Category Archives: Benedictines

Benedictines changing the way life is lived

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Benedictine abbots and by extension all monks, nuns and Christians are expected to give to the Lord an account of the way the goods of creation are used (Rule of St Benedict & Luke 16:2). In various contexts Pope Benedict has also addressed the Church on the proper use of creation for the good humanity and over the long haul. Questions of environmental sustainability surface more and more these days with critical assessments of how we live viz. the ideals by which we live (the Gospel, theology), questions of stewardship, availability of manpower, money, etc.
A good example of what I am indicating are the environmental programs sponsored by the monks of St John’s Abbey and University to take a deeper look into a holistic approach to the environment in light of various disciplines. In the last few years the monks of the Abbey of Saint Gregory the Great, Portsmouth, RI, have begun a number of initiatives to be good stewards: a wind turbine and a large garden to supply the abbey and the school with fresh vegetables, name a few (more info here). Also, we can survey various abbeys who made some good choices by the planting of hundreds of trees to reclaim a forest by the monks of St Meinrad Archabbey, the comprehensive review of Sant’Anselmo (Rome) to see how more efficient they can be, Conception Abbey working wind technology and St Mary’s Abbey maintaining an apple orchard, an extensive garden, land preservation and a few bee hives. But these few good things raise the question of how all of us think and act green for better and healthy living.
Monks, nuns, priests, brothers and sisters are expected to live differently from the secular counterparts; seemingly the seculars do a lot better a living with a green consciousness. But Benedictines and Franciscans usually get praise for their being good stewards of creation.
Two very recent items which are good to note: 

Film explores the witness of Trappist martyrs of Algeria

Atlas Trappists.jpgThe
recent Cannes Film Festival showed the film about the 1996 Trappist martyrs of Our Lady of
Atlas in Algeria. The film got rave reviews and awarded 2nd place. The film is in French and it will be
available on DVD with English subtitles. While we wait for the full film to be available here is
a clip on Youtube with subtitles at: Of Gods and Men.


More information on the 7 monks may be found here and here.

Saint Vincent’s Archabbot re-elected


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Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., 65, the eleventh Archabbot
of Saint Vincent Archabbey, was re-elected as the major superior of the
Benedictine community in Latrobe Pennsylvania on Tuesday, May 11.

In his role as
the Archabbot of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Archabbot Douglas serves as the spiritual
leader of the first monastery established in the United States and one of the
largest monasteries in the world with nearly 175 monks. As archabbot, he is the chancellor of Saint Vincent
College
and Saint Vincent Seminary.

The Benedictines operate the Benedictine
Military School in Savannah, Georgia, and the Penn State Campus Ministry
Program at State College, Pennsylvania.

In addition to his responsibilities in
this country, the Archabbot is also the spiritual leader of monasteries in
Brazil and Taiwan.

May God grant Archabbot Douglas abundant blessings today and in the years ahead.

Saint Benedict, pray for us.

Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.

NB: Beg the Holy Spirit for graces upon the Benedictine abbeys of Saint Procopius and Marmion (both in the greater Chicago area) who will be electing new abbots this summer.

Paul Augustin Cardinal Mayer, RIP

Paul Augusitn Mayer2.jpgPaul Augustin Cardinal Mayer, OSB, died today just shy of his 99th birthday. He was the Church’s eldest Prince.

Cardinal Mayer was born on 23 May 1911 and professed vows the Abbey of Metten on 17 May 1931; he was ordained a priest on 25 August 1935 and elected abbot of Metten on 3 November 1966. Mayer’s service to the Church universal began in 1971 when he was ordained a bishop by Pope Paul VI and named secretary for the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes. later he was Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and then Ecclesia Dei. When made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II he was given the titular of Sant’Anselmo all’Aventino.
Cardinal Mayer was a priest for 74.5 years; 38 years a bishop and 24 years a cardinal.
In a telegram to Abbot Primate Notker Wolf, Pope Benedict XVI said of Cardinal Mayer:
“he leaves the indelible memory of an industrious life spent with mildness and rectitude in coherent adherence to his vocation as a monk and pastor, full of zeal for the Gospel and always faithful to the Church. While recalling his knowledgeable commitment in the field of the liturgy and in that of university and seminaries, and especially his much appreciated service to the Holy See, first in the preparatory commission for Vatican Council II then in various dicasteries of the Roman Curia, I raise fervent prayers that the Lord may welcome this worthy brother into eternal joy and peace.
May Paul Augustin Cardinal Mayer’s memory be eternal!

Gabriel Gibbs: founding abbot of Massachusetts abbey RIP

Dulles with Gibbs.jpgA generation of big names in “East coast Catholicism” in the past two years have died, and Right Reverend Father Gabriel Gibbs is numbered among them. Abbot Gabriel, 84, was the first abbot of Saint Benedict’s Abbey, Still River, MA.

Abbot Gabriel is likely to be remembered most for his questioning of religious liberty (no salvation outside the Church) that came to head in the doctrine put forward by the Second Vatican Council, though it was much discussed by theologians and bishops in the 1940s. Early in his life Abbot Gabriel was part of a robust Catholic center in Harvard Square, The Saint Benedict Center, where Jesuit Father Leonard Feeney lectured. After suffering for sometime with cancer, Abbot Gabriel died on March 27. Abbot is pictured above on the far right.
The abbot and I shared a friend in Cardinal Dulles and a few other monks. And so, we pray for God’s mercy on the abbot and his eternal rest.
Abbot Gabriel’s obit can be read here and here.
May his memory be eternal.

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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