Category Archives: Benedictines

Pope Benedict visits Saint Frances of Rome’s monastery

The Pope’s visit to the monastery founded by Saint Frances of Rome today was a spectacular example of pastoral solicitude for the sisters and for their vocation. The Pope illustrated his love for the Benedictine charism and value today. Read and watch the video clip:


Tor de Specchi.jpgThe spiritual dimension of life must be brought back to the centre of civil coexistence. Benedict XVI said this during his visit to the historical monastery of Saint Francesca Romana in Tor de Specchi near the Campidoglio.

The Oblate sisters’ community of contemplative life, in close connection with the Olivetani monks, is called to be society’s “spiritual lung”, in order maintain the reference to God and to His plan of salvation. The Pope noted that the convent, which was founded by St. Francesca Romana, is characterized by a singular equilibrium between religious and secular life.

Rome currently needs women who, following the saint’s example, are capable of committing themselves to God and neighbour, capable of obeying the Church and assisting its pastors with their propositions, after being matured in dialogue with Christ and in concrete experience of charity. (courtesy of H2O News)


Contact the oblates:


Monastero delle Oblate di Santa Francesca Romana (Tor de’ Specchi)
Via del Teatro Marcello, 32

Roma, Italia

The patient monk

The truly patient monk is one who has trained his mind to look beyond present pain to ultimate realities. Patience is, accordingly, a work of faith. Without such a vision suffering is meaningless


There is no doubt that negative experience is the great challenge to faith and a source of temptation to abandon one’s commitment. It is also true that patience has a purifying effect on faith and commitment and leads to a more naked definition of selfhood.


One who has survived suffering knows that personal integrity is independent of goods and status and owes nothing to the attitudes and actions of others. It is the quality of a heart that has been hammered into humanity by this most universal of human experiences.


Michael Casey, OCSO

Truthful Living

Father Conall Coughlin reposes in the Lord

Your prayers are requested for the peaceful repose of Benedictine monk Father Conall R. Coughlin who fell asleep in the Lord on 1 March 2009.

Father Conall was a monk for 58 years and a priest for 51; he was given the obediences of being a teacher and a decorated Navy chaplain.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered this morning with burial in the abbey cemetery at the Abbey of Saint Mary-Delbarton, Morristown, New Jersey.

Father Conall’s obit

Listening with your heart, Sts. Benedict & Bernard say

Saint Bernard, the great Cistercian Abbot, gave a Chapter talk to his monks during Lent. In it he admonished them:


St Bernard detail.JPG“Observe carefully what you love, what you fear, what makes you rejoice, what causes you to be sad. See whether under your religious habit you have a worldly soul, and whether, hidden by the cloth of conversion, your heart is perverse. The whole of the heart is in these four affections and in these four is comprised, as I see it, all that is involved when you turn to God with your whole heart” (Sermo 2.3 in Quadragesima PL 183: 172D).


It is interesting the way Saint Bernard speaks of the heart. Our own Holy Father, Saint Benedict began his Rule for Monasteries by teaching us to listen with the ear of our heart. Listen to the love, fear, rejoicing, and sadness that lie in our heart.  The life of the monk allows us to take seriously the heart, and to raise the heart in our prayer. Saint John Damascene put it this way in commenting upon the Transfiguration, an event the Church celebrates this coming Sunday, the Second Sunday of Lent:


“Why did he lead his disciples up the mountain? Scripture in its moral sense refers to the virtues as mountains. The apex of all the virtues and, as it were, their citadel is charity…. Accordingly, it is fitting that we leave behind all worldly concerns of the earth and pass beyond the body of lowliness as we ascend to the highest and divine eminence. There we may behold at last those things that transcend every other view”(Homilia in Transfigurationem Domini, 10 PG 96: 561-2).

The Portsmouth Institute announces inaugural conference “The Catholic William F. Buckley Jr.”

On the feast of Saint Scholastica (February 10th), The Portsmouth Institute was launched.


“The Portsmouth Institute is a summer conference, study, recreation and retreat center for Catholic intellectuals, scholars and all those who are interested in questions pertaining to Catholic leadership, life and service in the 21st century.”


Portsmouth abbey school.jpgWhat is labeled as “America‘s Premiere Catholic Boarding School” a center for summer study has been founded to explore the relevant matters pertaining to Catholic life in 21st century. Akin to what Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Msgr. Luigi Giussani and Pope Benedict XVI and other like-minded intellectuals would say: faith broadens reason. This Institute envisions a comprehensive look at Catholicism from many vantage points that will appeal to scholars interested in Catholic faith and life. As you would expect, the Institute will engage faith and reason by engaging experts in the fields of spirituality, theology, history, science, the arts, politics, sociology as well as other aspects of contemporary society.


Portsmouth Abbey.jpgThe Institute’s webpage indicates that


Initial funding for The Portsmouth Institute has been established with generous contributions from National Review Institute, the William E. Simon Foundation, the Healey Family Foundation and other generous alumni and friends.  Accepting the role of director is Jamie MacGuire, Senior Development Officer of the Portsmouth Abbey School and 1970 graduate of The Portsmouth Abbey School.


The Portsmouth Institute will feature leadership and participation by Portsmouth Abbey’s resident Benedictine monks and faculty of the Portsmouth Abbey School. Institute programs are designed to offer attendees frequent opportunities for informal discussion, as well as access to recreational opportunities on the School’s campus at Carnegie Abbey, and in nearby Newport.  In keeping with its mission, the Institute’s yearly sessions will also provide opportunities for attendance at Mass, the Divine Office and “mini-Retreat” sessions centered around the Abbey’s landmark Church of St. Gregory the Great.


The Institute’s inaugural conference will be “The Catholic William F. Buckley Jr.: In GratitudeJune 18-21, 2009 at the Portsmouth Abbey School, Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

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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