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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

July, August, and September 2009

September 2009

Benedictine Oblate Named Bishop for UK Forces

Pope Benedict XVI has named Monsignor Richard Moth, 51, as Bishop for Her Majesty's Forces in the United Kingdom. Msgr. Moth has been an oblate of Pluscarden Abbey, Scotland, for 30 years. He began his service on the marriage tribunal for Southwark Diocese in 1987. Msgr. Moth served for five years as a Territorial Army chaplain attached to 217 General Hospital RAMC (V). In 2001 Archbishop Michael Bowen appointed him vicar general and chancellor of Southwark Diocese. The episcopal ordination will take place in Westminister Cathedral, London, 29 September 2009, Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels, 11:30 a.m. (Podcast interview).

Anselm and Jesus in a manuscript

Saint Anselm of Aosta

The Holy Father honored the 900th anniversary of the death of Saint Anselm, 1033/4-1109,  by devoting Wednesday's general audience, 23 September 2009, to a consideration of the saint known also as Anselm of Bec and Anselm of Canterbury. He began by mentioning Sant'Anselmo atop the Aventine, the Benedictine house of studies and home of the Abbot Primate, "a place that unites prayer, study, and government, precisely the three activities that characterized the life of the saint to which it is dedicated" (Zenit).

Intensive Study of the Rule of Benedict
in the Land of Benedict
2 January to 28 February 2010

Directed by Sr. Dr. Aquinata Böckmann OSB, the participants in this rare continuing educational opportunity will learn to use  the tools of exegesis that will enable them to share those tools with others and to study the Rule of Saint Benedict and other texts in their contemporary situations. The 2010 program will be in Englilsh, possibly for the last time, at Casa Santo Spirito, Generalate of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing, Rome, Italy. The fee of 4000 € includes working materials, room, and board for eight weeks. Download the brochure (in English; MS .doc) or contact Sr. Pia Portmann OSB <> soon for there are only a limited number of open spots left.  The 2011 program will be in Portuguese.

Monastic Life Resumes at Maribor Priory, Slovenia

On 12 September 2009 monastic life in common resumed at Maribor Priory, northeast Slovenia. The community consists of three monks: Archabbot Emeritus Edmund Wagenhofer OSB from St. Peter in Salzburg, Father Modestus Merkac OSB, from Maribor Priory, and Father Timotheus Juric OSB from Göttweig Abbey, Austria. The priory was restored to the Benedictines in 1992 and efforts began immediately to resettle it with monks. The property can house 10 persons, and there is space for conferences with up to 20 participants. On 1 May 2009 Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf OSB named Archabbot Edmund Prior-Administrator for a term of three years. The goal is to share monastic life based on the Gospel and the Rule of Saint Benedict with other vowed religious, clergy, and laity for short periods of time. Saints Cyril, Methodius, and Benedict have been chosen as the heavenly patrons of the priory (Kathweb).

Bavarians Elect New Abbot President

On Friday, 11 September 2009, the General Chapter of the Bavarian Congregation elected Rt. Rev. Barnabas Bögle OSB, 52, Abbot of Ettal Abbey, to succeed Abbot Gregor Zasche OSB, 70, retired abbot of Schäftlarn, as Abbot President. The capitulars chose scenic Andechs Monastery as the venue for their quadrennial gathering. Abbot Barnabas professed first vows in 1981 and was ordained a priest in 1987. Es lebe hoch!

Neighbors Force Monks to Abandon Their Monastery

Violent actions and threats from neighbors have forced the monks of San Salvador del Monte Irago, Rabanal, to flee their monastery under the protection of the Spanish Civil Guard. They have taken refuge in the mother house of their congregation, St. Ottilien Archabbey, Germany. The cause of the dispute between the monks and their neighbors is the subsidy of 1 million Euros granted by the Junta de Castillia-León for the restoration of the Romanesque church of the Assumption of Our Lady. The city council and the monastery's neighbors are convinced that they should administer the restoration fund. In an official statement, the monks deplore the acts of violence that interrupted the celebration of the Eucharist and subjected the monks to insults and threats. Most Rev. Camilo Lorenzo Iglesias, Bishop of Astorga, supports the monks.

August 2009

+ Abbot Robert West OSB

Abbot Robert West OSB, 95, of Assumption Abbey, Richardton, ND, died 30 August 2009. He professed first monastic vows in 1937. He was ordained in 1942.

Abbot Robert earned a bachelor of science degree and supervised construction of several buildings. Besides teaching mathematics, carpentry, and metal work in the abbey's school, he also served as coach for the sports teams.

From 1954 to 1967 Abbot Robert served mostly in parishes. After his election in 1967, English was used for the abbatial blessing for the first time at Assumption Abbey. Abbot Robert served the community for 12 years, until January 31, 1979. His personality, marked by considerable optimism and peace, helped much to guide the monks through the difficult post-Vatican II years.

After several years promoting Assumption Abbey table wines, he returned to pastoral life in 1994 in Circle, Montana, where he was much loved. He retired in 1998 to the Abbey. In 2006 he took up residence after a painful fall at the Richardton Health Center where he died. The monks held a Vigil Service, 2 September, and celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial the next day followed by interment in the Assumption Abbey Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

The Monks of Gerleve Elect Fifth Abbot

On 24 August 2009, the Beuronese Benedictine monks of Gerleve Abbey gathered to elect their fifth abbot. The new abbot, Fr. Laurentius Schlieker OSB, has served Gerleve Abbey as Prior-Administrator since his election as such on 5 December 2006.  Born in 1951, Abbot Laurentius entered Gerleve in 1969 and was ordained priest in 1976. After studies at Rome and Aachen he taught church music at Herford from 1987 to 1993 and became widely recognized as an accomplished organist. Most Rev. Felix Genn, Bishop of Münster, will impart the abbatial blessing at Gerleve on 24 October 2009, 3 p.m.

Abbot Columban

Election at Göttweig Abbey

On the Vigil of the Assumption of Mary, 14 August 2009, the monks of Göttweig Abbey elected P. Prior Columban Luser OSB to be the monastery's 65th abbot. Besides his duties as claustral prior since 2007, Father Columban, 53, serves as the director of the St. Altmann Retreat House and pastor at Unterbergern. He entered the monastery in 1976. He professed solemn vows and became a priest in 1980. He succeeds Abbot Clemens Lashofer OSB, recently deceased President of the Austrian Congregation, who died on 6 July 2009. Abbot Christian Haidinger OSB, First Assistant in the congregation, presided at the election.

Latrobe's Grist Mill

Liane Hansen of National Public Radio visited Saint Vincent Archabbey and broadcast a report on Sunday, 2 August 2009. The broadcast is available online. The grist mill, now on the National Historic Register, is her first stop. The NPR Weekend Edition blog, Soapbox, offers a slideshow of 23 photographs that supplements the broadcast.

The archabbey continues to celebrate through 29 December 2009 the 200th anniversary of the birth of Archabbot Boniface Wimmer OSB, founder.

Benedictines for Peace

In advance of the 6 and 9 August commemorations of the victims of the atomic bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Benedictines for Peace supports H.R. 1045 that calls for the worldwide reduction of nuclear arsenals in favor of the increased "funding of critical child survival, hunger, and education programs around the world" (Union of Concerned Scientists).

July 2009

Benedictine Missionary

Mike Latona writes in the Catholic Courier (24 July 2009) about Father Damian Milliken OSB, an Ottilien Benedictine missionary who spent 50 years in Tanzania.

Young Cistercian to be Canonized

Blessed Brother María Rafael Arnaiz Baron OCSO, 1911-1938, whom Pope John Paul II offered as a model during the 1989 World Youth Day in Spain, will be canonized on 11 October 2009 (Zenit, 22 July 2009). Blessed Rafael died of diabetes as a monk of the Abbey of Saint Isidore, Dueñas.

New Address

Benet Hill Monastery announces a change of address from 2555 N. Chelton Road to 3190 Benet Lane, Colorado Springs, CO 80921-1590. Telephone number and fax are unchanged. The new location, about 18 miles north near Fox Run Regional Park, is less heavily populated.

A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church

Dom Rembert Weakland OSB, 82, former abbot primate and Archbishop Emeritus of Milwaukee, has written "Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop." Kenneth Briggs praises the book as "a vivid, insightful panorama of a life that began as the child of a mother on welfare in western Pennsylvania and took him through the most momentous decades of recent church history" (Philadelphia Inquirer). William L. Portier recognizes the book, A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church, to be "worthwhile as autobiography, and for the history Weakland has lived through and written about so well. But most of all it is worthwhile because there is a real Rembert Weakland here ... a strong but humbled man of God, a man whose confreres did not err when they found in him the qualities St. Benedict asked of abbots" (Commonweal). Some contributors to Catholic blogs are less welcoming of the publication.

Solemnity of Saint Benedict

Benedict ms. illumination

Benedictines and their friends celebrate Saint Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism and Co-Patron of Europe, on Saturday, 11 July. Born in 480 A.D., his Rule for Monasteries brought order and creativity to a world of decadence and corruption. The medieval manuscript illustration depicts our Founder as a scribe.

What we know of Saint Benedict comes from the Second Book of the Dialogues written by Pope St. Gregory the Great. The office hymn, Gemma caelestis recalls his vision of the death of his twin sister, Scholastica, and the sequence, Laeta quies, poetically recalls incidents of Benedict's life in the light of scriptural precedents.

11 July is the traditional date of profession for many men and women monastics.

Abt Clemens OSB

+ Abbot President Clemens Lashofer OSB

Abbot Dr. Clemens Lashofer OSB, President of the Austrian Congregation, died on Monday, 6 July 2009. Anton Lashofer entered the novitiate of Göttweig Abbey in 1959 and received the name Clemens. He professed solemn monastic vows in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1965. In 1973 the monks elected him, at the age of 32, to become the abbey's 64th abbot and the world's youngest abbot at the time. In 1982 he became Abbot President. At the time of his death he was the world's longest serving abbot and abbot president. The community will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, 21 July 2009, in the abbey church, 9 a.m. Herr, gib ihm die ewige Ruhe.

New Archpriest for St. Paul Outside-the-Walls

The Holy Father, on 3 July 2009,  named Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, the secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, to become archpriest of the Roman basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls. He replaces Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, who is resigning at the age of 83. To fill the opening created by Archbishop Monterisi's departure, the Pope has named Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, who is currently serving as apostolic nuncio in Spain, to be the new secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.

+Dom Garcias Colombas Llul OSB

Fr. Garcías de Cisneros M. (Benet) Colombás Llull OSB, of the Monastery of Santa María de Montserrat in Catalonia died on Wednesday, 1 July 2009, at the age of 88. He entered the monastery in 1942, professed solemn monastic vows in 1947, and was ordained a priest in 1948. He earned a Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History from the University of Louvain, Belgium, 1954. He founded the international journal Studia Monastica and was also the founder of the Sociedad de Estudios Monásticos and the magazine Yermo. He published many works on the history of monasticism and on ecclesiastical history. The funeral Mass was celebrated on Thursday, 2 July, 10:45 a.m., by the Abbot of Montserrat, Fr. Joseph M. Soler OSB.

Benedictine Named Archbishop of Olinda e Recife, Brazil

On 1 July 2009, the Holy Father named Most Rev. Antônio Fernando Saburido OSB, 62, to succeed Most Rev. José Cardoso Sobrinho OCarm, 76, as Archbishop of Olinda e Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. Professed in the Abbey of São Bento, Olinda, 21 March 1978, Dom Antonio has served as Bishop of Sobral since 18 May 2005.

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

April, May, and June 2009 * Current News OSB

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