Benedictines: June 2013 Archives

abbot thomas of Glastonbury.jpgToday, the monastic chapter (the solemnly professed monks) of Glastonbury Abbey (Hingham, MA) met to elect the third abbot of the abbey. 

The election of an abbot brings greater normalcy, according to the Rule of Saint Benedict and tradition, to the monastic life after several years of having a prior administrator. Having an administrator was requested by the monks of the Abbey for a transition period. 

The 10 monks gathered under the presidency of Abbot Vincent de Paul Bataille, Abbot President of the Swiss American Congregation. Abbot Vincent confirmed the election. The monks of the Congregation number about 511 in 18 monasteries and priories in the USA, Central America and Canada.

Benedictine Father Thomas O'Connor, 62, was elected the Third Abbot of the community.

Abbot Thomas' abbatial blessing will be bestowed by Sean Cardinal O'Malley, OFM Cap on 11 August.

Glastonbury Abbey coat of arms.jpg
Glastonbury Abbey was founded in 1954 from Saint Benedict's Abbey, Benet Lake, WI. It is situated in the Archdiocese of Boston and is located in the historic south shore of Boston.

Father Edward Campbell was elected the first abbot (1973-1986) and Father Nicholas Morcone served as the second abbot (1986-2008).

May God grant Abbot Thomas many years of faithful and fruitful service.

Our Lady of Glastonbury, pray for us.
Saints Benedict and Scholastica, pray for us.
Saint Hildegard, pray for us.
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Most people conceive of living the Benedictine charism --the Benedictine way of life given to us first by Saint Benedict in his Rule, and many centuries of living that Rule-- as only being suited for life in monasteries.  In history Benedictine monks and nuns have indeed been missionaries. Think of Augustine of Canterbury, Anselm, Boniface, Frowin, Conrad, Martin Marty and many more. Men and women following the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the needs of the Church have been called from the monastery to make new foundations, often they have moved from one culture to another sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. You might say that they raised the bar in the way the Christian life is lived.

In the USA Benedictine life has great diversity: monks, nuns, sisters, and lay oblates; Benedictines with schools, retreat houses and farms; others with focussed contemplatives and others ready to do what is asked. We also have Cistercians of two observances, the Camaldolese and a growing population of laity who live the Rule in secularity. What is true, Benedictines evangelize culture and build society by their presence. Some monasteries having the members doing everything imaginable for one reason: that in all things God would be gloried. How else would you live your life if you truly believed in the Incarnation?

There is a group of Benedictine sisters whose vocation is to be missionary. Either they are sent as apostles to another place, or they are missionary in the place where they are. Since July 31, 1923, The Norfolk Priory of Missionary Benedictine Sisters have ministered here in the USA. The sisters bring the gift of St Benedict's wisdom to the health care and education ministries, but there are engaged in Hispanic ministry, domestic service, ecumenism, environmental concerns, justice and peace issues, parish ministry, and religious education. Share the idea of following to women who want to serve the Lord in community, as a missionary, and in prayer and service of the neighbor.

Here is a video on the Norfolk Benedictine Sisters.

The Missionary Benedictine Sisters belong to  serving Christ and the Church in various parts of the world.

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On Sunday the American Cassinese Congregation Benedictines will meet for its 51st General Chapter at St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA. The capitulars, the sitting abbots and priors plus one delegate meets every three years to work on matters common to the monasteries of the Congregation. Abbot Hugh Anderson serves the body as it President.

The Congregation has 768 (2012 numbers) in 20 autonomous monasteries with 8 dependent priories in the USA, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia and Mexico. But with these monasteries there remains to be seen how many can survive as some are in a fragile situation given demographics and economics.

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teresita.jpgA nun dies at 105 years old. Likely to be the oldest. She was the nun of 10 popes.

At 19 years old Sister Teresita made the decision to be a Cistercian nun in the Monastery of Buenafuente. That was 1927. She once said that "even if I had married a prince, I would not be happier than I am now," to the Correo.

The news in Spanish.

We can be grateful for Sister's perseverance in the monastic way of life. Moreover, her joy seems to have been overflowing.

May Our Lady, Mother of the Cistercians with Saints Benedict and Bernard lead Sister Teresita to the Lord.
Pietro Vittorelli OSB.jpg

It's finally been decided: Abbot Pietro Vittorelli has resigned the abbacy and his ministry of Ordinary of Cassino. Pope Francis invoked the Code of Canon Law 401.2 regarding matters of health.

Last year I asked readers of Communio to pray for Abbot Pietro here.

He now needs to pay more attention to his health for his own good, that of the monastic community that he intensely loves but also for the diocesan community.

Until the monastic community of Montecassino can be called together to elect a new abbot, the Prior of Sacro Speco at the Abbey of Saint Scholastica (on Subiaco) and the Director of the Library in the City there, Dom Augusto Ricci will serve as the Apostolic Administrator.

Dom Pietro was born on 30 June 1962, professed of vows in 1991, ordained priest in 1994, elected and confirmed in the abbatial office and Diocesan Ordinary of Montecassino in 2007. The great abbey of Montecassino is a territorial abbey. The stats of the diocese in 2004 state that there were 79,000 souls, with 68 priests (secular and religious) serving in 53 parishes.

From the Italian media.

Through the intercession of Blessed Columba Marmion we pray,

O God, Almighty Father, who, having called the blessed abbot Columba to the priesthood and to the monastic way of life, wonderfully opened to him the secrets of the mysteries of Christ, grant, in Thy goodness, that, strengthened by his teachings in the spirit of our adoption as Thy sons, we may pray to Thee with a boundless confidence, and so obtain, through his intercession, the full restoration to health of Dom Pietro Vittorelli, Abbot of Monte Cassino. We ask this grace for the joy of Thy Church, for the consolation of the community of Monte Cassino, and for the praise of Thy glory, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

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Eleven years ago today, a man with no identifiable motive killed two monks, wounded two others and then committed suicide. Robert Lloyd Jeffress, 71, changed Benedictine life at Conception Abbey forever.

A few years ago a monk from Conception told me the unforeseen effect of this event has brought the community together in a deeper way.

"When brutal deeds are enacted, it calls for heroic and radical forgiveness. Such acts of violence as happened here on Monday, could only have come from someone in desperate need of help. Hatred, anger, and an unwillingness to forgive only 
keep us crippled and bound by the evils that surround us. If we endure evil and do not allow it to conquer us, we will share in the victory of Jesus Christ, in the hidden life of the resurrection of Jesus."

(Taken from Abbot Gregory homily at the funeral Mass for Father Philip and Brother Damian)

May God me be merciful to Father Philip and Brother Damian, but also to their monastic community and to Mr Jeffress.
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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 June 2013.

Benedictines: May 2013 is the previous archive.

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