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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

January, February, and March 2010

Rev. 1 April 2010
 

March 2010

+ Rev. Paul Marx OSB

Father Paul Marx OSB, 89, monk of Saint John's Abbey, Minnesota, died Saturday, 20 March 2010. Having professed first vows in 1942, Father Paul became a priest in 1947. He earned a doctorate in Sociology from The Catholic University of America in 1957.

Father Paul developed and founded the Human Life Center at Saint John's from 1972 to 1980, and was the founder and senior editor of the Review of Natural Family Planning. In 1981 Father Paul founded Human Life International, Washington, D.C. He became known in the pro-life movement as the "Apostle for Life." Father Paul also founded the Population Research Institute (1989). In 1979, Pope John Paul II told Paul Marx: "You are doing the most important work on earth." Planned Parenthood labeled him "Public Enemy #1."

Judie Brown of the American Life League said of Father Paul's uncompromising work in the defense of pre-born children: "The pro-life movement is alive and well today because we are standing on the shoulders of a giant -- Father Paul Marx." Monks, family, colleagues, and friends will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial, Friday, March 26, 3:30 p.m., in Saint John's Abbey Church.

Transitus of Saint Benedict

St. Benedict

Sunday, 21 March, commemorates the death of Saint Benedict, but the Fifth Sunday of Lent supersedes the feast day in most places. Many Benedictine communities transfer the celebration to the following Monday. The serenity of Saint Benedict's death among his confreres makes the Patriarch of Western Monasticism -- like the great Saint Joseph, devotion to whom was fostered at Monte Cassino -- a special advocate for the dying. On the margin of the Benedictine Medal, 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)!

Six days before he died, Benedict 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.

Monastics in Chile

Monasterios de Chile is a website with links to the individual houses of Benedictine and Cistercian men and women in Chile. A Letter from Chile, 1 March 2010, details the plight of the Cistercians and Trappistines, especially Quilvo where all of the nuns' marmelade production was lost and Miraflores where "the roof of the refectory and of the chapter room were shifted, the roof of the chocolate factory collapsed, the water pipes were broken. They are without light and without water. They will have to redo the roofs that were shifted...."

Saint John's Abbey reported on Sunday, 1 March, that David Allen and James Albrecht, "our Benedictine Volunteers in Santiago, Chile, are safe, and there was good communication yesterday with their families."

The Confederation of the Religious of Latin America and the Carribean (CLAR) offers an update on the situation in Chile after the earthquake. The Episcopal Conference of Chile also offers breaking news.

February 2010

Abbot of Ettal Resigns

In response to a demand from the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising, Rev. Barnabas Bögle OSB, 52, has resigned as Abbot of Ettal effective immediately, 24 Feb. 2010 (Radio Vatikan). The reason given by Prelate Peter Beer, the vicar general of Archbishop Reinhard Marx, is that in 2005 the newly elected abbot did not report to the archdiocese a charge of sexual misconduct brought against one of the monks working in the school. Father Barnabas accepts full responsibility for not following the guidelines adopted by the archdiocese in 2002.

Additionally, Prior P. Maurus Kraß OSB announces that Ettal is following the advice of the vicar general to install Mr. Thomas Pfister, an attorney, as an independent, external, special prosecutor for the investigation of claims of abuse, how the claims were handled, and what consequences follow (Ettal website). His preliminary report, that will be made public, is due 5 March 2010. On Friday, 26 Feb., P. Maurus resigned from his positions as Prior and Head of School.

Meanwhile, in Austria, P. Bruno Hubl OSB, Abbot of Stift Admont, admits regretfully that he reacted too late in 2007 to charges of sexual misconduct in the 1970s brought against P. Berthold OSB, who died 25 January 2010 (Kurier.at).

Anonymous charges of misconduct in the 1960s and 1970s by one of the monks of Saint Ottilien Archabbey came to light on Thursday, 25 Feb. The Archabbey offers updated and reliable communications at its website.

In the midst of a meeting of the German Bishops' Conference (22-25 Feb.), Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, president, demanded that the federal Minister of Justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, withdraw within 24 hours her claim that the Church was not willing to cooperate with civil authorities in cases of sexual misconduct concerning minors. The archbishop cited the above mentioned guidelines and other measures taken by the Catholic Church to insure the safety of children (Deutsche Welle). The minister has invited the archbishop to a meeting.

25th Monastic Institute, 2010

The 25th annual Monastic Institute will take place at Collegeville, Minnesota, from 27 June through 1 July 2010. The theme is "Benedictine Spirituality." The Monastic Institute is sponsored and organized by Saint John's School of Theology·Seminary and Saint John's Abbey. Its goal is to foster reflection and conversation on matters of concern to monastic communities and other intentional communities, both Christian and non-Christian. A PDF brochure contains the complete schedule and the roster of speakers. Online registration is available. Contact: Cindy Maile at cmaile@csbsju.edu or 320-363-2612.

Clear Creek Raised to Abbey

Dom Antoine Forgeot OSB, Abbot of Fontgombault Abbey, France, announced on February 11, 2010, that Clear Creek Priory, Hulbert, Oklahoma, has been raised to the status of abbey. Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Abbey is the 20th abbey in the Solesmes Congregation. Dom Philippe Dupont OSB, President of the Congregation, named Father Philip Anderson OSB, the abbey's first abbot. Abbot Philip is one of the original 12 monks who came to Oklahoma in 1999 from Fontgombault. Clear Creek Abbey presently consists of 18 professed monks (12 priests and six brothers), seven junior monks, and eight novices or postulants. The blessing of Abbot Philip at Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey will take place on Saturday, April 10.

Ash Wednesday

The Holy Father began the holy season of Lent by going to the Church of Saint Anselm (Benedictines) atop the Aventine Hill. After a brief prayer, the Bishop of Rome led the congregation in procession to the Basilica of Saint Sabina (Dominicans) for Mass. In his homily Pope Benedict explained how, by following Christ on the path of humility, we can enter into the "'greater' justice, which is the justice of love." The preliminary event was photographed and blogged by a student in one of the Roman universities.

+ Sr. Germaine Bevans OSB, Vicar for Religious

Sister Germanine Bevans OSB, Vicar for Religious in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, died on Friday, 12 February 2010, at Holy Name Monastery, St. Leo, Florida, surrounded by her religious community and by her brothers and sisters.

A native of Belize and the oldest of 10 children, Sr. Germaine began her religious life at a young age, knowing that she wanted to become a nun when she was just five years old. She professed her first vows at the Pallottine Aspirancy Convent in Belize in 1956. Sr. Germaine served as a teacher and principal in Belize for 20 years before being called by God to join the Benedictine Sisters of Florida in 1973. In 1986 she began the first of two terms as prioress of Holy Name Monastery.

In 1999 Bishop Robert N. Lynch named her Vicar for Religious. He officiated and preached the homily at the Mass of Christian Burial  in Saint Leo Abbey Church on Tuesday, 16 February.

New Books by Religious Women

Sister Mary Reuter OSB: Running with Expanded Heart, Meeting God in Everyday Life. Sister Julia Upton RSM: Worship in Spirit and Truth, The Life and Legacy of H. A. Reinhold. Sister Joan Chittister OSB and Archbishop Rowan Williams, Uncommon Gratitude, Alleluia for All That Is.

+R. D. Teresa Arlete Rodrigues OSB

On 1 February 2010, Dame Teresa Arlete Rodrigues OSB, 79, sometime member of Stanbrook Abbey, died fortified by the sacraments of the Church in the 59th year of her monastic life. From 1984 to 1996 Sister Teresa guided the work of the Alliance for International Monasticism (AIM) in Paris. Her work brought her into contact with hundreds of monasteries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. She died as a member of Holy Trinity Monastery, East Hendred, Wantage, Oxfordshire. Enjoying the rewards of the good and faithful servant, may she rest in peace.

Conception Abbey

The National Catholic Reporter focused on Conception Abbey's use of management consultants to revitalize The Printery House, the monks' apostolate of Catholic publishing. Abbot Gregory Polan OSB said, "'The Printery House serves our mission of spreading the Gospel and it puts bread and butter on our table.' In addition, the abbey welcomes 8,000 visitors a year for retreats through its hospitality center, educates seminarians from 22 dioceses, and is a vibrant monastery" (Tom Gallagher).

World Day for Consecrated Life

In 1997, Pope John Paul II instituted 2 February as a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. In the US the celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life is transferred to Sunday, 7 February 2010, in order to enable as much participation as possible.

Consecrated Life Sunday is an annual day of prayer for the men and women who have committed themselves to a consecrated life, be it a public life of active ministry or a hidden life of prayer in a monastery.

"The Church is greatly blessed by the many contributions of consecrated men and women, through their ministries in the areas of education, health care, spiritual formation, and social service," said Sean Cardinal O'Malley OFM Cap., chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations.

The U.S. bishops have named the promotion of vocations to priesthood and consecrated life as one of their five priorities. USCCB will launch a new website in April 2010 highlighting the gift of consecrated life to the Church.

January 2010

Updates on Haiti

The website for L'Abbaye Saint Guénolé, founding community of Morne St. Benoît, Haiti, posts updates regularly, in French, on the continuing crisis in Haiti. The Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) posts messages concerning various religious communities in Haiti.

Oldest Spanish-born Monk in Australia

The last Spanish-born Benedictine monk in Australia's only monastic town has died at the age of 99. Dom Paulino Gutierrez OSB died on Monday, 18 January 2010, after battling a chest infection. Since moving to New Norcia Abbey in 1928 at the age of 18, Dom Paulino had many roles -- baker, miller, infirmarian, and cobbler -- and he helped produce the monastery's olive oil. The Benedictine community of New Norcia celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial on Friday (ABC News). May he rest in peace.

Morne St. Benedict Spared in Haitian Earthquake

A communication from Brother Jean-Michel reached the Secretariat of the Subiaco Congregation bringing news from Morne Saint-Benoît, Port au Prince, Haiti.

This afternoon we experienced here the rather violent jolts of the earthquake which touched Port au Prince and the zones of Petionville and Carrefour with full force. The brothers who have family in these zones are anxious. It is known that several public buildings were damaged. One cannot telephone any more in Port au Prince because the relays of telecommunication have been disturbed.

At Morne [Mount] St. Benedict the buildings held the shock well. I was with Abbot Jacques when the jolt was felt, it lasted a good minute. We left to go outside to the back of the building. A cloud of dust rose up the Morne and one heard a thunderous noise. That lasted a little while.

At the moment when I am writing these lines, we have just felt two jolts which made us leave the building again. We do not fear anything here, but we can imagine the situation at Port au Prince. I hope that we will not be shaken too much this night.

So long,
Bro. Jean-Michel

The Abbot Visitor, present in Haiti for a canonical visit, and the Abbot of Landevennec also sent messages to the Secretariat assuring them their brother monks in Haiti were safe.

The extent of the destruction and loss of life in the capital, however, is incalculable. Catholic Relief Services is participating in a scheme making it possible to make a donation from a cell phone as well as online by using a credit card. Most authorities agree that at this stage of the crisis, donations of cash are the most efficient way to offer support. The people of Haiti figure prominently in the prayers of Benedictines and their friends throughout the world.

Podcasts on the Prologue

A few weeks ago, Tarrawarra Abbey, Australia, launched a new podcast series on the Prologue of the Rule of St Benedict. It is a weekly reflection on the Prologue, and the speaker is Fr. Michael Casey OCSO. The podcast can be found at <www.cistercian.org.au/iMonk>. The audio can be downloaded from the above website, heard online, or received from iTunes.

Resources for Oblates

Oblate Spring is a comprehensive website of resources designed by a married Oblate in Florida to "answer your initial questions about oblate monasticism." An especially helpful feature added in January 2010 is the page devoted to Benedictine Oblate Newsletters & Programs. The Oblate Spring website is supplemented by The Oblate Blog.


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

October, November, and December 2010.

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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