Benedictines: October 2011 Archives
Anyone who knows even a little of the scholarship on the Rule of St Benedict knows the name of this famous monk who has done a tremendous amount of work in this area. Father Adalbert was indeed a force to be reckoned with, even if you disagreed with him. One could not escape Father's orbit. Sadly, I mention his death.
"The Abbey of Pierre qui Vire announces the painful and enigmatic death of P. Adalbert de Vogüé OSB, 86. His body was found 2 km from the monastery after a search of eight days. He probably died Friday, 14 October 2011.
The publication of Community and Abbot in the Rule of Saint Benedict (1960) began a distinguished career of research and publication concerning the Rule of Saint Benedict and early monastic literature. He served frequently on the faculty of thePontifical Athanæum of Saint Anselm in Rome before taking up the hermit's life in 1974 near his monastery. The monks will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial, Wednesday, 26 October, 11 a.m. Donne-lui, Seigneur, le repos éternel."
H/T Brother Richard Oliver, OSB @osb.org
On Saturday I drove up to the Abbey of Regina Laudis situated in Bethlehem, Connecticut, to purchase cheese and note cards made by the Benedictine nuns there. Cheese is a homemade product of the nuns of this monastery made from milk of 5 dairy cows. But in addition to cheese and note cards I picked up a beautiful DVD interviewing Mother Dolores Hart, OSB. In 2000, Chantal Westerman interviewed Mother Dolores for an hour long presentation called "Conversations with Remarkable People: Mother Dolores Hart."
From this conversation I learned a few things and a new perspective among which Mother Dolores was not only an actress but also a carpenter who made chairs and tables but also coffins for the nuns in her earlier life at the abbey and she took the time to welcome guests. Patricia Neal was of particular interest. (A convert to Catholic before her death, Neal died in August 2010 and is buried at Regina Laudis Abbey.) Of particular interest to me was not Hart's work in Hollywood but her concrete witness of Christian faith. Ms Westerman asked Mother how she understood faith and the phrase "I am spiritual but not religious." Mother answered (my notes):
Indeed! There is no separation between spiritual and religious. The soul needs integration of each to make any real sense.Faith is remembering the exquisite gifts of God given us in particulars of space and time and people; faith is having the guts to say 'yes' when you have no idea what the 'yes' means; the 'yes' is given in response to a mystery.With regard to the spiritual/religious distinction often made: the two are complementary and have a convergence.
If you can get a copy of the DVD from the Abbey, do so. I recommend it. And stay for Vespers (the Church's evening prayer) daily beautifully sung by the 40 nuns.
You may be interested in other blog posts on Regins Laudis and Mother Dolores Hart found here.
She's known because of her background: the actress who worked with Elvis Presley. That's what many people remember of Dolores Hart. Some recall that in 1963 Hart left Hollywood to follow her heart: to give her heart to Jesus Christ as a Benedictine nun at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. Today, Hart is known as Mother Dolores. At 73 (her birthday on October 20th), there are no signs of slowing down, despite flares of neuropathy.
As buildings and property age --more than 60 years old by now-- the wood, bricks and mortar give way and updating needs to happen. Working for the Church, I can attest of the serious need and reasonableness to invest buildings and property. Regina Laudis needs our help! Read about it here.
In speaking at a Charterhouse on October 9, Pope Benedict contrasted modern life and the monastic life saying that society "throws light on the specific charism of the Carthusian monastery as a precious gift for the Church and for the world, a gift which contains a profound message for our lives and for all humanity. I would summarise it in these terms: by withdrawing in silence and solitude man, so to speak, 'exposes' himself to the truth of his nakedness, he exposes himself to that apparent 'void' I mentioned earlier. But in doing so he experiences fullness, the presence of God, of the most real Reality that exists. ... Monks, by leaving everything, ... expose themselves to solitude and silence so as to live only from what is essential; and precisely in living from the essential they discover a profound communion with their brothers and sisters, with all mankind".
This vocation, the Pope went on, "finds its response in a journey, a lifelong search. ... Becoming a monk requires time, exercise, patience. ... The beauty of each vocation in the Church lies in giving time to God to work with His Spirit, and in giving time to one's own humanity to form, to grow in a particular state of life according to the measure of maturity in Christ. In Christ there is everything, fullness. However we need time to possess one of the dimensions of His mystery. ... At times, in the eyes of the world, it seems impossible that someone should spend his entire life in a monastery, but in reality a lifetime is hardly sufficient to enter into this union with God, into the essential and profound Reality which is Jesus Christ".
"The Church needs you and you need the Church", the Holy Father told the monks at the end of his homily. "You, who live in voluntary isolation, are in fact at the heart of the Church; you ensure that the pure blood of contemplation and of God's love flows in her veins".