Category Archives: Benedictines

Thomas Merton, a light still shining

Fr Louis Thomas MertonHear with favor our prayers, which we humbly offer, O Lord, for the salvation of the soul of Father Louis (Thomas Merton), your servant and Priest, that he, who devoted a faithful ministry to your name, may rejoice in the perpetual company of your Saints.

The famous Trappist monk, Thomas Merton (b. 1915) died on this date in 1968.

In very many ways Merton was a consummate human being: loved pleasure and engaged his freedom only to transform pleasure and his version of freedom with his embrace a life of prayer and silence as a  Strict Observance Cistercian (a Trappist monk) in a Kentucky abbey.  In the monastery Thomas Merton was known as Father M. Louis, a name I still prefer to use because of his commitment to the monastic life. At the command of his abbot, Merton wrote of his conversion in his 1949 best seller, The Seven Storey Mountain, introducing millions of people to the monastic life. No other book since this one has had such a critical impact on Catholics. His conversion story was only one of many books and essays published by Merton and even in death Merton continues to publish due to the finding of new materials or the repackaging of thought into new books. The irony of Merton’s life as a monk is that he died in Asia conferencing with an international and interfaith group of monks and nuns. His body was brought home in a steel casket on a military transport.

In his lifetime Merton was a voice of reason, a voice of sanity, a voice speaking the Word of God. As typical of public thinkers he became a voice and an influence for a variety of types of people, from artists, intellectuals, religious types, peace and nonviolence promoters and the like.

Key for me and dare I say for Benedictines of all stripes, Merton argued for a contemplative life which engages the reality of the world so that the monk, nun, oblate could intercede on behalf of the world for others (read The Sign of Jonas).  Father Louis helps me to understand the Benedictine charism better when he says,

The Benedictine life is simply living the Gospel without fanfare…. The mainspring of everything in Saint Benedict is the love of Christ in Himself, in the poor, in the monastic community, in the individual brethren…. This is the key to the monastic life and spirit.

A life totally cut of is good for a few, like the Carthusians, but for Benedictines and the Cistercians (a reformed group of Benedictines) who form a school of prayer and love in Christ, nothing is out-of-bounds. Merton, indeed, opened the doors to a new manner of living the vitally important monastic life today.

He sought to be a saint, that is, be yourself, is the vocation that all of us ought to consider doing with seriousness. The Pope echoes this notion, so does Communion and Liberation. Great minds think alike.

Watch Father Jim Martin’s video presentation on Thomas Merton.

Thomas Merton’s work continues with the initiative of The Merton Institute for Contemplative Living.

Benedictine Father Michael Zielinski appointed Head of Office for the Pope’s Worship Office

zielinski-sisinono.jpgThe Pope appointed Benedictine Abbot Christopher Michael John Zielinski to the be the Head of the Office (office manager) of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on Saturday, 24 November 2012. He is the number 3 person in the Congregation serving with Antonio Cardinal Cañizares, Archbishop Arthur Roche and Father Anthony Ward, SM.

Dom Michael, 59, a native of Lakewood, Ohio, is a monk of the Olivetan Congregation of Benedictines having professed monastic vows in 1972, who studied at Sant’Anselmo and ordained in 1977. Dom Michael is a past religious superior of the Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Pecos, NM). Until now and since 8 May 2008, he’s been the vice president of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology.
He is also a consultor to the same Congregation. 
Dom Michael gave an interview that covered his thinking on the Tridentine Mass in 2007.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Bernard Tolomei, pray for Abbot Michael in his new work for the Church.
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St Mary’s Monastery, Petersham celebrates 25 years

Petersham 25th anniv logo.tifToday is the 25th anniversary of the founding of Saint Mary’s Monastery, Petersham, MA. 

In 1987, Saint Mary’s became a dependent house on Pluscarden Abbey, Scotland. Some might say that 3 men started the monastery in 1985, and they’re right to a degree. But in 1987 it was aggregated to Pluscarden in a formal way and to the Subiaco Congregation.
Saint Mary’s Monastery is a small colony of Benedictine monks whose central work is the praying of the traditional Divine Office (in Latin) with a small guest house welcomes visitors.
A delightful place to visit, pray and just spend time with the Lord.
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Christian faith through lens of the Creed presented at the Monastery of the Glorious Cross, Branford, CT

In the Year
of Faith please join Father David Borino and Benedictine Sister Zita Wenker for
a discussion “Christian faith through lens of the Creed” on Saturday, December
1, 10:30 to 2:00pm.

The discussion will be held at the Monastery of the
Glorious Cross
61 Burban Drive, Branford, CT 06405

The day includes Mid-day prayer and Mass in the
Monastery Chapel, the presentations and time for Q&A. Please bring a brown
bag lunch.

Father David Borino is a priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford and
Sister M. Zita Wenker, OSB is a Benedictine nun of Jesus Crucified residing at the Monastery of the
Glorious Cross (61 Burban Drive, Branford, CT 06405). Both presenters bring pastoral and theological expertise to the
exploration of what we believe Catholic faith to be through what we profess
Sunday after Sunday in the Creed.

The day is free, open to the public with a
good will offering taken.

Sant’Anselmo unveils strategic plan


The Benedictine monks of Sant’Anselmo unveiled an impressive strategic plan for its work as an international university in Rome. 
Historically, the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo (Rome) was founded in 1687 by Pope Innocent XI and renewed and re-established by Pope Leo XIII in 1887 and given as a work to the worldwide Benedictines.
Read the first section of the Strategic Plan:
And, a most important part of the Plan,
The vital parts of the Strategic Plan are noted here.
Looking good and abundant blessings….

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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