Category Archives: Benedictines

Sofia Millican elected new abbess of Mt St Mary’s Abbey

On Monday, February 11, 2019, the Trappistines of Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey (Wrentham, MA) elected Sister Sofia Millican (formerly Frances Elizabeth) as their next abbess. Mother Sofia is elected for a for a six year term. Due to her few years in the Community as a solemnly professed nun she was postulated by the Community and it was accepted by the Holy See.

The Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey is situated in the Archdiocese of Boston. It is one five abbeys of nuns who live the Strict Observance Cistercian. There are 10 abbeys of monks.

Mother Sofia was born in 1982 in Beckenham, Kent and raised in South Wales; she is a 2005 Harvard grad. In 2007, Sister Sofia earned a degree masters degree from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, now Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

Sister Sofia entered the Abbey on October 15, 2007 and made solemn profession on April 27, 2014. Also in 2014 Sister Sofia made two contributions to Cistercian Studies, “Spiritual Encouragement in the Conferences of John Cassian.” At the time of her election, Mother Sofia was Subprioress of the Community as well as the webmaster and production manager of Trappistine Quality Candy.

Mother Sofia will be installed as Abbess soon.

The newly elected abbess succeeds Mother Maureen McCabe who served the community since 2008 having reached the age of retirement according to the OCSO Constitutions, presented her resignation to the Abbot General which became effective on January 26, 2019.

The Lord said: You Follow Me

In Friday’s edition (1/11) of a weekly online newsletter of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation (USA) is a brief article on one of the Benedictine nuns, Sister Marie-Bruna of the Monastery of the Glorious Cross in Branford, Connecticut. Read “You Follow Me.”

Pray for the Souls in purgatory

The Catholic Church has a special concern for those who died and have not entered into the Beatific Vision.

Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for all sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

St Gertrude the Great
14th Century Benedictine nun and abbess

Pope encourages Benedictine nuns, sisters in vocation to hospitality

Dear Father Abbot Primate,
Sister Judith Ann
and Benedictine nuns and sisters,

Welcome to Rome! I thank Father Primate for his words of introduction: I have told him that his Italian has improved! Your Symposium is a good occasion for Benedictine nuns and sisters from all over the world to experience together a period of prayer to reflect on the various ways in which the spirit of Saint Benedict, after fifteen hundred years, continues to be vibrant and fruitful today. I am spiritually close to you during these days of your meeting.

For your theme, you have taken an exhortation from the fifty-third chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict: “All are to be welcomed as Christ”. This expression has given the Benedictine Order a remarkable vocation to hospitality, in obedience to those words of the Lord Jesus which are an integral part of his “rule of conduct” found in Saint Matthew’s Gospel: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (25:35; cf. Gaudete et Exsultate, 102-103). Today there are many people in the world who seek to reflect in their lives the tenderness, compassion, mercy and acceptance of Christ in their lives. To them you offer the precious gift of your witness, as you are instruments of God’s tenderness to those who are in need. Your welcoming of persons of different religious traditions helps to advance with spiritual anointing ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. For centuries, Benedictine houses have been known as places of welcome, prayer and generous hospitality. I hope that by reflecting on this theme and sharing your experiences, you may find new ways of furthering this essential work of evangelization in your various monasteries.

The motto Ora et Labora places prayer at the centre of your lives. The daily celebration of Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours puts you at the heart of the Church’s life. Every day, your prayer enriches, in a manner of speaking, the “breathing” of the Church. It is a prayer of praise to express the voice of all humanity and all creation. It is a prayer of thanksgiving for the countless and continued blessings of the Lord. It is a prayer of supplication for the sufferings and anxieties of the men and women of our time, especially the poor. It is a prayer of intercession for those who endure injustice, wars and violence, and see their dignity violated. You do not meet these people personally, but you are their sisters in the Faith and in the Body of Christ. The value of your prayer is incalculable, yet surely it is a most precious gift. God always hears the prayers of hearts that are humble and full of compassion.

I want to thank you for the special care you show towards the environment and for your efforts to protect the gifts of the earth, so that they can be shared by all. I know that the Benedictine nuns and sisters in the world are good administrators of God’s gifts. As women, you feel and appreciate especially the beauty and harmony of creation. Your monasteries are often found in places of great beauty where people go to pray, to find silence and to contemplate the marvels of creation. I encourage you to continue this style and service, so that God’s wonderful works can be admired and speak of him to many persons.

Your life in community bears witness to the importance of mutual love and respect. You come from different places and experiences, and each of you is different, and so the way you accept one another is the first sign you offer in a world that finds it hard to live out this value. We are all children of God and your prayer, your work, your hospitality, your generosity, all combine to reveal a communion in diversity that expresses God’s hope for our world: a unity made of peace, mutual welcome and fraternal love.

Dear Sisters, I accompany you with my prayers. You bring a precious gift to the life of the Church through your feminine witness of goodness, faith and generosity, imitating the Holy Mother of the Church, the Virgin Mary. You are icons of the Church and of our Blessed Mother: do not forget this. Icons. Who sees you, sees the Church as Mother and Mary as Mother of Christ. For this we praise the Lord and we thank you. I ask you please to pray for me and I cordially bless you and your communities, and all whom you serve in the name of Christ. Thank you!

Benedictine Oblates at the time of Church crisis

The St. Meinrad Oblates from the greater NYC area gathered as you know, for the 78th annual retreat this past weekend. As part of our Spiritual Exercises we have a Eucharistic Holy Hour. This year we prayed during this time for the Church which is currently in crisis as the consequence of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up, for the victims and victimizers.

Some of the Litany of the Sacred Heart that stand out:

Heart of Jesus, source of justice and love
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love
Heart of Jesus, well-spring of all virtue
Heart of Jesus, worthy of all praise
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts

Employing the intercession of the Blessed Mother, St. Benedict and all Benedictine saints and blesseds, we asked for a renewal of the Church: laity and clergy alike.

This is a time of prayer, penance and works of charity.

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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