Category Archives: Benedictines

Benedictine nuns & monks in Japan

The Benedictine news service provided the following news piece on the recent problems in Japan. We should pray to the Japanese martyrs for their assistance before the Throne of Grace:

Father Don
Talafous OSB, in one of his Daily Reflections, speaks about how
difficult it is to comprehend the enormity of the multiple disasters that have
befallen the people of Japan. Communications are still sparse from the
afflicted Diocese of Sendai, with 11,000 Catholics, that
includes the areas hardest-hit in the disaster. Several monks of Trinity Benedictine
Monastery
, Fujimi, Japan, shared reports with the monks of Saint John’s
Abbey
, the founding community. The
reports
mention little damage at Fujimi, some disruption at the
Trappistine monastery, Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, and the death of a
Redemptorist priest whose car was swept away.

Is there a desire for God still present today?

A few days ago I recommended seeing “Of Gods and Men.” Last week I saw the film and I have still been thinking of the movie, the monks, the hard work of inter-religious dialog. The testament of Dom Christian de Cherge can be read here. I highly recommend reading what Prior Christian said and what others think. A group of friends took time to see the movie together. Two friends brought a perspective of the film to my attention recently. The following is an an answer to those who ask whether a desire for God is still present in our times. Angelo Scola writes: 

I believe that the worldwide success of the film on the Tibhirine
monks [U.S. Title: “Of Gods and Men”] reflects a burning desire in the men and
women of any latitude to meet the face of God; it therefore reflects the real
need we all feel for authentic witnesses who may help us keep our gazes focused
upwards.

Authentic witness is, in fact, not limited to “giving a good example”.
It shines in all its wholeness as a method for practically knowing reality and
communicating truth. It is a primary value, standing above any other form of
knowledge and communication – scientific, philosophical, theological, artistic,
etc.

Christian de Chergé.jpg

A luminous example of this method is offered by the very words which Fr
Christian de Chergé, prior of the Trappist monastery of Notre-Dame de l’Atlas
in Tibhirine, Algeria, wrote in his spiritual will [noted above], a good three years before
he was massacred with his monks:

“When the time comes, I would like to be able
to have an instant of lucidity that would allow me to ask for the pardon of God
and that of men, my brothers, while forgiving with all my heart those who may
have hit me… I cannot see how I could, in fact, rejoice in that this people I
love could be accused of my assassination. It 

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Of Gods and Men

OF Gods and Men.jpg

Xavier Beauvois’ new film “Of Gods and Men” (Des Hommes et des Dieux) is an intense and moving film of 7 Trappist monks in Algeria who had a coexistence with Muslim neighbors until extremists threatened and killed the monks. The Atlas Martyrs gave their lives in the night of 27-28 March 1996.

John Kiser wrote of the monks in his 2002 The Monks of Tibhirine which I recommend to give you a sense of what’s going on here.

“Of Gods and Men” is being shown on the East coast, now in NYC and next week in New Haven. Here’s the trailor.

Know the monks: Atlas Martyrs Biographies.pdf

Love is eternal hope…

Oscars 2011 and a nun

Dolores Hart OSB.jpgNot surprising that many people are interested in sensational stories like “Mother Dolores Hart: The Nun Who Kissed Elvis Presley.” I guess kissing Elvis is akin to winning the jackpot. Each to his or her own! Thom Geier’s story is exactly titled such on EW.com. I have to admit, however, I am fascinated –to a degree– by this woman’s gesture of following a vocation that had in mind her eternal destiny and not just money, fame and power. Hart’s life and enduring witness to Christ at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, Bethlehem, CT, is inspiring. Who wouldn’t be inspired by a beautiful woman giving her life to God through monastic consecration!


The following gives a flavor of Geier’s article: “Over the course of nearly half a century as a Roman
Catholic nun, Mother Dolores has had many jobs: choir member, baker, and coffin
maker. She’s served as prioress, the convent’s second in command, for nine
years. But for the past two decades, she has spent a good deal of time each
winter on another assignment that harks back to her earlier, pre-monastic life:
Oscar voter.”

Mother Dolores’ autobiography ought to be out soon.

Trappist monks donate coffin to bury little Christina Green in Arizona

green's casket.jpg

A beautiful of gesture of charity and hope was given to us as a witness of gospel virtue by the monks of a Trappist monastery in Iowa this week when they gave the Green family the casket in which to bury 9 year old Christina, a victim of the shootings last week. The CNN story is here.

Special thanks to Dom Brendan and the monks of New Melleray Abbey!

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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