Benedictines: May 2013 Archives
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.
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)
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.