Category Archives: Benedictines

Historic Centre of Rome and St Paul outside the Walls

Rome is a VERY fascinating place to visit due to the intersection of culture, religion, politics, and art. There is a rich sense of the human and a love of life. One important basilica is Saint Paul’s (my personal favorite). These brief videos give perspective.

Saint John Paul II

JPIIBlessed  Feast of Pope Saint John Paul II!

Saint John Paul II: “In its present form, inspired above all by Saint Benedict, Western monasticism is the heir of the great number of men and women who, leaving behind life in the world, sought God and dedicated themselves to him, “preferring nothing to the love of Christ”.The monks of today likewise strive to create a harmonious balance between the interior life and work in the evangelical commitment to conversion of life, obedience and stability, and in persevering dedication to meditation on God’s word (lectio divina), the celebration of the Liturgy and prayer.”
–Vita Consecrata, 6

Our Lady of Monte Vergine

OL of Monte VergineOn these U.S. shores a devotion to the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of Monte Vergine is unknown by most people. There are, however, those of us who know Italy and the presence of the Benedictine abbey on Monte Vergine that inspires us to use this title to Mary. From the image herewith it is difficult to grasp that the icon is quite large, with a height of over 12 feet and width of over 6 feet; it shows the Mary seated on a throne with the Infant Jesus seated on her lap. Historians call icon of the Mother and Child, “of Constantinople” (because it is said to have been brought to Italy by King Baldwin of Jerusalem) given to the Benedictine monks in 1310. King Baldwin. The image is dark, so the icon is often referred to as one of the “Black Madonnas”; a title given to several images of the Holy Virgin Mother.

The famous Benedictine sanctuary located in the village of Montevergine (of Campanian region of Italy); the “Monte Vergine” comes from the religious history going back to the pre-Christian era when there was a temple of Cybele existed. A chapel of the Blessed Virgin was built in the seventh century. In 1119, Saint William of Vercelli founded the monastery that still exists. Saint William was a hermit who came back to his native Italy after making a pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).

Saint William had the reputation for sanctity inspiring many to live in cells on the mountain. Monasticism still is present there. The first true church was constructed in 1126, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.

Today, it is reported that over one-and-one-half million pilgrims yearly pay homage to Our Lady of Montevergine. The most popular day is Pentecost. There have been numerous miracles attributed to this portrait of the Mother of God and her Divine Son.

Abbot Primate celebrates 75 years

Notker imposes incense 2015The Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation celebrates his 75th birthday. Abbot Notker Wolf presides in charity over the worldwide communion of Benedictines from the Aventine Hill in Rome. He was the archabbot of the St Ottilien Abbey and Congregation before his election as Primas.

Blessings!

Cyprian Davis, OSB, dead at 84

Cyprian Davis OSBThe monastic community of Saint Meinrad announced the death of their confrere, Father Cyprian Davis yesterday. Those of us who are Oblates of Saint Meinrad will recall with great admiration the life and work of this monk and priest of Jesus Christ. Prayers for Dom Cyprian and those who survive him. The official obituary reads:

Fr. Cyprian Davis, OSB, monk and priest of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN, died on May 18, 2015, at Memorial Hospital in Jasper. He was 84 and a jubilarian of both profession and ordination.

Surviving are a cousin and a niece.

Fr. Cyprian was born in Washington, D.C., on September 9, 1930, to Clarence W. and Evelyn (Jackson) Davis, who named him Clarence John.

He studied at Saint Meinrad Seminary from 1949 to 1956. Invested as a novice monk on July 31, 1950, he professed his simple vows August 1, 1951, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 3, 1956.

Fr. Cyprian received a licentiate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America in 1957, and the license and the doctorate in historical sciences from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, in 1963 and 1977, respectively.

He was professor emeritus of Church history at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, where he had begun teaching in 1963.

He also served as an archivist of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation, and of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, of which in 1968 he was a founding member. He also belonged to the American Catholic Historical Association and the Society of American Archivists.

In addition to dozens of articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia and dictionary entries, Fr. Cyprian wrote six books. But it is his 1990 work for which he will be especially remembered. The History of Black Catholics in the United States is a 350-page study of the American Black Catholic experience from the early Spanish explorations to 1970, and it is regarded as the essential study of the American Black Catholic experience.

Among the honors he received for this book were the John Gilmary Shea Award in 1990, and the Brother Joseph Davis Award in 1991. Fr. Cyprian was preparing a revised edition of this work at the time of his death.

In addition, Fr. Cyprian contributed to the second draft of Brothers and Sisters to Us, the 1979 pastoral letter on racism published by the United States Catholic bishops, and he helped write the initial draft of What We Have Seen and Heard, the 1984 pastoral letter on evangelization from the black Catholic bishops.

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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