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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

January, February, and March 2009

Rev. 20 October 2015


March 2009

Erzabt Bruno Becker OSB

Election in Salzburg

On Friday, 27 March 2009, the 21 monks of St. Peter's Archabbey, Salzburg, elected Father Bruno Becker OSB, 63, to become the 87th successor to the community's founder, St. Rupert. On 24 April he  succeeds Archabbot Edmund Wagenhofer OSB when his term of 12 years expires. Father Bruno professed first vows 17 October 1966 and was ordained a priest 29 June 1971. Dr. Alois Kothgasser, Archbishop of Salzburg will impart the abbatial blessing, probably on 16 May 2009. Es lebe hoch!

Relic of Saint Benedict

The Catholic Herald (UK) reports on a recent announcement by the British Museum that 39 relics were found embedded in a 12th century portable altar from Hildesheim, Germany, that will be displayed in the museum's Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery of Medieval Europe. The most authentic relic is that of Saint Benedict of Nursia. Monsignor Keith Barltrop said, "What is exciting is that the relic they seem most definite about is that of St Benedict. I think that it is important to venerate St Benedict, who after all is a saint for Europe. Even if Europe has forgotten its Christian roots, it was the monasteries that helped rebuild Europe. St Benedict played a pivotal role in this with his monastic rule." The British Museum acquired the altar in 1902. Other relics will be displayed in the new medieval gallery that opened 25 March 2009. See also the article and short video from Times Online.

Symposium Scheduled

The Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in collaboration with The Benedictine Congregations of St. Ottilien, of Camaldoli, and of the Annunciation, Saint Vincent Archabbey, the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mariannhill, and the Alliance for International Monasticism (AIM) announce the symposium, Mission and Monasticism, 7 to 9 May 2009. The purpose of the symposium is to examine the apparent contradictions between mission and monasticism from a variety of points of view, ecclesiological, missiological, sociological, and historical.

Transitus of Saint Benedict

Sacred Heart, Cullman, Alabama

Benedictines commemorate the passing of Saint Benedict on Saturday, 21 March. Like the great Saint Joseph, devotion to whom was fostered at Monte Cassino, Saint Benedict is a fitting patron at the time of death. On the margin of the medal of St. Benedict, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the Latin words: Eius in obitu nostro præsentia muniamur (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death). An additional prayer to Saint Benedict for a happy death is available online.

Pope St. Gregory's account below of St. Benedict's serene death ca. 543 A.D, is enhanced by testimony of Benedict's ability to forecast the day of it and his ability to communicate the news of it remotely by signs.

Six days before he died, he gave orders for his tomb to be opened. Almost immediately he was seized with a violent fever that rapidly wasted his remaining energy.  Each day his condition grew worse until finally, on the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the chapel where he received the Body and Blood of our Lord to gain strength for his approaching end. Then, supporting his weakened body on the arms of his brethren, he stood with his hands raised to heaven and, as he prayed, breathed his last.
--Gregory the Great, Dialogues, Book 2, c. 37.

Preach the Collects

The weekly commentaries on the Opening Prayers of the Mass by Fr. Daniel McCarthy OSB that appeared in The Tablet in 2006-2007 are now available in one book from The Tablet. The  commentaries are corrected and revised and the personal translations of the prayers are improved. Five homilies are included to foster preaching from the prayers of the liturgy, including two homilies by Dom James Leachman OSB. The book is: Listen to the Word: Commentaries on Selected Opening Prayers of Sundays and Feasts with Sample Homilies (Documenta rerum ecclesiasticarum instaurata, Varia), London: The Tablet Publishing, 2009.

The American Monastic Newsletter

The American Benedictine Academy makes its newsletter available online. The February 2009 issue of The American Monastic Newsletter reports on efforts by several communities to live ecologically. S. Lynn McKenzie OSB recaps in her canon law column the legal position of the abbot primate. S. Jacqueline Ernster OSB, president, reports on a proposed constitutional change that would reserve a position for an Oblate on the governing board. Other features include a conversation with a Buddhist cleric, coming events, reports on monastic studies, calls for papers, and brief book reviews.

February 2009

Abbey of St. Walburga Opens Press and Store

The nuns of the Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale, Colorado, have started a small publishing business, the St. Walburga Press. The press publishes books, booklets, CD's, blank journals, note cards, and other small gift items created by the nuns, oblates and friends of the Abbey. The new online store features booklets by Mother Maria-Thomas Beil OSB, Sister Genevieve Glen OSB, and Father John Krenzke. Three blank journals, lined and unlined, with illustrations and quotations, were created by the staff of the St. Walburga Press. The store also sells works by Sister Genevieve and Sister Hildegard Dubnick OSB from other publishers. The nuns plan to add CD's and other gift items soon. Visit the store at <>. For now, shipments are limited to the U.S.

Abbazia Santa Giustina Elects Abbot

On 27 February 2009, the monks of the venerable Abbey of Saint Justina, Padua, elected P. D. Francesco Trolese OSB. Abbot Francesco, 69, made first vows in 1957 and became a priest in 1966. The abbey, near the basilica, is documented to the eighth century. In the fifteenth century it was the principal abbey of the reforms embodied in the Congregation of Saint Justina of Padua. The abbey became extinct in 1810, but in 1919 Pope Benedict XV repopulated it with monks from Praglia. Most Rev. Antonio Mattiazzo, Archbishop of Padua, confers the abbatial blessing on 3 May 2009.

Fires Brush Tarrawarra Abbey

The Cistercian monks of Tarrawarra Abbey, Australia, and all their buildings survived the devastating bushfires of Saturday, 7 February, although about 150 acres of their property were burnt, 60 prime heifers that had just begun calving perished, new plantations of trees and much fencing were destroyed. "Our deep sympathy and prayers," says Abbot David Tomlins OCSO, "are with all those who have suffered so much loss. We continue to pray for all the wonderful volunteers who have been out there giving themselves so totally for others in these tragic circumstances."

Benedict and Scholastica

Saint Scholastica

On Tuesday, 10 February, Benedictines celebrate the holy life of Saint Scholastica of Nursia. Her twin brother, Saint Benedict, is the Patriarch of Western Monasticism.

"Whether or not the great Patriarch established a nunnery, it is certain that in a short time he was looked upon as a guide and father to the many convents already existing. His rule was almost universally adopted by them, and with it the title Abbess came into general use to designate the superior of a convent of nuns " (Cath. Encyclopedia).

Pope Saint Gregory, in Chapter 33 of Book II of his Dialogues, tells the story of the last meeting between the two siblings. He uses it to teach a lesson in the efficacy of prayer.

Saint Scholastica died shortly after their encounter, and Saint Benedict was soon thereafter laid to rest beside her in the crypt of Monte Cassino Abbey.

January 2009

Archabbot Asztrik Re-elected

On Thursday, 29 January 2009, the 77 monks of Pannonhalma Archabbey, Hungary, endorsed Bishop Imre Asztrik Várszegi OSB, 63, as archabbot for another nine years. Consecrated bishop in 1988, he was elected archabbot in 1991. The archabbey educates about 700 students at Pannonhalma and Györ in two high schools with boarding facilities. The monks maintain two retirement homes as well as 26 parishes. The archabbey also sponsors numerous opportunities for theological and spiritual development (Kathweb).

Eighth Abbot for En Calcat

On Friday, 23 January 2009, the monks of the Abbey of Saint Benedict of En Calcat elected Frère David Tardif d'Hamonville OSB, 44, to succeed Père André-Jean Demaugé OSB, 70, seventh abbot. Abbot David entered En Calcat in 1986 and professed solemn vows in 1993. He became a priest in 1999. He is a biblical scholar and a talented artist and musician. He has composed a number of liturgical hymns for the monastic repertoire and works in the stained glass workshop at En Calcat.  Since 2003 he has served as the director of liturgy and master of the choir.

Most Rev. Pierre-Marie Carré, Archbishop of Albi, will confer the abbatial blessing on the feast of the Annunciation, 25 March 2009, 4 p.m.

Abbot John Herbert Confirmed at New Norcia

On Thursday, 22 January, during a canonical visitation by the Subiaco Congregation, the chapter of New Norcia Abbey, Western Australia, elected Father John Herbert OSB as their seventh abbot. Abbot John succeeds the esteemed and lamented +Abbot Placid Spearritt OSB. After consulting the council, Abbot President Bruno Marin OSB confirmed the abbatial election at which Abbot Hugh Gilbert OSB, Pluscarden Abbey, Scotland, presided.

Abbot John, 44, was born in Melbourne, Victoria, and joined the community in 1995 after a ten-year career in hospitality. He has served the community in the garden; in the sanctuary, as coordinator of the liturgy; in the guesthouse through ministry to seekers; and in the monastery as prior and director of formation.

Abbot John has been serving as parish priest, and he is at work on a master's in counseling. The abbatial blessing will take place at 10:30 a.m. in the abbey church on Saturday, 7 March 2009.

HMML Featured on Public Radio

The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John's University in Collegeville, MN will be featured on American Public Media's weekly radio program, Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett on Sunday, 18 January. The program is scheduled to air on all Minnesota Public Radio affiliates at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Check other affiliates for broadcast times.

HMML is continuing the Benedictine legacy of preserving and copying ancient manuscripts -- with a modern technological touch. The program's website also has video footage and interviews with HMML staff describing different aspects of HMML's world-wide outreach and preservation work. An archived version of the program will also be made available.

Election at Tigoni

On Thursday, 15 January 2009, the monks of Tigoni Priory, Kenya, elected Father Lawrence Mukuru OSB their new prior. Prior Lawrence is 39. His last appointment had been as assistant parish priest in St. Benedict's Parish, Nairobi. His term as conventual prior is for six years. The period of office of his predecessor, Prior Administrator Father Florian OSB, Prince of Bavaria, had ended the same day as the election. The independent priory belongs to the Ottilien Congregation.

B. Wimmer OSB

Bicentennial of
Boniface Wimmer OSB

14 January 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Archabbot Boniface Wimmer OSB, founder of the American-Cassinese Congregation.

"Like St. Paul, Wimmer was a missionary who preached the Gospel over a wide geographic area. He was a community builder who traveled extensively and established Christian communities everywhere he went. He was a man of strong faith whose zeal and single-minded devotion to duty strengthened the Church of Christ. He was a prolific letter writer who through his persuasive correspondence inspired those to whom he wrote to remain faithful in the face of adversity.

"Today, Saint Vincent Archabbey in Pennsylvania, founded by Wimmer in 1846, is the largest Benedictine monastery in the world. American Benedictines who trace their roots directly to Wimmer pray and work in more than 20 American states, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Colombia, Brazil, China, and Japan" (

Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf OSB delivered "Passion for Christ," the keynote address for the inauguration of the Wimmer Bicentennial. Vespers at Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, 7 p.m., opened the year-long memorial.

Blue Cloud Monks Elect an Abbot

On the morning of Saturday, 10 January 2009, the monks of Blue Cloud Abbey chose Father Denis Quinkert OSB to be their abbot. He had held the office of abbot previously from 1986 until 1991. A year ago, Father Denis had been named Prior of Blue Cloud and he became the administrator of the abbey upon Abbot Thomas Hillenbrand's resignation on 1 January of this year.

Abbot Denis was born in New Albany, Indiana, on 7 July 1936. He attended St. Placid Hall, a secondary school for Brotherhood candidates at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana. Upon graduating from there in 1954, he came to Blue Cloud Abbey, St. Meinrad's foundation in Marvin, South Dakota. He professed vows in 1956. As a Benedictine Brother, Abbot Denis worked on the abbey farm, helped with the construction of the monastery and farm buildings, and was later assigned as a prefect at the Indian schools staffed by Blue Cloud Abbey. Several years later, he began studies for the priesthood at Pope John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts. He was ordained at Blue Cloud Abbey in 1976. As a priest of the community, Father Denis was a pastor at Ft. Totten, North Dakota, and at Wagner and Milbank in South Dakota. He also served as a chaplain to the Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery and the students of Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota.

+ Father Dominic Braud OSB

On 1 January 2009 Father Dominic Braud OSB, 80, of St. Joseph Abbey, St. Benedict, Louisiana, died peacefully shortly before Lauds. Father Dominic professed vows in 1956 and became a priest in 1961. He had been choirmaster at St. Joseph's off and on for almost 40 years. He served as novice master and formation director from 1964 until 1979. He was active in the Benedictine Musicians of the Americas and in the Formation Directors' workshop. Some of his musical compositions were widely used in North American monasteries of both men and women. He had recently served as Oblate Director for St. Joseph Abbey, and he was an avid amateur historian and archeologist.

+ Brother Dietrich Reinhart OSB

Dietrich Reinhart OSB

Brother Dietrich Reinhart OSB, 59, president emeritus of Saint John's University, died peacefully at Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, early on Monday, 29 December.

The monks of Saint John's Abbey will receive the body of Brother Dietrich at a Vigil Service, 7 p.m., Monday, 5 January 2009. Abbot John Klassen OSB will preside at the Mass of Christian Burial, Tuesday, 6 January, Saint John's Abbey Church, 3 p.m. Interment will follow in the Saint John's Abbey Cemetery.

Brother Dietrich served as the 11th president of Saint John's University from 1 July 1991 to 21 October 2008. He was the first non-ordained monk to be president of the university, and he was passionately involved in the process of defining what it means to be a Catholic college at the beginning of the third millennium.



What's New (Aktuelles) in the Austrian Congregation. Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag).
What Was New (1995-; archive)

October, November, and December 2009.

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