Category Archives: Benedictines

St. Eleutherius the Abbot

I have a very vague recollection of today’s saint, Eleutherius, from some travels in Italy. A friend posted this sketch of a 6th century monk. Just to situate him: St Benedict died in 547. Some recent theological discussion in the Communio Study Circle about angels and demons leads me think more deeply about persons like Eleutherius.

St. Eleutherius (d. 585 A.D.) was a monk living in Spoleto, Italy. Little is known of his early life. He became the Abbot of St. Mark’s Abbey and was well-known as a man of simplicity and penance. He also demonstrated the gift of miracles and exorcism, and raised a dead man to life. After he healed a boy from demonic possession and saw that the child was afterwards left unharmed, St. Eleutherius made a remark to this effect: “Since the child is among the servants of God, the devil dares not approach him.”

Then the boy, who came to live at St. Mark’s Abbey to be educated by the monks, became possessed again. St. Eleutherius repented of his vain and presumptuous remark, and the whole monastery underwent a penitential fast before the devil would leave the boy for the final time. St. Eleutherius was a friend of Pope St. Gregory the Great, the latter having called upon the saint to pray for him in his illness. St. Eleutherius died in Rome in 585 A.D. Today is his feast day.   (DG)

Maximilian Buonocore ordained priest

Waterbury, CT native DOM Maximilian Peter Buonocore, OSB, 60, was ordained priest of Jesus Christ today by Joseph Cardinal Tobin, CSsR, the archbishop of Newark.

The new priest, Father Maximilian, is a Benedictine monk of Newark Abbey. He’s the first priest ordained there in a few decades.

The monks of Newark Abbey operate St. Benedict’s Prep, St Mary’s Grammar School and the priests assist locally in parishes and convents.

Father Maximillian’s First Mass is Sunday at the Abbey.

Benedictine spirituality is simple

Lady Abbess Benedict Duss (+2005) of Regina Laudis in a 1998 conference with the Core Oblates of the Abbey that may be of interest to those who live –or try to live– according the Rule of Benedict:

“Benedictine Spirituality is very elusive, because it is so simple. We have great aspirations, which can cause us to lose sight of the simple, and achievement is not helped, thereof.”

Benedictine monk preserves Christian history

The word “rescue” doesn’t always connect in people’s monks with the life and work of a Benedictine monk, but when you read a recent article in The Atlantic, you will have a new appreciation of the connection. It is a fact that Father Columba Stewart, monk of St. John’s Abbey (Collegeville, MN) spends a great deal of time rescuing some of the world’s precious manuscripts from possible human destruction –think of ISIS– and natural decay in a project sponsored by Saint John’s Abbey and University —Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML). The HMML project puts on microfilm and in digital format manuscripts the world has a rarely seen.

This is human project with Divine blessing; a true ecumenical and inter-faith project that reaches into the deep for the sake of something greater: Truth. What else could you expect a monk to do as a fruit of his contemplation? This, for me, is crucial consequence of the Incarnation of the Lord.

Conception Abbey’s 10th Abbot: Benedict Neenan

abbot-benedict-neenanThis afternoon the capitulars of Conception Abbey elected Father Benedict Neenan, 67, as their 10th abbot, succeeding Abbot Gregory Polan who was elected abbot primate in September. Until today, Neenan has served as Business Manager of Conception Abbey and Development Director. As abbot of the 143 year old community, Benedict will follow the Rule of St Benedict where it is written that “He is believed to hold the place of Christ in the monastery, since he is addressed by a title of Christ, as the Apostle indicates: You have received the spirit of adoption of sons by which we exclaim, abba, father (Rom 8:15).” The abbot of a Benedictine community holds the place of Jesus Christ in the community. As a theological statement we accept this fact by faith.

The new Abbot is 28 years ordained priest and a former President/Rector of Conception Seminary (1996-2008). Among the obediences he has served count: a seminary professor of theology and Church history;  Prior of Conception Abbey (1990-1993); spiritual director for seminarians and lay people, monastic Vocations Director, and a retreat master in the Abbey Guest Center. He was born in Kansas City, MO.

Abbot Benedict is the author of Thomas Verner Moore: Psychiatrist, Educator and Monk.

Conception Abbey is a daughter house of the Swiss abbey, Engelberg Abbey, founded in 1873.

May Saint Benedict and all Benedictine saints and blesseds richly bless Abbot Benedict and the abbatial community.

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]yahoo.com.
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