Benedictines: March 2011 Archives

The Benedictine news service provided the following news piece on the recent problems in Japan. We should pray to the Japanese martyrs for their assistance before the Throne of Grace:

Father Don Talafous OSB, in one of his Daily Reflections, speaks about how difficult it is to comprehend the enormity of the multiple disasters that have befallen the people of Japan. Communications are still sparse from the afflicted Diocese of Sendai, with 11,000 Catholics, that includes the areas hardest-hit in the disaster. Several monks of Trinity Benedictine Monastery, Fujimi, Japan, shared reports with the monks of Saint John's Abbey, the founding community. The reports mention little damage at Fujimi, some disruption at the Trappistine monastery, Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, and the death of a Redemptorist priest whose car was swept away.

A few days ago I recommended seeing "Of Gods and Men." Last week I saw the film and I have still been thinking of the movie, the monks, the hard work of inter-religious dialog. The testament of Dom Christian de Cherge can be read here. I highly recommend reading what Prior Christian said and what others think. A group of friends took time to see the movie together. Two friends brought a perspective of the film to my attention recently. The following is an an answer to those who ask whether a desire for God is still present in our times. Angelo Scola writes: 

I believe that the worldwide success of the film on the Tibhirine monks [U.S. Title: "Of Gods and Men"] reflects a burning desire in the men and women of any latitude to meet the face of God; it therefore reflects the real need we all feel for authentic witnesses who may help us keep our gazes focused upwards.

Authentic witness is, in fact, not limited to "giving a good example". It shines in all its wholeness as a method for practically knowing reality and communicating truth. It is a primary value, standing above any other form of knowledge and communication - scientific, philosophical, theological, artistic, etc.

Christian de Chergé.jpg

A luminous example of this method is offered by the very words which Fr Christian de Chergé, prior of the Trappist monastery of Notre-Dame de l'Atlas in Tibhirine, Algeria, wrote in his spiritual will [noted above], a good three years before he was massacred with his monks:

"When the time comes, I would like to be able to have an instant of lucidity that would allow me to ask for the pardon of God and that of men, my brothers, while forgiving with all my heart those who may have hit me... I cannot see how I could, in fact, rejoice in that this people I love could be accused of my assassination. It 

Of Gods and Men

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OF Gods and Men.jpgXavier Beauvois' new film "Of Gods and Men" (Des Hommes et des Dieux) is an intense and moving film of 7 Trappist monks in Algeria who had a coexistence with Muslim neighbors until extremists threatened and killed the monks. The Atlas Martyrs gave their lives in the night of 27-28 March 1996.

Know the monks: Atlas Martyrs Biographies.pdf

John Kiser wrote of the monks in his 2002 The Monks of Tibhirine which I recommend to give you a sense of what's going on here.

"Of Gods and Men" is being shown on the East coast, now in NYC and next week in New Haven. Here's the trailor.

Love is eternal hope...

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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This page is a archive of entries in the Benedictines category from March 2011.

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