Benedictines: December 2012 Archives

James R. Albers OSB.jpgThe monastic chapter of Saint Benedict's Abbey (Atchison, KS) elected Father James Robert Albers, 41 as the 9th abbot earlier today. Until now, he's served the monastic community as the Prior and vocation director.

Abbot James was born 19 October 1971, entered the abbey in 1996 and ordained in 2000.

The Benedictine community here was founded in 1857; it was given the rank of an abbey on 7 April 1876. Saint Benedict's Abbey administers Benedictine College (1858), Maur Hill Prep School (1919); in 2003 the Prep merged with Mount Scholastica Academy (1863) to build a more dynamic and stronger school known as Maur Hill-Mount Academy. Saint Benedict's Abbey is a member of the American Casinesse Congregation.

The monks also have a dependent Mosteiro São José in Goiás, Brazil.

The newly elected Abbot James succeeds Abbot Barnabas Senecal who was elected 8th abbot on 30 May 1994 and re-elected on 27 December 2002.

Forward, always forward.

May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Saint Benedict, Saint Scholastica with all Benedictine saints pray for the abbey and for Abbot James before the Throne of Grace.
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St Benedict Abbey KS.jpgLater today the monks of Saint Benedict's Abbey (Atchison, KS) enter into a special chapter (the group of solemnly processed) to begin the process of electing a new Abbot.

Abbot Barnabas Senecal, 75, is leaving the abbatial office. The Constitutions of the American Casinesse Congregation of monks has the abbot submitting a resignation on his 75th birthday. Abbot Barnabas has served for the last 18 1/2 years.

Please keep the monks in your thoughts and prayers as they gather to elect a new Father in Christ.

The abbey recently saw two monks profess temporary vows and three men enter the novitiate.

May the Holy Spirit guide the hands of the monks. Saint Benedict, pray for the monks.
Some Year of Faith initiatives

The monks, nuns and oblates of Saint Mary's Monastery and Saint Scholastica Priory in Petersham, MA, had a day of reflection on October 20th that covered the New Evangelization and the Benedictine charism. Dr. Philip Zaleski, an Oblate of the monastery and Father Christophe Vuillaume, OSB, a monk at Saint Mary's gave the two presentations.

Audio files

Mother Marie des Douleurs.JPGToday marks the 29th anniversary of death of Mother Marie des Douleurs, known in history as Suzanne Wrotnowska (1902-1983), the foundress of the Congregation of Benedictines of Jesus Crucified. A true spiritual mother of all who need mercy, especially women who would not be able to enter the monastic life due physical impediments. Mother Marie's spiritual maternity extended also to priests who haven't repented of their sin.

The vocation of a Benedictine sister of Jesus Crucified is to be a victim, a total offering of self to the Lord for priests in view of who we know our Messiah to be, Jesus Christ, priest and head of the Church (Christ the King). The law of the gift is lived par excellence in union with those in most need of mercy. The vocation is especially needed today for those priests, bishops and deacons who are public sinners and who have not repented of their sins. We are all aware of our own sin, we all need forgiveness and to forgive, we also note that not all the clergy have been living a life of purity of heart. And for this intention a Benedictine of Jesus Crucified promises to offer prayer and sacrifice.

A friend, Father Mark tells us, upon learning from Father Luc de Wouters, OSB, who wrote the biography of Mother Marie, who said that she was facing death Mother Marie said,

In the eventide of my life, I have such a need of recollection, such a need to obey and to humble myself. I am unworthy of having been chosen to found the Congregation. I suffer being pulled between heaven and earth. The cross grows heavy. The Lord gave me as my portion the souls of guilty own soul disappears beneath an accumulation of iniquities! But I had asked for this humiliation! How is that the Lord was able to make use of so little a thing? His fidelity, His consuming love, this all my life, my light my death.

Mother Marie des Douleurs is also the author of Joy Out of Sorrow (1965).

In the US, there is one monastery of 17 nuns at the Monastery of the Glorious Cross, Branford, CT.

The biography of Mother Marie is written by Father Luc de Wouters, OSB, Le Sperpent et la croix, is available by writing to Soeur Marie-Isabelle, OSB, Monastère Saint Benoît, 25330, Nans-sous-Sainte Anne, France.
Fr Louis Thomas Merton.jpg

Hear with favor our prayers, which we humbly offer, O Lord, for the salvation of the soul of Father Louis (Thomas Merton), your servant and Priest, that he, who devoted a faithful ministry to your name, may rejoice in the perpetual company of your Saints.

The famous Trappist monk, Thomas Merton (b. 1915) died on this date in 1968.

In very many ways Merton was a consummate human being: loved pleasure and engaged his freedom only to transform pleasure and his version of freedom with his embrace a life of prayer and silence as a  Strict Obsernace Cistercian (a Trappist monk) in a Kentucky abbey.  In the monastery Thomas Merton was known as Father M. Louis, a name I still prefer to use because of his commitment to the monastic life. At the command of his abbot, Merton wrote of his conversion in his 1949 best seller, The Seven Storey Mountain, introducing millions of people to the monastic life. No other book since this one has had such a critical impact on Catholics.

His conversion story was only one of many books and essays published by Merton and even in death Merton continues to publish due to the finding of new materials or the repackaging of thought into new books. The irony of Merton's life as a monk is that he died in Asia conferencing with an international and interfaith group of monks and nuns. His body was brought home in a steel casket on a military transport.

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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 December 2012.

Benedictines: November 2012 is the previous archive.

Benedictines: January 2013 is the next archive.

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