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The Order of Saint Benedict

What's New

October, November,
and December 2009

Rev. 20 October 2015

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December 2009

Holy Father Quotes Saint Benedict

In his homily during the Vigil Mass of Christmas, Pope Benedcit XVI quoted from chapter 43 of the Rule of Saint Benedict:

If anything in our life deserves haste without delay, then, it is God's work alone. The Rule of Saint Benedict contains this teaching: "Place nothing at all before the work of God (i.e., the divine office)." For monks, the Liturgy is the first priority. Everything else comes later. In its essence, though, this saying applies to everyone. God is important, by far the most important thing in our lives (Zenit).

Benedictine Abbot Named Auxiliary Bishop

On 7 December 2009, the Holy Father let it be known that he has named Dom Marian Eleganti OSB, second abbot, since 1999, of Saint Otmarsberg, Uznach, to become an auxiliary bishop in the Swiss Diocese of Chur. Bishop Eleganti's pastoral attention will focus primarily on the culture-laden Zürich-Glarus region of the diocese where over 300 priests, deacons and lay co-workers are active. Most Rev. Vitus Huonder, Bishop of Chur, praised Dom Marian for his deep and solid spirituality that make him a "competent and worthy member of the bishops' conference" (Stellungnahme). Abbot Marian's ordination will take place in the cathedral of Chur, 31 January 2010; he takes up his office at the beginning of February 2010. Es lebe hoch.

+ Dame Maria Boulding (1929-2009)

On 10 December 2009, The Independent published an obituary of Prioress Maria Boulding OSB, nun, hermit, and theologian, who died at the new location of Stanbrook Abbey in North Yorkshire, 11 November 2009. The Times Online published an obituary 1 December for the acclaimed translator of the Confessions of Saint Augustine. Requiescat in pacem.

Benedictines (fall/winter 2009)

The Benedictine women of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery make their lively and informative biannual journal, Benedictines, available online in PDF format. The fall/winter 2009 issue, edited by Sr. Barbara Mayer OSB, features articles, poetry, and book reviews. Richard Brummel OblSB designs the layout.

November 2009

ABA Junior Essay Competition

The latest issue of The American Monastic Newsletter (October 2009) includes information about the essay competition for junior monastics sponsored by The American Benedictine Academy.  Sister Mary Kay Panowicz, OSB <mkpanowicz @>, Awards Chair, needs to receive entries before the deadline of 31 March 2010. The winner will be notified by 10 May 2010.

Two Abbots Elected

Chapter meetings on opposite sides of the globe, Wednesday, 18 November 2009, resulted in the election of two abbots. The members of the General Chapter of the Austrian Congregation elected Rt. Rev. Christian Haidinger OSB, Abbot of Altenburg Abbey, to become Abbot President. Abbot Christian entered Kremsm√ľnster Abbey in 1964 and studied theology at Sant'Anselmo, Rome, where he was ordained in 1969. For 29 years he taught theology at Kremsm√ľnster. He also served as novice master, curator of the art collections and as leader of the Austrian Cursillo Movement for over 26 years. On 9 May 2005, the 12 Benedictine monks of Stift Altenburg, Austria, elected Fr. Christian Haidinger OSB to succeed Abbot Bernhard Naber OSB, 70.

In Oregon state, Pacific Northwest, the monastic chapter elected Father Gregory Duerr OSB, prior and novice master, to be the eleventh abbot of Mount Angel Abbey. Abbot Gregory succeeds Abbot Nathan Zodrow OSB who resigned August 1, having served as abbot for eight years. Born in Pierz, Minnesota, Abbot Gregory entered Mount Angel Abbey as a novice in 1957 and made his solemn vows on September 12, 1961. He became a priest in 1964. Ad multos annos to both of the newly elected.

Idaho Monks Elect Prior

Early in November, the monks of the Monastery of the Ascension elected Father Kenneth Hein OSB, as their conventual prior. Formerly a monk of Holy Cross Abbey, Cañon City, Colorado, Prior Kenneth joined Ascension in 2003. He is a native of the Intermountain West and wished to be part of a Benedictine community in that region of the country. Ordained in 1969, Prior Kenneth earned a doctorate in theology at Tübingen University where Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) was his thesis director.

October 2009

Ramsgate Monks Seek a New Home

After "a long process of discussion and discernment," the eleven Benedictine monks of St. Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate, Kent, UK, have decided to abandon the monastery designed by Edward Pugin to house forty in 1861. Abbot Paulinus Greenwood OSB said: "We are united in our search for a new site which will enable us to live an authentic, balanced, monastic life of prayer, work, and study, according to the spirit of the sixth-century Rule of St Benedict, and to share that way of life with others who feel truly called to it." A spokesman for the monks said, "The abbot and community sincerely hope that whoever acquires the abbey property will show sensitivity to its historical and architectural significance, and be mindful of its importance locally as part of the cultural heritage of the wider Pugin family legacy" (BBC UK).

PBS Features Kansas Monastery

On Sunday, 1 November, "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly," the premier religious program on the Public Broadcasting System, features the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas. "Coming Up...," includes a brief video preview and provides a way for people to discover what time the show is airing in their local area. "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly" is usually broadcast nationally on Sunday morning.

+ Father John Oetgen OSB (1924-2009)

Father John Oetgen OSB, a monk and priest of Belmont Abbey, North Carolina, died on Saturday, 10 October. He was in the sixty-fifth year of his monastic profession, and the fifty-eighth year of his priestly ministry. In the course of his college studies, he joined the novitiate for Belmont Abbey at Saint Vincent Archabbey and celebrated his first profession of vows on 14 February 1944. He made solemn profession in 1947 and was ordained to the priesthood in his home parish, Savannah, in 1951.

Father John was tall both in stature and importance at Belmont Abbey. Frequently elected to the Senior Council and the General Chapter, he led the College as its president from 1960 to 1964. The American Benedictine Academy granted him lifetime membership. One of Father John's most important gifts to Belmont Abbey was a love of beauty. Focused in the first place in the beauty of Benedictine monastic life and in the beauty of literature, this love overflowed in his painting, gardening, and friendships. Two bishops, priests of the diocese, Sisters of Mercy, the college and monastic communities, and numerous alumni and friends celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, 13 October. His body now rests with the monks in the abbey cemetery. May he rest in peace.

Monastic Researchers' Newsletter

In October 2009 the monastic researchers' section of The American Benedictine Academy resumed publishing brief reports on the academic projects of its members with the first issue of ABA Monastic Researchers' Newsletter. S. Ephrem Hollermann OSB, Associate Professor of Theology and Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University edits the publication that is available online in PDF format.

People's Choice Award

The web site of the Benedictine nuns of Holy Trinity Monastery, East Hendred, UK, won the 2009 People's Choice Award of The Original Christian Web and New Media Awards for its inspiring contribution to Christian new media. The prize that accompanied the award was a MacBook. Everyone at the ceremony seemed to agree that one of the most memorable moments in the evening was the award acceptance video created by the Benedictine nuns in view of their absence from the ceremony.

Book cover

Marmion's Founding Abbot
Celebrates 100th Birthday

Abbot Emeritus Gerald Benkert OSB, the founding abbot of Marmion Abbey in Aurora, Illinois, will celebrate his 100th birthday on October 24. He is the oldest living abbot in the country (maybe the world) and the oldest monk of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation. In 1947 he was appointed the founding abbot of Marmion Abbey when it became an abbey independent from St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana. Abbot Gerald served as abbot of Marmion Abbey and president of Marmion Academy for 23 years.

A public Open House to observe Abbot Gerald's 100th birthday will be held on Saturday, October 24, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Marmion Academy. In celebration of Abbot Gerald Benkert's centennial, the Abbey is publishing a volume of his "Memoirs" which will be available at the Open House or online after 1 November 2009

Oblates' World Congress

The theme of the Second World Congress of Oblates is "The Religious Challenges of Today -- The Benedictine Answer." It runs from 2 to 10 October 2009 at the Salesianum conference facility in Rome. Two Oblates from Saint John's Abbey, Minnesota, are keeping a blog of the World Congress of Oblates.

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

July, August, and September 2009.

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 <Webkeeper>.


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