Benedictines: June 2011 Archives

James Wiseman.jpgFather James Wiseman, 66, was elected the new and fifth abbot of Saint Anselm's Abbey, Washington, DC Thursday. Dom James will serve for an eight year term as abbot. He replaces the Prior Administrator Simon McGurk, a monk of Belmont Abbey in the UK.

The new abbot's been called to serve his community in a variety of ways since his profession in 1966: priesthood (1970),  abbot (1975-1983), novice master (1983-1994) and prior (1990-2006). In fact, Dom James has been elected as abbot for the second time; the first time around he was the second abbot.

Abbot James teaches theology at Catholic University of America, and has done so since 1985, and at the abbey's school since 1969. Since 2007, he's held the rank of ordinary professor at Catholic University.

He has served twice as chair of CUA's theology department, and for a period of time as an associate dean. James Wiseman has written or edited six books and more than 30 published articles. He's also chaired the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, a collection of monks and nuns interested in questions of interfaith relations. For 12 years Dom James edited the Bulletin of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.

Saint Anselm Abbey is one of three Benedictine abbeys in the USA of the English Benedictine Congregation, there are a total of 13 EBC houses of monks. The others being Saint Gregory the Great (Portsmouth, RI) and Saint Louis (St Louis, MO). The Benedictine monastic community was founded in 1923 Father Thomas Verner Moore and some companions. In 1961, Blessed Pope John XXIII gave the Benedictine community the rank of an abbey. Today, there are 15 monks at Saint Anselm's.

Through the intercession of Saints Benedict, Scholastica and Anselm, and Father Luigi Giussani, may the Blessed Trinity give Abbot James the wisdom and love to serve well and prudence. Especially offer your prayers for the monastic community as it continues the work of deepening their faith and giving clear witness to monastic witness of the Gospel. There's is an unique vocation in the Nation's heart.
Brother Mauritius Honegger.jpgPilgrims to the Vatican notice a few things: the pope, the architecture and the Swiss Guard. The Guard, in their colorful uniform, are quite identifiable because of the closeness to the Pope. These young men in the service of protecting the Holy Father are Swiss, Catholic, unmarried and fulfilling their military requirement.

Occasionally, a vocation to protect temporalities leads to a vocation to protect and to proclaim the divine as a priest or vowed religious. Not long ago Marco Rudolf Honegger entered the Einsiedeln Abbey becoming Brother Mauritius; Brother professed solemn vows in 2010. As part of his formation to be a priest Brother Mauritius went to Saint Meinrad Archabbey and Seminary to further his education.

The Criterion, the Indianapolis Archdioceses's newspaper, records the story.

Thanks to Dom Francis de Sales of Saint Meinrad Archabbey for the story. He writes The Yoke of Christ blog.
Hugh Gilbert.jpgPope Benedict XVI nominated as the new bishop of Aberdeen (Scotland) the Right Reverend Dom Hugh Gilbert, OSB, 59. This appointment was made public today.

Until now, Dom Hugh has been the abbot of the Pluscarden Abbey, a position he's held since 1992. He's been a Benedictine for 37 years. In the monastery he's held several positions of service as well as serving as a member of the Union of Monastic Superiors and on the Abbot Visitor's Council for the Subiaco Congregation of monasteries.

Pluscarden Abbey is the under the patronage of Our Lady and Saints John the Baptist and Andrew. It was founded in 1230 by King Alexander II; the monks were under Carthusian rule of life at the time of the colonization and later adopted the Rule of St Benedict while following Cistercian customs. By 1599, the abbey closed due to the Reformation. Providence saw to it that property was purchased for the monks in 1897 and the community formally was re-founded in 1948; it became a conventual priory in 1966 and an abbey in 1974. The community numbers 16 with a couple novices.

The Diocese of Aberdeen dates to the 6th century and was organized in 1063; it has 70 parishes. Due to the Reformation the Catholic diocese ceased until 1878 when it was restored. Today, the overall population of the Diocese of Aberdeen is 718,000 of that 18,600 are Catholics. There are 49 priests, 11 permanent deacons, and 45 religious.

Dom Hugh is the author of Unfolding The Mystery: Monastic Conferences on the Liturgical Year (2007).

The news article from BBC online can be read here.

May the Lord bless Dom Hugh as he assumes his new ministry as bishop.

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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About this Archive

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

Benedictines: May 2011 is the previous archive.

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