On 19 January 2019, the community of the Abbey of Keur Moussa, near Dakar, Senegal, elected Sant’Anselmo Professor of Liturgy Fr. Olivier-Marie Sarr abbot of their monastery.
After his previous education in Senegal, then in France (in Solesmes Abbey then in Institut Notre Dame de Vie), Abbot Olivier-Marie earned his Ph.D. in Liturgy from the Sant’Anselmo Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in 2012.
Since that time, he has written and has co-authored four books: Tra memoria e profezia. Il Pontificio Istituto Liturgico nel 50° Giubileo della sua fondazione 1961-2011, edd. P.A. Muroni e O.M. Sarr, Eos Verlag, Sankt Ottilien 2013; In omni tempore. La liturgie des heures et le temps: louange quotidienne et ouverture vers l’éternité; Metodologia per la redazione di elaborati scritti, tesi di licenza, tesi di dottorato, Aracne Editrice, Roma 2016; Parola e Scrittura, edd. E. Lopez-Tello Garcia, Ph. Nouzille e O.M. Sarr (Studia Anselmiana 172), Eos Verlag, Roma 2017. Moreover, Abbot Olivier has written 13 papers during his career at Sant’Anselmo.
In addition to his duties as professor of Liturgical Spirituality, Theology of Inculturation and Methodology of Research, Sarr served Sant’Anselmo Ateneo as assistant editor of Ecclesia Orans, the Sant’Anselmo periodical of liturgical theology, from 2012-2018; as Subprior of Collegio Sant’Anselmo from 2017-2019; and as a member of the Faculty Board at the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy. He also taught Liturgy at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas from 2013-2018.
Pope Francis nominated him in 2016 as Consultor of the Congregation for Divine Worship and of the Discipline of the Sacraments.
He is a member of the following International Societies:
- Associazione dei professori e cultori di Liturgia (APL);
- Societas Liturgica – An International Society for Liturgical Study and Renewal; and
- Association des Amis du Musée des civilisations noires.
He has served continually as a valued member of the Sant’Anselmo schola cantorum (monastic choir leaders).
Father Sarr speaks Wolof, Serere, French, Italian and English fluently. He reads Spanish and Portuguese quite well.
The abbatial blessing of the Reverend Father Olivier-Marie Sarr will be conferred upon him by His Excellency the Most Reverend Monsignor André Gueye, Bishop of Thies, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, 25 March 2019.
Keur Moussa is located near Dakar, the capital city of the Western African nation of Senegal. It is a Benedictine monastery of the Solesmes Congregation, founded in 1963 by French monks. It was raised to the rank of an abbey on 30 January 1984.
In the midst of a largely Islamic country in a poor neighbourhood, the founding monks aimed to allow Christians the opportunity to take part in the Benedictine life of prayer and work, and to provide non-Christians with an example of such a lifestyle.
The monks are primarily engaged in agricultural work; irrigation has allowed for the cultivation of various fruits (grapefruits, oranges, lemons, mangoes, bananas) and vegetables. In this context, the monks recently have initiated production of fruit juice, liquors and dried fruits.
Additionally, the monks are trying to support themselves by producing goat cheese, the traditional West African kora harp, and cassette/CD recordings.
Since the foundation of their community, the monks of Abbaye de Keur Moussa have supported the local Muslim population, providing health care and distributing food to the needy. A medical dispensary and a primary school founded by the monks are now operated by groups of religious sisters and lay people, respectively.
The monastic community at Keur Moussa now comprises 40 members, 15 of whom are ordained priests.
After 40 years of existence, the community founded, in 2003, a new monastery in Saint Joseph de Séguéya in the Republic of Guinea (Conakry). It is a growing community with 10 monks.