Category Archives: Benedictines

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.

Lent offers a possibility of joy

The season of Lent is: “to offer in the joy of the Holy Spirit, of our own accord a measure of service…Less food, drink, sleep, speech, merriment, and with the joy of spiritual desire await holy Easter.” (Rule of St Benedict, 49)

Abbey of St. Walburga Opens Press & Store

The Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale, Colorado, have
St Walburga Abbey.jpgstarted a small publishing business, the St. Walburga Press. The press publishes books, booklets, CD’s, blank journals, note cards, and other small gift items created by the nuns, oblates and friends of the Abbey. The
new online store features booklets by Mother Maria-Thomas Beil OSB, Sister Genevieve Glen OSB, and Father John Krenzke. Three blank journals, lined and unlined, with illustrations and quotations, were created by the staff of the St. Walburga Press. The store also sells works by Sister Genevieve and Sister Hildegard Dubnick OSB from other publishers. The nuns plan to add CD’s and other gift items soon. Visit the store at <store.walburga.org>. For now, shipments are limited to the U.S.

Saint Walburga


St Walburga Belmont Abbey.JPG

O God, the boundless generosity of your favor is proclaimed by the wonders you have worked in your holy women. As we are taught by your holy virgin Walburga’s example of purity and rejoice in the glory of her miracles, may she be our patron to gain for us your unfailing love.

 

One of the important Benedictine saints in the Church is the 8th century Saint Walburga and yet she is relatively unknown to many outside the world of monks and nuns. Her story is found here. You might find it interesting to note that Saint Walburga’s relative is the Apostle to Germany, Saint Boniface, and her brother was the abbot and later bishop, Saint Wunibald.

 

In Colorado, there is a rather significant monastery of Benedictine nuns under the patronage of today’s saint, The Abbey of Saint Walburga (founded in 1935). The nuns at this monastery are a great group of women who live the monastic life with seriousness and a great of humanity (that is, humor). Most importantly the life they live is attractive to young women which has untold blessings from the Church in Colorado and beyond. Two of the nuns from this abbey serve the Vatican’s monastery, Monastero Mater Ecclesiae at the moment (they’ll be home in just over a year’s time).

 


St Walburga at Belmont Abbey.jpgSince 1857, the Benedictine sisters of Elizabeth, NJ, also claim Saint Walburga as their patron.

 

Also, we should mention the venerable witness of Saint Walburg Monastery in Covington, Kentucky. The sisters there directly descended from Saint Walburga Abbey in Eichstatt, Germany and are celebrating the 150th anniversary of their founding this year.

 

Belmont Abbey’s secondary patron is Saint Walburga. No fewer than two statues, one in the monastery and one in the grotto honor the saint. Plus, the monks honored the saint with a beautiful stained glass window in the Abbey Basilica.

 

The novena prayer to Saint Walburga

 

Holy Walburga, you dwell in the glory of heaven, gazing upon the face of the Triune God in the company of all the saints.  I turn to you, full of trust in the words of Jesus Christ, “Amen, amen I say to you, the one who has faith in me will do the works I do, and greater far than these” (John 14:12).  God has granted you the gift of healing; help me in my need, which I bring before you (mention petition).  Beg God to grant healing, consolation and strength to me and to all those for whom I pray.  Implore Him to let me recognize His love and know His presence, whatever He may have in store for me.

 

Ask this for me through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns in the unity of the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

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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