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August 2016

6.2 Earthquake Recorded 10 km SE of Norcia, Italy

Norcia (Nursia) is the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica. The earthquake that shook the region of Umbria happened Wednesday, 24 August 2016, 01:36 UTC (3:36 a.m. local time). The Monastery of St. Benedict "is physically located above the 5th century ruins of the house of St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica, and has been the location of monastic communities since the tenth century AD. Today the Monks of Norcia care for the spiritual, pastoral, and temporal needs of approximately 50,000 pilgrims from around the world who annually visit the birthplace of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica. In light of seismic activity, the monks have temporarily transferred to Sant'Anselmo, Rome as a precautionary measure.

There have been dozens of strong aftershocks, and at least 73 have been killed by the earthquake. The epicenter was Norcia, near Rieti, not far from Perugia. Hardest hit were the small towns and villages in the mountainous area where the regions of Umbria, Lazio, and Le Marche meet.

Independence and Election at Kristo Buase

The monks of Kristo Buase Monastery are happy to announce that on 6 August 2016, the patronal feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Abbot President Bruno of the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation raised Kristo Buase to the status of priory sui juris. This new title means that Kristo Buase now becomes an independent monastery within the English Province, and is no longer a dependent house of Prinknash Abbey, Gloucester, UK.

On 15 August 2016 the conventual chapter of Kristo Buase Monastery elected Very Rev. Dom Bede Kierney OSB as prior. Abbot President Bruno confirmed the prior in office, 17 August 2016. Dom Bede automatically transfers his stability from Pluscarden Abbey to Kristo Buase. Dom Bede is currently resident in Scotland. He hopes to arrive in Ghana on 31 August. In the interim, Dom Gabriel Peh OSB has taken up administration of Kristo Buase Monastery as sub-prior.

Abbot BrendanGlenstal Monks Elect New Abbot

On Saturday, 13 August 2015, the monks of Glenstal Abbey, Ireland, elected Fr. Brendan Coffey OSB, 46, to succeed Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman OSB, fifth abbot, 2008-16.  Abbot Brendan served as prior of Glenstal, 2007-15, and pursued doctoral studies in Liturgy at The Catholic University of America for the academic year, 2015-16, The abbatial blessing will occur after renovation of the abbey church is completed. Abbot President Ansgar Schmidt OSB of the Annunciation Congregation presided and confirmed the election.

HMML Preserves Manuscripts in the Middle East

Matteo Fagotto writes about Fr. Columba Stewart OSB and the work of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library in the Middle East for The National (UAE; 11 August 2016).  HMML based in Collegeville, Minnesota, and dedicated to the digital preservation of endangered manuscripts around the world has been active in the field since 1965 and nowadays hosts the world’s largest collection of images of manuscripts, made of 140,000 samples saved on microfilm and digital format.

"Under Columba’s direction, the HMML has been particularly active in the Middle East, working in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Jerusalem to digitize thousands of manuscripts of all confessions, from Coptic to Maronite and Armenian, from Greek Catholic to Latin. In 2013, the organisation took the landmark decision of starting to digitize Islamic material as well."

Agbang Priory Becomes Abbey

On 6 August 2016, traditionally kept as the patronal feast of the monastery, Most Rev. Jacques Danka Longa, the Bishop of Kara, Togo, consecrated the new church of Agbang Monastery, assisted by the bishops of Dapaong and Sokodé. The building has seats for more than 70 monks and 200 faithful. Seating outside the circular structure accommodates additional congregants. The Ottilien monasteries of Münsterschwarzach, Schuyler, and Uznach financed its construction.

Following a thoughtful discussion with the monks, 8 August, Abbot President Jeremias Schröder OSB announced the conventual priory has been raised to the staus of an abbey. On 10 August, the monks elected Fr. Romain Botta OSB, 48, secretary of the Ottilien Congregation since 2012. Abbot Romain will continue as secretary until the general chapter, October 2016.

Abbot Aidan - Archbishop Wester - Abbot Joel, O Praem.

Blessing of New Abbot for Pecos

30 July 2016 Most Rev. John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, conferred the abbatial blessing on Father Aidan Gore OSB Oliv. The monks of Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey, Pecos, NM, had elected Abbot Aidan, 30 June 2016. Until the election he had served as the prior of Pecos monastery, a member of the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation.

July 2016

Kylemore Abbey Partners with University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame, Indiana, has accepted the invitation from Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland, to extend its Irish Studies program in a new partnership. Abbess Maire Hickey OSB said, “I am delighted that the University of Notre Dame has responded favorably to our invitation to join our community in advancing our educational and spiritual mission. I have high hopes that this partnership will yield rich fruits for generations to come.” This summer students will visit Connemara starting “a 30-year lease with the Benedictines which will entail renovating almost a fifth of the Abbey's floor space for the specialised use” (Their Irish World, July 13, 2016).

Solemnity of Saint Benedict

Benedict, author Benedictines and their friends remember Saint Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism and Co-Patron of Europe, Monday, 11 July 2016.

Born 480 A.D., his Rule for Monasteries brought order and creativity to a world of decadence and corruption. The manuscript illustration at left depicts our Founder posed at a writing desk as a scribe.

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.

Many monasteries use the July date for the profession of vows. Congratulations to the many Benedictine men and women making first or perpetual commitments or celebrating jubilees of monastic profession.

Elizabeth Cameron Galbraith's essay posted at Pray Tell, reviews some aspects of Benedictine vocation and profession.

Jubilee of Mercylogo

8 December 2015 began the Jubilee of Mercy. Opening of the Holy Door in the Vatican Basilica is the official act of the Holy Father inaugurating the jubilee that concludes on the Feast of Christ the King, 20 November 2016. In the words of Pope Francis, "On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope."

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with His anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.

--Pope Francis, from his Prayer for the Jubilee of Mercy.

What's New OSB
What's New auf Deutsch: Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).
What Was New OSB, April, May, and June 2016, and previous quarters (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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