Tag Archives: Benedictine

11th Anniversary of a tragedy at Conception Abbey

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Eleven years ago today, a man with no identifiable motive killed two monks, wounded two others and then committed suicide. Robert Lloyd Jeffress, 71, changed Benedictine life at Conception Abbey forever.

A few years ago a monk from Conception told me the unforeseen effect of this event has brought the community together in a deeper way.


“When brutal deeds are enacted, it calls for heroic and radical forgiveness. Such acts of violence as happened here on Monday, could only have come from someone in desperate need of help. Hatred, anger, and an unwillingness to forgive only keep us crippled and bound by the evils that surround us. If we endure evil and do not allow it to conquer us, we will share in the victory of Jesus Christ, in the hidden life of the resurrection of Jesus.”


(Taken from Abbot Gregory homily at the funeral Mass for Father Philip and Brother Damian)

May God me be merciful to Father Philip and Brother Damian, but also to their monastic community and to Mr Jeffress.
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Dorothy Day and St Procopius Abbey meet again

Dorothy Day 2.jpgI don’t hide the fact that I believe Dorothy Day is a very reasonable and attractive candidate for the Church to canonize. Following John Paul’s insistence, we need more contemporary saints from among the laity. Several times in the past years I have posted articles on Dorothy Day (+1980) and I am happy to do so again today. My enthusiasm has less to do with Day’s social activism –even though at one time the Catholic Worker Houses were more Catholic and Benedictine-like– as it does with her accepting the truth of Jesus Christ as Messiah, her eventual conversion to Catholicism and her being a Benedictine Oblate.

Oblation as a lay woman she was first connected with the Benedictine monks of Portsmouth Abbey before she moved her Oblation to St Procopius Abbey (outside Chicago). However, there is a difference of opinion on where Day’s Oblation was first offered, Portsmouth or Procopius. The historians are doing some fact checking.
Personally, I have been anxious for the Benedictines and the officials of Day’s sainthood cause in the Archdiocese of New York to talk about the relevance of Day’s Benedictine connection and to propose it for the laity’s consideration to follow. Hopes have been fulfilled with St Procopius Abbey Abbot Austin Murphy’s posting of the Oblate Dorothy Day on their web site.
More on the Dorothy Day-St Procopius connection and the prayer for her canonization is noted here.

New York-native Benedictine monk illuminates the Word

Pope Paul VI told us we need more witnesses to the faith. I’ve quoted the pope several times on this just point. True, the personal witness of a man and woman to the inner and outer works of the Holy Spirit is what concretely moves the heart. Truth is encountered in the witness. Father Tom Rosica, CSB, of Salt and Light TV interviews known and less known witnesses of the faith that for me, really opens new vistas.

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That I am interested in sharing the beauty of the Benedictine charism on Communio as the baptismal vocation is lived through monks, nuns, sisters and the laity. Father Rosica interviews Benedictine priest and monk Father Michael Patella of Saint John’s Abbey (Collegeville. MN). It is linked at the end of this post.
Saint John’s is a very large large abbey. At one time it was the largest in the world, now the monks numbers about 150. The monastic community administers a university, a high school, a press, an ecumenical center, a critically acclaimed international library of digital manuscripts, and several parishes. The monks of this abbey also serve the Church in a variety of places in the USA and other countries. No one can doubt the creative genius as a gift the Spirit with the men called to live a monastic vocation at Saint John’s Abbey.
Father Michael’s interview happened in August 2012 and was released in April 2013.

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Monastero de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

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One of the weekly gifts for me is to read the reflections of Abbot Philip of the Abbey of Christ in the Desert (Abiquiu, NM). Abbot Philip is a real good man with a practical spiritual insight and tons of experience. He’s been a religious superior for a long time. This week’s reflection in part dealt with the abbot’s fraternal visit to the Monastero de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Monastery of Our Lady of Solitude) located outside of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México.


The Benedictines of Our Lady of Solitude started very modestly in 1974 by Father Aelred Wall. Though a long time since the founding, Our Lady of Solitude now has ten monks who are dependent on the assistance of Christ in the Desert. 

The Mexican monasteries seem to be doing well. And they deserve our fraternal and material support. 


Though a little dated, this video of the monastery of Soledad reflects certain beauty.

Congrats to the newly ordained

new bport priests.jpgIn recent days several dioceses and religious orders have ordained men to the priesthood.

The priest is to “understand … imitate … and conform” his life to the Cross of Jesus. The bishop exhorts the man to be ordained to see that he believes what he reads, that he teaches what he believes and practices what he teaches.

Here is a random sample:
The Archabbey of Saint Vincent: 1
The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: 4
The Order of Preachers, New York: 6
The Idente Missionaries of Christ: 1
The Archdiocese of Boston: 5
The Archdiocese of Hartford: 7
The Archdiocese of New York: 6
The Archdiocese of Newark: 5
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia: 3
The Archdiocese of Los Angelus: 2
The Eparchy of Newton: 1
The Eparchy of Saint Maron, Brooklyn: 2
The Diocese of Bridgeport: 7
The Diocese of Paterson: 9
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray 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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