorial Day (29 May) services across the United States. "One question went unanswered, in fact, unasked, in all of them: What are we supposed to do when the numbers of war dead continues to climb? How does a person handle so much 'death by cable television?'" (NCR, 1 June 2006). Sister Joan is a member of the Erie Benedictines and the founder of Benetvision.

Benedictine Sisters Challenge Wal-Mart

Sister Patricia Wolf RSM, executive director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, supports a controversial proposal to the board of Wal-Mart. The Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas, members of ICCR, filed the proposal that asks the board to review Wal-Mart's compensation policies for its senior executives and prepare a comparison with that of the lowest-paid U.S. workers from July 1995 to July 2005. The disparity in compensation at Wal-Mart, 995 to 1, "is much larger than the average difference between the chief executive's pay and that of the lowest-paid workers. According to a study completed last year by the Institute for Public Studies, the ratio of chief's pay to the average worker was 431 to 1 in 2004" (MarketWatch). On 25 April, ICCR released briefing papers for investors voting Wal-Mart shares at the annual meeting on 2 June in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility is a 35-year-old international coalition of 275 faith-based institutional investors including denominations, religious communities, pension funds, healthcare corporations, foundations and dioceses with combined portfolios worth an estimated $110 billion. ICCR seeks to build a more just and sustainable society by integrating social values into corporate and investor decisions.

Accounting for Silos

In the academic journal, Accounting History, 11:2 (1 May 2006) 221-256, Begoña Prieto, Lorenzo Maté and Jorge Tu present the sophisticated bookkeeping system used by the Benedictine monks of the Monastery of Silos, Spain, during the eighteenth century. The procedures were set down in the Constitutions of 1701 of the Congregation of Saint Benedict of Valladolid. In the light of these regulations and the bookkeeping records that are still preserved at the monastery, they examine the activities that sustained the economic life of the monastery and led to the accumulation of its patrimony. The study includes an itemized breakdown of the different types of income: capital rents, rents from land and livestock, ecclesiastical dues, and stipends for religious services for the period under analysis (1694–1801). Their conclusions reflect on the role of Silos as an economic and social agent with an interest in preserving the privileges and assets it had acquired while continuing to intervene in economic affairs (Abstract).

+Abbot Athanas Recheis OSB

Retired Abbot Athanas Recheis OSB, 80, died shortly before Vespers on Wednesday, 31 May, at Seckau Abbey, Austria. Having recently returned to the abbey after a debilitating treatment, the monks noticed that he was growing weaker daily. Born in 1926, Abbot Athanas professed monastic vows in 1947 and became a priest in 1951. The monks of Seckau (Beuronese Congregation) elected him abbot on 3 January 1984. He retired in 1997. Abbot Dr. Johannes Gartner OSB, who succeeded him in June 2000, will preside at the Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday, 7 June, at 2 p.m.

+Abbot Vincent Truijen OSB

On Saturday, 27 May 2006, Abbot Vincent Truijen OSB, 90, died peacefully at Clervaux Abbey, Luxemburg. Born at Roermond, The Netherlands, on 25 May 1916, he professed vows at Saint Paulus Abbey, Oosterhout, in 1937 and became a priest on 19 December 1942. He was made Prior of Saint Paulus Abbey (Dutch Congregation) in 1949. He was sent to be the founding prior of the community at Vaals St. Benedictusberg (Solesmes Congregation) in 1951 and served as prior of St. Jerome's Pontifical Abbey in Rome that had been responsible for editing the Vulgata text of the Latin Bible. The monks of Clervaux Abbey elected him abbot, and he served as such from 1971 to 1991. Abbot Vincent was a highly accomplished monk, very much appreciated by his confreres and many friends. The monks of Clervaux Abbey celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial for Abbot Vincent on Wednesday, 31 May.

Benedictine Oblate Directors

The website at <>, launched May 2006, provides information about the 2007 biennial convention, July 28 to August 2. St. Martin's Abbey and St. Placid's Priory will host the biennial gathering of the North American Association of Oblate Directors on the campus of the University of St. Martin, Lacey, WA. For more information contact the President <antoinette @> or visit the website.

Bible Exhibit on Tour

On 9 June, the exhibition, titled "Illuminating the Word: The Saint John's Bible," is scheduled to open at the Tyler Museum of Art in Tyler, Texas. Organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Saint John's Abbey and University, the exhibition was last seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The city of Tyler is located about 100 miles east of Dallas. The museum boasts an extensive collection of works by some of Texas' best known artists. It also includes several works by other American artists, such as Albert Bierstadt and James Brooks. The collections are primarily 19th and 20th century, though recent acquisitions have included 16-17th century European paintings. "Illuminating the Word" runs until 3 September 2006. For more information about the philosophy and creation of The Saint John's Bible, visit the website: <>.

May 2006

New Journal

The Benedictine Study and Arts Centre (BSAC) at Ealing Abbey, London, is set to launch a new serial, Benedictine Culture: a Journal of Practical Theology (ISSN 1751-4673). The aim of the periodical, that will appear twice a year, is to promote conversation and mutual understanding within the Catholic Church. The organizers of the project are Abbot Martin Shipperlee OSB; Dom James Leachman OSB, editor and BSAC Principal; and Mrs. Ann-Marie Ryan, BSAC Dean of Studies. The first issue is expected to appear in August 2006.

Münsterschwarzach Elects

On Saturday, 20 May, the community of Münsterschwarzach Abbey elected Father Michael Reepen OSB its fifth abbot. Abbot Michael, 46, was until now novicemaster of the abbey. He had also worked at Ndanda Abbey in Tanzania. Münsterschwarzach, with 125 monks, is one the larger abbeys of the Congregation of St. Ottilien. The abbey maintains dependent houses in Germany at Damme and Würzburg and at Schuyler, Nebraska, in the US.

The election took place after the resignation on 24 April of Abbot Fidelis Ruppert OSB who, after 23 years as abbot, had expressed a desire to place the flourishing community in younger hands. The blessing of the new abbot will be on 24 June 2006.

PACMayerPaul Augustin Cardinal Mayer OSB

On Tuesday, 23 May, Paul Cardinal Mayer OSB, the only Benedictine in the College of Cardinals will celebrate his 95th birthday. He has lived during nine pontificates. He was ten when the present pope's namesake, Benedict XV, died. He has been a priest for 70 years. Born in Altötting, Bavaria, the monks of Metten Abbey elected him abbot in 1966. In 1971 Pope Paul VI appointed him to the Congregation for Religious and ordained him a bishop. In 1985 Pope John Paul II recognized his many years of service in Rome by elevating him to the rank of Cardinal and making him Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and, later, President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei." Cardinal Mayer was gratified and delighted to be invited recently to dinner and conversation with his fellow Bavarian, Pope Benedict XVI (Rheinischer Merkur Nr. 20, 18.05.2006). Es lebe hoch!

Weingarten Celebrates 950 Years

On Sunday, 14 May, the monks and friends of Weingarten Abbey, Germany, gathered for a special event in the yearlong celebration of the monastery's founding in 1056. In 1215 Hainricus, a monk of Weingarten, commissioned or produced an illuminated Sacramentary. The Mass book is considered one of the most beautiful and important examples of Romanesque book production. An exhibition in the Late Gothic cloister of the monastery -- opened ceremoniously with the participation of civic and religious notables -- features an exact facsimile of the manuscript. The original now resides in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, along with Weingarten's equally important Berthold Sacramentary. Both were lost at the time of the monastery's secularization by Napoleon in 1802.

Missing Monk

On Friday, 12 May, the monks of Pluscarden Abbey, Moray, Scotland, prayed a special Requiem Mass for Dom Maurus Deegan OSB. Father Maurus, 93, went missing one year ago during his regular walk in the neighborhood. A massive search effort returned not a trace of the monk. Abbot Hugh Gilbert OSB, superior of the monastery, said, "We still live in the hope that he will be found after all this time" (The Scotsman). Father Maurus was the last surviving monk of five sent in 1948 from Prinknash Abbey to re-establish monastic life at Pluscarden.

Rummage Sale

The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Tucson, Arizona, are planning a rummage sale. When they first arrived in Tucson in 1935, they were housed in the "Steinfeld Mansion" designed by Henry C. Trost (1860-1933), "Architect of the Southwest." Between 1903 and his death in 1933, Trost, associated by some with the "Chicago School," built more than 600 private homes, apartment buildings, department stores, theaters, hotels, lodges, religious buildings, and even a penitentiary. Trost designed the Sisters' first home as an Owls Club in 1898, but it was sold in the early 1900s to Albert Steinfeld, a successful merchant who lived there until his death in 1934. When the Sisters took possession, they discovered that the family had left behind quite a bit of furniture. It is this furniture that the Sisters plan to sell as part of their fund-raising efforts. The Sisters moved to their new monastery in 1940.

"The Monastery"

The Learning Channel (TLC) has concluded six weeks of filming an "observational documentary" about monastic life. "The premise of The Monastery, an American version of a similar British show produced last year for the BBC, is to cloister five men of varied backgrounds and faiths at the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert in the mountains northwest of Santa Fe and five women at the [Cistercian] Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey on a farm near Dubuque, Iowa" (USA Today).

Andechs Wins Lawsuit

Andechs Monastery, a dependent priory of St. Boniface Abbey in Munich, won a lawsuit in early May safeguarding the use of the name "Andechs." Kloster Andechs Gastronomie AG, a company founded eight years ago by Rainer Staiger, a businessman of Ulm, and P. Anselm Bilgri OSB, the former monk and cellarer of Andechs, filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. Staiger, however, retained use of the word "Andechs" in advertising and in Internet addresses, and, for a restaurant franchise. The First State Court, Munich, concluded that the cellarer had overstepped his competence by making a contract without permission of the monastic chapter, and that from the beginning of negotiations with Staiger the monks had always laid great importance on the word, "Andechs," and its use. Bilgri, however, bowing to pressure from Staiger, had concluded a private agreement during the bankruptcy proceedings that seemed to allow its use.

April 2006

Lawyer Elected Prioress

On Sunday, 23 April, the Sisters of Saint Walburg Monastery, Covington, Kentucky, elected Sister Mary Catherine Wenstrup OSB to be their twelfth prioress. Before her election, Prioress Mary Catherine, served as a canon lawyer and associate administrator for the Tribunal of the Diocese of Covington. The date for her installation has been set for 3 June 2006.

+ Bruder Wilhelm Lang OSB

On Wednesday, 26 April, Brother Wilhelm Lang OSB, 88, of St. Ottilien Archabbey died in the monastery's infirmary after a protracted illness. He professed first monastic vows 70 years ago on 1 May 1937. From 1954 to 1992 Brother Wilhelm worked at Sant'Anselmo and became well known and much respected throughout the Benedictine Confederation. Archabbot Jeremias Schroeder OSB and the monks of St. Ottilien will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial in the Abbey Church on Saturday, 29 April, at 10.30 a.m.

Easter in Jail

Sister Teresa Ann Wolf OSB spent her Easter at the Stark County Jail in Ohio. Sister Teresa is the Catholic Charities coordinator of pastoral care for immigrants at Centro San Jose el Trabajador. "Sometimes," she says, "there is a mistaken belief that we're (the Catholic church) calling for amnesty. What we want is a legal path to legalization, so people don't have to risk their lives or break the law. As a church and a country, we have a long history of immigration. The Old Testament in the Bible talks about welcoming the stranger. It's a Gospel mandate. People talk about 'What would Jesus do?' Jesus wouldn't turn his back on people" (The Repository, 22 April 2006). Sister Teresa went to the jail to minister to undocumented Hispanic immigrants who had been arrested. Benedictine Oblates, too, find prison ministry compatible with their calling.

Sister Teresa is a member of Mother of God Monastery in Watertown, South Dakota. She earned a Doctor of Ministry in Cross Cultural Pastoral Theology from the Catholic Theological Union in 1998. She holds a Master's Degree in Religious Education from St. Meinrad School of Theology.

Growing Benedictines

At the conclusion of the post-Easter Salzburg Conference, Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf OSB spoke to ca. 60 abbots and abbesses of German-speaking countries about the encouraging trend of increased vocations. The number of people entering monasteries is on the rise, especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia, but also in Italy and the United States. Abbot Benno Malfer OSB (Muri-Gries), president of the Swiss Congregation who presided at the meeting, said that most candidates nowadays are between the ages of 30 and 40. Worldwide there are more than 17,000 Benedictine women and 8,000 monks.

The Abbot Primate defended monasteries that have successfully engaged in economic activities. Benedictines must think and act commercially, since each abbey has to finance itself by its own work. Advertising and marketing messages, however, should not be mixed with the Good News of the Gospel. Agreeing, Abbot-President Benno added, "I must say to our advertising company again and again that our wine is no more heavenly than that of our lay competitors."

Three monasteries were added to the Conference: Hagia Maria Sion Abbey, Jerusalem; and the priories of Gut Aich and Maria Roggendorf in the Austrian Congregation.

Fire in the Stable of Disentis

Early in the morning of 17 April, a fire in the stable of the Benedictine monastery of Disentis, Switzerland, resulted in damage to property of over a million Swiss Francs. A cow died shortly after the fire was discovered, and a horse suffered burns. The fire in the large stable was first announced shortly after 4 a.m. According to the canton of Graubünden's police reports, the tenants and 40 firefighters were able to bring 23 cows, the horse and 26 young animals to safety. The injured horse was taken to the animal hospital to Zurich. The stable burned completely. The fire damaged the roof of an adjacent dwelling, but the fire-brigade was able to prevent further damage. The cause of the fire was not immediately evident.

On 6 May 1799, Napoleon's troops set fire to the abbey in retaliation for resistance by the local population to French oppression. The library and archives were completely destroyed.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer 100

Born on 4 February 1906, Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis on 9 April 1945 at Flossenbürg concentration camp in Bavaria. His crime was helping Jews escape from Germany to Switzerland. At the time of his arrest, Bonhoeffer was working on his book, Ethics, at the Benedictine monastery of Ettal near Munich. By 1935 he had become head of the Confessing Church, an alternative to the Aryanized Reich Church. Perhaps his experience of shelter among the monks of Ettal influenced his provocative statement, "Only he who cries out for the Jews can sing Gregorian chants." Andrew Walker investigates for BBC News the ethical dilemma of Bonhoeffer's involvement in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

Prison Ministry

Sister Timothy Kirby OSB, 87, has volunteered at the minimum security prison camp in Duluth, Minnesota, for 18 years. In addition to holding a weekly Sunday service, she leads a Wednesday evening Bible study. She is one of dozens of volunteers who serve the inmates' religious needs. Sister Timothy was also at the prison camp on Easter Sunday. "For her, the Easter message of resurrection and redemption is reflected in the inmates for whom she cares so much. Sister Kirby often sees resurrection in prison, such as when a man discovers how much he needs God and strives to be a different person. 'That discovery is a real resurrection for these men,' she said. 'It gives them such a peace in their lives -- a peace they probably haven't known for a long time'" (Duluth News Tribune, 16 April 2006).

Activist Nun

Mother Dolores Hart OSB, prioress of the Abbey of Regina Laudis, Connecticut, returned last week to Hollywood. In 1962 she abandoned a successful career acting in films and on the stage. In 1957 she had played opposite Elvis Presley in "Loving You," his first starring film role. Last month, Mother Dolores testified at a congressional hearing in Washington, citing the need for research into a cause and cure for the painful and crippling disease called peripheral idiopathic neuropathy. She succumbed to the illness in 1999 after major tooth surgery. In Hollywood she continued her campaign to educate people about the disease and to raise funds for medical research (AP).

Old is New

The ancient and celebrated Paschal candleholder of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, CandlestickRome, will again be used in the Basilica. Creating it in the 12th or 13th century, Nichola dell'Angelo and Pietro Vassalletto might have used the base and top from an older candlestick. For more than 20 years the 5.6 m tall candleholder has been exhibited as a work of art, accessible to tourists. The decoration depicts Christ's Passion, Death and Resurrection. The candlestick will receive the Paschal Candle at the beginning of the Easter Vigil and remain in use through Pentecost. Vassalletto is also responsible for the remarkable monastic cloister, erected between 1220 and 1241, that contains twisted pairs of columns enclosing a rose garden.

History of Holy Week

Father Juan Javier Flores Arcas OSB, President of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Sant'Anselmo, Rome, responded to questions from Zenit News Agency concerning the "History of Holy Week." About the significance of the Easter Vigil, Father Juan said, "Sunday of the Resurrection is the most important day of the liturgical year. Its center is precisely the Easter Vigil, on Holy Saturday night to Sunday of the Resurrection, but it belongs integrally to Sunday. It is the most important celebration of the year, the center of the whole liturgical cycle. It is the great sacramental night of the Church. It was so for centuries and, thanks to the liturgical reform promoted by the Second Vatican Council, it is so once again. Christians renew their baptismal promises while they see new Christians being incorporated in their ranks. It is the origin of every liturgical celebration and all culminate in it."

Spiritual Progressives

S. Joan Chittister OSB (Erie Benedictines), is a founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, an interfaith movement. Those in the network believe "The secular left consistently disarms itself of what could be its most powerful weapon: a spiritual vision of the world" (CBS 7 April 2006). Rabbi Michael Lerner, another founder, wrote for The Nation (24 April 2006 issue):

If the left could recognize that the capitalist marketplace already imposes a set of values in the public sphere, it would understand that the most effective way to combat the challenge of the religious right is not to fight for values neutrality in a public sphere already fully permeated by the values of materialism and selfishness but instead to introduce a set of spiritual values with progressive content. That is why we in the Network of Spiritual Progressives are calling for a New Bottom Line: institutions, corporations, legislation and social practices should be judged efficient, rational and productive not only to the extent that they maximize money and power (the empirically verifiable dimension) but also to the extent that they maximize love and kindness, generosity and compassion, ecological and ethical behavior, enhance our capacities to respond to other human beings as inherently (and not just instrumentally) valuable, and to respond to the universe with awe, wonder and radical amazement at the grandeur of all that is. With these values, we could counter the right and save the First Amendment.

Portsmouth Abbey Installs Wind Turbine

Friday, 30 March, marked the first full day of operation for the 241 foot wind turbine installed on the grounds of Portsmouth Abbey School. Meaghan Wims writes about the project for the Newport Daily News (1 April 2006). The $1.1 million investment is expected to provide enough clean energy to power, on average, 40 percent of the Abbey's needs for the next two decades.

Saint John's Sesquicentennial

5 April marks the 150th anniversary of the departure of five monks from Saint Vincent Archabbey, Pennsylvania. They traveled by train from Latrobe and by steamboat to St. Paul, Minnesota, arriving there on 30 April. Those monastic pioneers would eventually found Saint John's Abbey in Stearns County. A full program of celebrations will be presented through November 2007. To celebrate the sesquicentennial, Father Hilary Thimmesh OSB, President of Saint John's University from 1982 to 1991, edited Saint John's at 150, a collection of essays and photographs (Liturgical Press, April 2006).

Book CoverNeuerscheinung

Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf's book, Worauf warten wir? Ketzerische Gedanken zu Deutschland (What Are we Waiting For? Heretical Thoughts on Germany) appeared in bookstores on 1 April (Munich: Rowohlt, 224 p., paper, €12). The book contains personal musings about his native country, Germany. Among other topics he addresses are national politics, globalization, self-discipline, family life and the raising of children. Archabbot Notker resigned his abbacy at St. Ottilien Archabbey, Bavaria, after the Congress of Abbots elected him Abbot Primate in September 2000. The Abbot Primate is the featured speaker at the American Benedictine Academy's Convention, 10-13 August 2006, in Lisle, Illinois, and at the Monastic Institute, 1-7 July 2006, at Saint John's School of Theology, Collegeville, Minnesota.


The OSB Website was launched on 1 April 1995. This year marks the eleventh anniversary of the website. "For fools rush in where angels fear to tread " -- Alexander Pope: Essay on Criticism, 1.625.

Prior Appointed

On 29 March 2006 at the conclusion of their visit, superiors of the Ottilien Congregation appointed Fr. Edward Etengu OSB to be Prior of Tororo, Uganda. Fr Edward is 32 years old and joined Tororo Priory in 1994. At the same time Fr. Gabriel Joseph Ssenkindo OSB became Subprior. Former Prior, Fr Daudi Ssemwanga Tusuubira OSB, will return to his monastery of Tigoni, Kenya, after three years in office.


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