Benedictines: May 2013 Archives

Pope Paul VI told us we need more witnesses to the faith. I've quoted the pope several times on this just point. True, the personal witness of a man and woman to the inner and outer works of the Holy Spirit is what concretely moves the heart. Truth is encountered in the witness. Father Tom Rosica, CSB, of Salt and Light TV interviews known and less known witnesses of the faith that for me, really opens new vistas.

Michael Patella OSB.jpeg
That I am interested in sharing the beauty of the Benedictine charism on Communio as the baptismal vocation is lived through monks, nuns, sisters and the laity. Father Rosica interviews Benedictine priest and monk Father Michael Patella of Saint John's Abbey (Collegeville. MN). It is linked at the end of this post.

Saint John's is a very large large abbey. At one time it was the largest in the world, now the monks numbers about 150. The monastic community administers a university, a high school, a press, an ecumenical center, a critically acclaimed international library of digital manuscripts, and several parishes. The monks of this abbey also serve the Church in a variety of places in the USA and other countries. No one can doubt the creative genius as a gift the Spirit with the men called to live a monastic vocation at Saint John's Abbey.

Father Michael's interview happened in August 2012 and was released in April 2013.

Monastero de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad.jpg

One of the weekly gifts for me is to read the reflections of Abbot Philip of the Abbey of Christ in the Desert (Abiquiu, NM). Abbot Philip is a real good man with a practical spiritual insight and tons of experience. He's been a religious superior for a long time. This week's reflection in part dealt with the abbot's fraternal visit to the Monastero de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Monastery of Our Lady of Solitude) located outside of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México.

The Benedictines of Our Lady of Solitude started very modestly in 1974 by Father Aelred Wall. Though a long time since the founding, Our Lady of Solitude now has ten monks who are dependent on the assistance of Christ in the Desert. 

The Mexican monasteries seem to be doing well. And they deserve our fraternal and material support. 

Though a little dated, this video of the monastery of Soledad reflects certain beauty.

new bport priests.jpgIn recent days several dioceses and religious orders have ordained men to the priesthood.

The priest is to "understand ... imitate ... and conform" his life to the Cross of Jesus. The bishop exhorts the man to be ordained to see that he believes what he reads, that he teaches what he believes and practices what he teaches.

Here is a random sample:

The Archabbey of Saint Vincent: 1
The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: 4
The Order of Preachers, New York: 6
The Idente Missionaries of Christ: 1
The Archdiocese of Boston: 5
The Archdiocese of Hartford: 7
The Archdiocese of New York: 6
The Archdiocese of Newark: 5
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia: 3
The Archdiocese of Los Angelus: 2
The Eparchy of Newton: 1
The Eparchy of Saint Maron, Brooklyn: 2
The Diocese of Bridgeport: 7
The Diocese of Paterson: 9

Saint John Mary Vianney, pray us.
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Following Saint Benedict's direction to monks, we are to "sing with pleasure, sing with wisdom." 

The Pontifical Liturgical Institute operated by the Benedictines in Rome at Sant'Anselmo, has initiated a Masters program in Gregorian Chant.

The new dean of the PIL, Benedictine Father Jordi Piqué spoke to CNA about the new program.

Contact Father Jordi:

benedictine monks in desert community.jpg

To answer that question let's turn to the late Dom David Knowles, from Downside Abbey in England, who offered a timeless definition half a century ago. He wrote: "Benedictine monachism presents an objective form of life, sane, strong, unchanging from year to year, a life of work and liturgical prayer which can be seen and heard, lived in conditions which aim at representing all that is best in the basic family life of Christianity, aided by all human courtesies, reverences, and affections. It is nothing secret or esoteric, nor an impossibility, but an ordinary form of ordinary life." (Benedictine Peace, 49-50)

Mother Dolores with John Paul.jpg

You know from a previous post here that Mother Dolores Hart, OSB, nun of the Abbey of Regina Laudis (Bethlehem, CT) published her autobiography, The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey From Hollywood to Holy Vows (Ignatius Press, 2013). The book is co-authored with lifelong friend Richard DeNeut. There was a book signing this past Sunday.

After a career in acting, Mother Dolores entered Benedictine life Regina Laudis Abbey in 1963. The abbey was founded in 1947.

Joseph Pronechen of the National Catholic Register interviewed Mother Dolores at the Abbey. One of the things worth hearing from Hart is:

The one thing is the Gregorian chant, and what a gift it is to be able to sing and to pray at the same time. I think that I would hate to see people lose that part of the Tradition of the Church, because the chant goes back over a thousand years.

Mother Dolores has been featured on the Communio blog in the past. See a post here and here.

Trappistines Syria.jpgThe mostly Italian group of Trappistine nuns forming a monastic colony in Syria are not moving, even in the face of violence. 

Since 2005, Mother Marta Luisa Fagnani and the other nuns have committed themselves to prayer and work in a country in crisis. Their witness at the Monastery of Blessed Mary of Font of Peace (in Arabic, Dier al Adrha Yanbu'a-s-Salam), is a foundation of the Valserena Monastery in Guardistallo, Italy.

They write a blog, Ora pro Siria, in Italian and not frequently updated, but you can get a sense of their witness there. BUT, the monastic project of the nuns is explained here, which also asks the reader to help with prayer, friendship and money.

Yesterday, the daily Il Sussidiario published an English translation of an interview with one of the nuns.

Two years ago today, Traces magazine published a story, "The Sisters of Syria," where the nuns talk about their call to make a monastic foundation in Syria, what freedom, the Encounter with the Lord and others and silence means. Few know, for example, that the Middle East had 11 monasteries of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (the Trappists) but dissolved due to the Islamic invasion. This is something to think and pray about. Do you have the same commitment to the Lord and to missionary zeal as these nuns?

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 May 2013.

Benedictines: April 2013 is the previous archive.

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