Category Archives: Benedictines

Benedict Option is misunderstood

The Benedict Option is, in my opinion, is misunderstood. Here is another perspective to consider.
There is a dizzy-ing amount of thinking now in the public. My first inclination is to say that not all of it is worth one’s time. It is, however, true to say that an educated person is going to want to deeply think about the issues raised in the Option. Whether you believe the line written by Alasdair MacIntyre “We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another—doubtless very different—St. Benedict,” should have ever been written, or that the author regrets writing it is now in the public form and people need to digest it appropriately and reasonably.
Rod Dreher is opening the door to deeper understanding of the Christian life and our engagement in it. Of course, we nee to be docile (to have some discernment with) to the Holy Spirit –this is required. What I see are knee jerk reactions and romanticisms. There is no doubt that an “option” needs to be interrogated, verified, and subjected even to ecclesial review and insight.
As Dom Gérard once said, “Monks built Europe unintentionally. Their adventure is primarily, if not exclusively, interior. They are moved by thirst for the absolute, thrust for another world. Thus monasteries, pointing silently to heaven, are an obstinate reminder that there is another world of which this world is but the image, the herald, and the prefiguration.”
One way to deepen your thinking on the Benedict Option is to read St. John Paul’s work on the vocation of Christians, Christifidelis laici and the Benedict Option material together. Then look at the way we worship, then come together to speak about the Dreher proposal.

Kurt Stasiak elected 10th abbot of St Meinrad Archabbey

Abbot KurtFather Kurt Stasiak, 63, was elected the 10th abbot and seventh archabbot of Saint Meinrad Archabbey today by the capitulars. Until now, Father Kurt has been the Prior of the Community.

Abbot Kurt professed monastic vows in 1975, ordained priest in 1980. He was trained as a sacramental-liturgical theologian –he earned a licentiate (1986) and a doctorate (1993) in sacramental theology from Pontifical Anthenaeum of Sant′Anselmo, Rome. Over the years he has served the community as secretary to the archabbot, provost-vice rector of the School of Theology, vocation director for Saint Meinrad Archabbey, assistant novice-junior master at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and professor (1986-2016).

Father Abbot is the author of several books,  A Confessor’s Handbook (a revised and expanded edition was published in 2010); Sacramental Theology: Means of Grace, Ways of Life; Return to Grace: A Theology for Infant Baptism and recently, From Sinners to Saints: A Guide to Understanding the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Saint Meinrad Archabbey press release is here.

The monastic community under the patronage of Saint Meinrad was founded by Einsiedeln Abbey, Switzerland, on March 21, 1854; it was raised to an abbey on September 30, 1870. The Church bestowed the title of “archabbey” on March 21, 1954.

Archabbot Justin Duvall was elected the elected 9th abbot on December 31, 2004. His resignation was accepted by the community and it elected a new abbot.

St Meinrad ArchabbeyMonks of this community prepare men for service in the Catholic Church as priests, deacons and lay ministers; several priests have also been called to serve as bishops. The monks have a thriving retreat house and many monks serve the Church away from the abbey, for example in parishes, at Sant’Anselmo (Rome) or at Conception Seminary.

Conference on Benedictine Lay Movements and Communities in the UK

Sts Benedict, Maurus and PlacidEaling Abbey AND the Tyburn Monastery to host conference on Benedictine Lay Movements and Communities

The monastic spirituality forum – Community of Nazareth – will be hosting a conference on contemporary Benedictine lay movements and communities at Ealing Abbey on the 11th of June 2016. The conference will explore the values, mission and outreach of Benedictine movements. A number of groups will be participating in the event: Manquehue Movement, Lay Community of St Benedict, Community of St Aelred, Subiaco Walsingham, Monos and NazarethW5. 

The day will commence by joining the monastic community at their conventual mass at 9.15. The conference will begin at 10.15 with each group explaining its particular mission and how its transmits monastic values to others. There will be discussion about the nature of those groups and movements: residential communities, dispersed communities, e-communities and social media. There will also be talks examining Benedictine witness, in particular looking at the lives of Bl Gabriella of Unity and the Tibhirine martyrs. The day will conclude by joining the monastic community for vespers at 5.30.

Talks and papers will be available via the website ( SoundCloud (Community of Nazareth) and twitter (@NazarethW5).

Monks beat Taylor Swift

Norcia monks chantingIf you can imagine the headline that “Monks beat Taylor Swift” in record sales, then you know Church tradition is right. Music sales of chant always seem to do well. The chant has a transcendent quality which makes the music quite attractive. I know non-Christian people listen to chant because it puts them in a peaceful “zone”.
Here is a very brief, but yet another article on the Benedictine monks in Norica (the article is old) and their CD: “Benedicta: Marian Chant.”
The monks also make a beer which I find to be better than the beer made by the Trappist monks in Spencer, MA.
The Benedictine monks of the St. Benedict Monastery in Norcia, Italy are the real deal and living their vocation!

Dom Xavier Perrin as Abbot of Quarr

Abbot Xavier

Great news from Quarr Abbey! A new abbot has been elected. The Abbey is part of the Solesmes Congregation.

Dom Xavier Perrin has been elected as Abbot of Quarr Abbey, the Benedictine Abbey on the Isle of Wight. The election took place on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

Fr Xavier Perrin, born in Tours in 1958, first studied French Literature in Rennes, and then History of Art at the Sorbonne. In 1980, he entered the Abbey of Sainte Anne de Kergonan, a monastery founded by Solesmes in South Brittany in 1897. He studied theology first at Solesmes, then at Fribourg in Switzerland, and finally in Munich. After his ordination in 1989, he took charge of the guesthouse, while teaching dogmatic theology and playing the organ. He was novice master from 1993 to 2010, choir master from 1996 to 2013, and prior from 2002 to 2013. He has written books and articles about the history of the Solesmes Congregation, liturgy, and spirituality. He has been involved in the promotion of Gregorian Chant through several week-ends, concerts and CDs. He was appointed Prior Administrator of Quarr Abbey (Isle of Wight) in April 2013.

He said, “I entrust my abbatial ministry to Our Lady of Quarr. I hope and pray that Quarr can continue to give its unique contribution to the Catholic Church in Britain, and be a beacon of light for the many visitors to the Isle of Wight.”

The picture: Abbot Xavier (on the right) standing next to Abbot Philippe Dupont, Abbot President of the Solesmes Congregation.

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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