Category Archives: Benedictines

Benedictine monk says prayer and teaching manifest God’s presence

One of my friends, Brother Ignacio Gonzalez, was recently recognized with 200 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington with the Manifesting the Kingdom Award given for outstanding service to the local Church.

Brother Ignacio is a Benedictine monk of St Anselm’s Abbey. In addition to the monastic way of life, the monks of his community conduct St Anselm Abbey School. he teaches religion in the school. Brother Ignacio, a native of Texas, is a former US Marine.

Read the story, pray for vocations to Benedictine life.

Trappist monks roll out their beer

Br Isaac with beerTrappist Brother Isaac shows some bottles of Spencer Trappist Ale. This is the latest venture of the Cistercian monks in Spencer, MA. They’re hoping to sell 4000 barrels (1.3 million bottles) of their beer.

The Boston Globe has a story here. Pray that the State of CT will allow the beer to be sold in CT soon.

All Cistercian saints and blesseds, pray for the monks, and for us.

An Ordered Existence of a Benedictine

Conor Pope offers “An Ordered Existence,” his entertaining and thought-provoking summary for The Irish Times of two days spent with the Benedictine monks of Glenstal Abbey, Co. Limerick.  The article is supplemented by “The Sound of Silence: Conor Pope at Glenstal Abbey,” a five-minute video.

HT to Brother Richard Oliver, OSB

American Trappists debut beer

Spencer Trappist Ale labelThe Trappist monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey (Spencer, MA) have rolled out their product: Spencer Trappist Ale.

The Rule of Benedict tells the monks and nuns that they have an industry to bring in an income and the Cistercian charism is to attend to manual labor in a more concerted way (even though Benedictine monks ought also be so attentive). For years they have been making Trappist Preserves and designing vestments for the sacred Liturgy through their business the Holy Rood Guild. Time has come for a new venture given the human and economic ecology: the monks have found that they need to reasses their ways of making money given their the available monks. So many of them are old now and not many new recruits.

You can “Like” the Facebook page.

The Trappists are joining other US Benedictines who are making beer like the Abbey of Christ in the Desert (New Mexico).

International Commission on Benedictine Education (ICBE) gets new president

Benet 2013The International Commission on Benedictine Education (ICBE), a group of educators from Benedictine and Cistercians schools, met at the end of October (2013) in Manila. More than 150 educators assembled at the global conference (BeNET=Benedictine Educators Network).

One of the tasks of the Abbot Primate at the Manila meeting, Notker Wolf, OSB, was to appoint a new ICBE president to replace Father Christopher Jamieson, OSB, the founding president. Jamison served the ICBE for the last 10 years and he is a monk and former abbot of Worth Abbey, England. Abbot Notker elected Father Elias Lorenzo, OSB, a monk of Saint Mary’s Abbey (Morristown, NJ) and current prior at Sant’Anselmo (Rome); Father Elias is a co-founder of the ICBE, and experienced educator, administrator and insightful preacher.

The ICBE is an organization which works to gather educators from monastery schools who follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. According to the tradition of the Church, monasteries are independent entities and often have no network of collaboration, unlike the Salesians and the Jesuits who have international associations. These other religious orders are governed by a central body with regional provinces. They naturally have a built-in network that Benedictines and Cistercians do not have available. Hence, there has been a perceived need to assist Benedictine and Cistercian faculties in matters pertaining to a formation in the cultures of the intellect, spiritual, human, communal and work. The controlling idea is that the education is effective and fully catholic (think of the 4 marks of the Church) when not only information is shared, but real, concrete experience is shared shared. The formative process is done in the community. The ICBE is interested in wisdom, not merely knowledge.

The ICBE and the BeNET have been instrumental in advancing the formation of the laity who teach in schools where the numbers of Benedictines and Cistercians are on the decrease. But even in monastery schools with a sufficient number of monks and nuns there is a need for appropriate formation as an educator in the key of Jesus Christ through the lens and culture of Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica, and the patrimony.

The next international meeting of the ICBE will be in Rome in 2016.

(in the picture, l-r, Fathers Elias, Notker, Christopher)

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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