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August 2015

+ S. Joachim Holthaus OSB

Sister Joachim Holthaus OSB, 93, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas, died Thursday, 27 August 2015. Sister Joachim earned an M.A. in music from the Chicago Musical College and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Southern California. She also pursued advanced study at the University of Salzburg, Austria; Loyola University, New Orleans; and Columbia University. Sister Joachim served as the monastery's choir director and organist, chair of the liturgy team, vice-president of the community senate, and was twice a delegate to the general chapter of the Federation of St. Scholastica. She composed sacred music that is used in Benedictine monasteries throughout the country. The community celebrates the Mass of Christian Burial, Monday, August 31, 10:30 a.m.  May choirs of angels welcome her to paradise.

Prince of Peace Elects New Abbot

The monks of Prince of Peace Abbey elected Abbot Sharbel Ewen OSB as their new abbot, 11 August 2015. Abbot Sharbel professed first monastic vows, 21 September 1981, and became a priest, 16 July 1988. Ad multos annos! Elected for life, Abbot Charles Wright OSB, 80, resigned as abbot after 20 years for reasons of age, 8 July 2015.

Administrator Named for Mount Saviour

Abbot Cuthbert Brogan OSB, Saint Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, England, is now the administrator of Mount Saviour Monastery, Pine City, NY. Brother John Thompson OSB, formation director, serves as local prior since mid-August 2015. Mount Saviour belongs to the English Province of the Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation.

Laura Swan OSB Writes about the Beguines

Jean Hughes Raber reviews for Commonweal magazine The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women's Movement, (Bluebridge Press, $16.95, 202 pp.). The author, Sister Laura Swan OSB, is archivist for St. Placid Priory, Lacey, WA.

EBC General Chapter

Christopher Lamb writes for The Tablet (6 Aug. 2015) about last month's special general chapter of the English Benedictine Congregation. In preparation for the chapter, 30 younger monks and nuns met at Buckfast Abbey “to consider challenges facing some of the monasteries.”

Peace Day - 6 August

The world recalls today the 70th anniversay of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, three days later. “As of August 2014, the number of people recognised as having died from the effects of the two atomic bombs stood at more than 450,000: 292,325 in Hiroshima and 165,409 in Nagasaki” (Guardian). It is especially poignant for survivors of the bombings (known as hibakusha) who continue to campaign against nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

July 2015

Federation of Saint Benedict Elects President

The Federation of St. Benedict held its general chapter with the Duluth Benedictines, Minnesota, July 2015. The delegates elected a new president, Sister Kerry O’Reilly OSB of St. Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph. S. Kerry's term of office began with her election and will continue through 2021.

New Abbot at Saint Paul Outside the Walls

The Holy See confirmed, 24 July 2015, the election of Father Roberto Dotta OSB, 47, as the second abbot of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls, Rome. The monks of Saint Paul's Abbey elected Abbot Roberto, 9 July 2015. He succeeds Abbot Edmund Power OSB who had served ten years. Abbot Roberto professed monastic vows, 30 September 2007, and became a priest, 29 September 2012. The land and the buildings that make up the complex of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls belong to the Holy See and enjoy a special juridical status according to the norms of international law. In keeping with current norms, the Supreme Pontiff exercises civil authority over the entire extraterritorial complex.

Benedictine Monk Named Bishop

15 July 2015 Pope Francis named Dr. Dominicus Meier OSB, abbot emeritus of Königsmünster Abbey, Meschede, Titular Bishop of Castro di Sardegna and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Paderborn, Germany. Bishop-elect Dominicus earned a doctorate of theology in canon law. Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker will consecrate Professor Dr. Dominicus OSB in the Cathedral of Paderborn, 27 September 2015.

Pope Francis and Saint Benedict

The recent issue of The Good Oil (21 July 2015), the e-magazine of the Good Samaritan Sisters, features “Common Threads: Francis' Encyclical and Benedict's Rule” by Sister Mary McDonald SGS. The concerns and values expressed in Pope Francis' new encyclical, Laudato Si', are also central to the Rule of St. Benedict. “What,” she asks, “are some of the commonalities that can deepen our understanding and appreciation of Pope Francis' and St Benedict's teaching?”

Solemnity of Saint Benedict, Patriarch

Woodcut Benedictines and their friends remember Saint Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism and Co-Patron of Europe, Saturday, 11 July 2015.

Born 480 A.D., his Rule for Monasteries brought order and creativity to a world of decadence and corruption. The woodcut depicts our Founder as a man of God holding crook and codex and a goblet from which issues a green serpent. Pope St. Gregory the Great tells the story of the poisoned glass in chapter three of his Second Book of the Dialogues. 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.

Fifth Abbot for NdanaPhoto

The resignaiton, 1 June 2015, of Abbot Emeritus Dionys Lindenmaier OSB, 75, led the Ottilien Benedictines of Ndana Abbey to elect Abbot Placidus Mtunguja OSB, fifth abbot of the monastery founded 1905 in German East Africa (present-day Tanzania). Abbot Placidus made first vows 1996, and became a priest, 2001. He served as novice master, 2001-2011, and as parish priest, 2011-2015, until his election 4 July 2015.

Erie Benedictines Protest Oil Transport

Sister Marlene Bertke OSB, coordinator for the Erie Benedictines for Peace, gave as rationale for the memorial vigil:

I want the government to make sure the railroads have safer tanker cars, ones that don't rupture, and that they go at a slower speed," she said. "They're going right through populated areas. That train in Canada that broke loose and killed 47 people, it was because its brakes weren't any good.

"'I wish they would leave the tar sand crude oil in the ground. Leave it there, we don't need it,' she said." (Go Erie).

American Monastic Newsletter

The American Benedictine Academy presents online the latest issue, June 2015, in PDF format of its publication, the American Monastic Newsletter.

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