Tag Archives: abbot

Young Catholic monks maintain tradition, respond to needs in faith

St Benedict french illumination2.jpgThe Benedictine Abbots are going home now. They’ve
been meeting in Rome since the 17th. Their work was not deliberative
in any meaningful way as much as they gathered for the reason to elect an abbot primate, to gain perspective, to meet new and old monastic superiors, to hear how the worldwide Benedictines can assist one another in living the life more effectively and intensely according to the Holy Rule and the mind of the Church. Time was spent in prayer, study, and pilgrimage. How could one not spend time in prayer before the holy places of the martyrs in Rome as well as some of the central points of interest to Benedictines. 
Cindy Wooden from CNS published this
article today as a sort of synopsis of one aspect of Benedictine life–the
attraction of new members. Father Michael Casey, a Trappist monk, priest, author and speaker, addressed the assembly. He, by the way, is one of my favorite contemporary monastic thinkers. If only the abbots and other monastic superiors would listen to Father Michael. Alas, they’re too timid and many can’t (won’t?) do the hard work necessary to figure out what they ought to do so as to not live in diminishment mode. One often gets the feeling that some monasteries would rather die than alter their Benedictine observance and the adherence to Christ and the Church. But, I will say that despite a lack of clear and intense thinking, praying and living, there are significant points of like for Benedictine monasticism in the USA.

What follows is an extract of what was published (read the text in full here):

PMCasey OCSO.jpg

One of the main speakers at the Benedictine abbots’
congress was Cistercian Father Michael Casey, an expert on monastic
spirituality from Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia.

Maintaining tradition while
responding to changing needs is an inescapable part of life, both for
individuals and for religious communities, he said. “The fact that we are
alive means that we are continually influenced by our past, continually
interacting with our present, and looking forward to the future. It’s really
just a matter of personal integrity, personal vitality that we do respect and
allow our past to continue speaking to us

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Benedictine abbots to meet in Rome

Badia Primaziale arms.jpgThe Office of the Abbot Primate announces…

Almost 300 monastics will gather in Rome, 17-25
September 2012, for the international Congress of Benedictine Abbots and
Conventual Priors at the Primatial
Abbey of St. Anselm
on the Aventine Hill. Preceding the Congress,
new monastic superiors will participate, 15-16 September 2012, in an
orientation program. 25 representatives from Communio Internationalis
(CIB), an association of Benedictine sisters and
nuns, will also attend the Congress. The Abbot Primate has invited ecumenical
guests from the Orthodox and Reformed traditions.

The two keynote speakers are
Prof. Michael Hochschild presenting his research on the viability of
Benedictine monasteries, and Fr. Michael Casey
offering a paper on autonomy in Benedictine life. In addition,
a wide range of workshops will address current topics in monastic life; such
as, Benedictine identity, stress and burnout, associate membership programs,
management of monasteries, individualism in the monastery, relationship with
Benedictine women, new forms of Benedictine presence in society, ecumenism, the
paschal mystery in the sacred liturgy, new directions for inter-monastic
dialogue, new structures for AIM, the changing role of the Athenæum S. Anselmo,
the sexual abuse crisis, the role of the abbot, communio in the confederation,
and the formation of “traditionalist” candidates.

The assembled
abbots and conventual priors will have the opportunity to visit in pilgrimage
the monasteries of Subiaco,
Montecassino, Norcia, and Camaldoli, which is
celebrating its 1000th anniversary this year. Nearly half of the 250 abbots and
conventual priors will reside in the Collegio S.
, with the others, including CIB representatives and
ecumenical guests, housed in area religious houses and hotels.

An important
item on the agenda is the election of the abbot primate of the Benedictine
Confederation. According to the Lex Propria of the Benedictine
, the abbot primate is elected for an eight-year term,
and renewable thereafter every four years. There is no term limit to the office
of abbot primate. The current abbot primate, Dr. Notker Wolf OSB, a monk of St.
Ottilien Archabbey in Bavaria, is completing 12 years of service, having been
re-elected in 2008. 

Your prayers for the success of the Congress are greatly

Mark Cooper elected 5th abbot of Saint Anselm’s Abbey, Manchester, NH

Fr Mark Cooper.jpgThe monks of Saint Anselm’s Abbey (Manchester, New Hampshire) have elected Father Mark Cooper as their 5th abbot. 25 of the 28 monks were eligible to vote.

Abbot Mark Cooper succeeds Abbot Matthew Leavy who as served the Abbey, the College and the Church since 1986. Abbot Mark just retired after serving for 33 years as the VP for Finance of the College. He’s an alum of 1971. More on Abbot Mark can be read here.
Abbot Mark is graduated Saint Anselm’s College in 1971 with a BA in Political Science, and later studied at the University of Notre Dame, Saint John’s Seminary, Brighton, MA, Saint Albert’s House of Studies (operated by the Dominicans). He was ordained in 1976. In the course of time he taught at Woodside Priory and helped out pastorally as a priest.
As spiritual father of the monastic community the Abbot is also the Chancellor of the College; he is also the superior of Woodside Priory just outside of San Francisco, CA.
Upon election this morning the new abbot has taken the Oath of Fidelity and received the obedience of the monks and made the Te Deum for this gift of service. The election was presided over and confirmed by the Abbot President of the American Cassinese Congregation, The Right Reverend Hugh Anderson.

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Father Anselm Atkinson, OSB New Abbot of Pluscarden

Anselm Atkinson.jpgThe Rt. Rev. Anselm Atkinson, OSB until now the
Superior of St. Mary’s Monastery, Petersham, MA (for the last 21 years) and Abbot-Visitor for the
English speaking province of the Subiaco Congregation of the Order of St.
Benedict has been elected as the third Abbot of Petersham’s motherhouse and the
monastery of his profession (1976) and priest in 1982, Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland. Pluscarden was refounded in 1948.

Abbot Anselm succeeds Abbot
Hugh Gilbert, OSB who will be ordained and installed on August 15 as the Bishop
of Aberdeen. 

Congratulations to Abbot Anselm!

Ad Multos Annos!

Vincent Bataille elected new abbot president of the Swiss American Congregation of Monks

Vincent de Paul Bataille.jpgAbbot Vincent de Paul Bataille, emeritus abbot of
Marmion Abbey, was elected for six-year term by the capitulars of the 44th General Congregation 
Swiss American Congregationon Monday, August 8, 2011. As the new Abbot President he’ll over see certain parts of the monastic life of little more than a dozen monasteries (see a previous blog post).

Abbot Vincent saw to the
renovation of Marmion Abbey, the building of the abbey church, and attracting
new vocations to the abbey, plus several additions to the academy. He earned the MA (Music) University of Notre Dame,
MEd from DePaul University,
Chicago. He taught Math and Language at Marmion Academy, and held the position
of Dean of Students at the Academy. 

For a period of time he was appointed the Prior
of Priory of San José, Guatemala before being elected the 4th Abbot of Marmion Abbey
and President of Marmion Academy, Aurora, Illinois, in 1991. Until now he’s been the Vocation
Director for Marmion Abbey, and a member of the Abbot President’s Council,
Swiss-American Congregation.

May God grant Abbot Vincent the graces needed for certain and clear leadership.

Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica, pray for us.
Blessed Columba Marmion, pray for us.

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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