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May 2015

Bede the Venerable - 25 May

Bede Icon by Nathanael Hauser OSB

Within the walls of the imposing Norman Cathedral of Durham lies the simple tomb of a Christian monk who has earned the title "Father of English History." Venerable Bede was born at Tyne, in County Durham, and was taken as a child of seven to the monastery of Wearmouth. Shortly afterwards he was moved to become one of the first members of the monastic community at Jarrow.

The scholarship and culture of Italy had been brought to Britain where it was transported to Jarrow. Bede's monumental, Ecclesiastical History, is the indispensable source for the history of Christianity in Britain before 700.

Bede (673-735), claimed by the Benedictines, wrote numerous hymns and other verse, the first martyrology with historical notes, letters, and homilies, works on grammar, on chronology and astronomy. Bede was aware that the earth is a sphere, and he is the first historian to date events Anno Domini, and the earliest known writer to state that the solar year is not exactly 365 and a quarter days long, so that the Julian calendar (one leap year every four years) requires some adjusting if the months are not to get out of step with the seasons.

In 1899, Bede was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII; he is the only native of Great Britain to achieve this designation (Anselm of Canterbury, also a Doctor of the Church, was originally a Benedictine from Aosta, Italy).

+ Rev. Cyprian Davis OSB PhD

Fr. Cyprian Davis OSB, 84, archivist and professor emeritus of Church history at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, died 18 May 2015. He will be especially remembered for The History of Black Catholics in the United States, a 350-page study of the American Black Catholic experience from the early Spanish explorations to 1970. It is regarded as the essential study of the American Black Catholic experience. Fr. Cyprian was preparing a revised edition of this work at the time of his death. His obituary is available online. The Saint Meinrad community celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial, Thursday, 21 May, in the archabbey church, 10 a.m.

Pope Francis and the Consecrated Religious of Rome

The Holy Father spent an hour with thousands of the men and women religious of Rome, 16 May 2015. Responding to a question, Pope Francis mentioned the long awaited revision of Mutuae Relationes, the 1978 document concerning the relationship between the local bishop and the consecrated religious of his diocese. "The bishop," he said, "should not use consecrated persons as substitutes, and equally the religious should not see the bishop as the head of a company providing work." Pope Francis, citing early monastic practice, identified spiritual direction as a "charism of the laity," distinct from sacramental confession ( and CNS).

New Monastic Spirituality Forum: Community of Nazareth

The Community of Nazareth is a spirituality forum inspired by the Rule of Saint Benedict and the wisdom of the Desert Mothers and Fathers. The community plans to meet regularly at Ealing Abbey and other monasteries in England, focussing on lectio divina, methods of prayer, and monastic crafts. The forum will also learn from other Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu monastic communities in London. For more information please see: <>.

+ Rev. Aelred Cody OSB SSD

Fr. Aelred Cody OSB, 83, monk and priest of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, died peacefully in the Lord, 11 May 2015. Fr. Aelred earned STL and STD degrees from Ottawa University, an SSL from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, an SSD from the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and an Élève diplômé from the Ecole biblique at archéologique française de Jérusalem. Fr. Aelred was a professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome from 1968 to 1978, serving for two of those years also as procurator for the Swiss-American and American-Cassinese congregations. He returned to Saint Meinrad in 1978 where, in addition to continuing his scholarship, he served as novice-junior master for 14 years. The full obituary is online. The community celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial, Wednesday, 13 May, in the archabbey church, 10 a.m.

Abbey of St. Walburga

Jim West (CNS) reports on a recent visit with the Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of St. Walburga, Virginia Dale, Colorado (The Boston Pilot, 12 May 2015).

April 2015

Saint John's Bible Presented to Pope Francis

Abbot John Klassen OSB, Saint John's Abbey, and Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, DC, accompanied the Papal Foundation presenting the final volume of the Saint John's Bible, Saint Peter Apostles Edition, to Pope Francis, 17 April 2015. A YouTube video includes the presentation and several interviews.

YCL Conference for Formators

Pope Francis received in audience about 1,300 religious who had participated in the international conference for formators of consecrated persons, held in Rome from 7 to 11 April 2015. Vatican News summarizes at length his address to them. “'Seeing so many of you, you would not believe that there is a crisis of vocations!' [the Holy Father] went on to highlight the beauty and importance of consecrated life for the world and for the Church.” Vatican Radio also reported on the event and supplies the insightful and rewarding full text of the Pope's message.

Benedictines Host Major Superiors of Germany

St. Benedict Monastery, Damme, Germany, hosted major superiors from some 35 congregations for several days after Easter. The meeting, sponsored by the Conference of German Superiors, focused primarily on legal issues of leadership and administration. The talks and presentations dealt with developments in the church and laws governing social security, contracts, and taxes. The participants also looked at data protection. Prior Stephan Veith OSB, who had worked as a tax consultant in civilian life, spoke to his guests about the taxation of guest and retreat houses, liability for economic operations, and laws concerning donations (NWZ Online).

Monastic Institute 2015

The 30th Annual Monastic Institute runs from 28 June through 2 July 2015. The theme is “Monasticism: Soul of the New Evangelization.” Check the website of the School of Theology, Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, for the full schedule and more information.

Anniversary - 1 April

1 April 1995 the OSB Website made its appearance on the World Wide Web. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the website. “For fools rush in where angels fear to tread” -- Alexander Pope: Essay on Criticism, 1.625.

What's New OSB
What's New auf Deutsch Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).
What Was New OSB, January, February, and March 2015, and further back (1995-; archive).

The monks of Saint John's Abbey welcome comments, questions and suggestions from readers. Send items for inclusion in "What's New" to the <Webkeeper>.

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