Tag Archives: Benedictines

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):

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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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Pics of the St Meinrad Archabbey

Ablen's pic of Meinrad buildings.jpgHere are some wonderful photos of the Archabbey of Saint Meinrad (in southern Indiana) by Mark S. Abeln, a photo journalist and blogger of 2010. The images are posted on Mr. Ablen’s blog, Rome of the West. I hope he has time to go back to and record some of the monk’s life, particularly the sacred Liturgy. 

As a Benedictine Oblate of the Venerable Archabbey of Saint Meinrad, and a friend of several monks there I am very enthused. The Abbey is a spiritual home with great men of good spiritual reputation and considerable talent. Watch for the good work of Father Denis Robinson, OSB, president and rector of the Seminary and School of Theology. 
The sites of interest:

Religious life 2012: Profession of vows, entrances and ordinations

Heilengkreutz monks.jpgThe promise of the hundredfold of the Lord is evident in the lives we lead; how we live our Baptism ought to be evident and with those who have responded to the Lord’s call to follow Him more closely in the Christian life in which we live more intensely by through the consecrated life.

As Pope Benedict said, 
It is no less challenging to follow Christ today, It means learning to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, growing close to him, listening to his word and encountering him in the sacraments; it means learning to conform our will to his. This requires a genuine school of formation for all those who would prepare themselves for the ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life under the guidance of the competent ecclesial authorities. The Lord does not fail to call people at every stage of life to share in his mission and to serve the church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life (48th World Day of Vocations, 2011).

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The key words for us ought to be “to follow,” “to keep our gaze,” “listening,” “conforming,” and “encountering.” The crux is, to whom do we belong? Of course, I would hope that we could easily say that we belong to Christ and to His Church. But we know that while we may honestly believe this fact, it is not so every day. We say one thing but we don’t always follow and keep our gaze on the Lord. May this be our prayer and our work today!
This is the third year that I have surveyed, in representative manner, some of the US monastic communities and religious orders who have had members profess simple and/or solemn vows, new members who received the habit or have receive ordination to the Order of Deacon or Priest. While the numbers may be sobering, the point is not about numbers as much as to recognize the many testimonies of grace, the rich living of the offer God has made to our sisters and brothers to love and serve Him in religious life. Corrections welcome.

Monastic life
  • St Vincent’s Archabbey: 4 profess simple vows; 4 profess solemn vows; 2 ordained deacons, 2 ordained priests
  • St John’s Abbey: 2 monks make a profession of solemn vows; 3 professed simple vows
  • St Benedict’s Abbey (Atchinson, KS): 1 monk solemn vows, 3 received as postulants, 1 postulant in Brazil
  • Belmont Abbey (Charlotte, NC): 1 novice entered; 2 monks profess solemn vows
  • St Martin’s Abbey: 1 entered as a novice

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Notker Wolf re-elected Abbot Primate for world-wide Benedictines

Ab Notker Wolf.jpgAbbot Notker Wolf, 72,  was elected for the third time by the world’s abbots and conventual priors who are at the quadrennial meeting currently in session at Sant’Anselmo, Rome.

Abbot Dr. Notker was the Archabbot of St Ottilien when he was elected the Abbot Primate in 2000. Abbot Notker professed vows in 1962, ordained in 1968, elected abbot in 1977, and elected the primate in 2000, 2008, and now in 2012. Abbot Notker will serve in the Office of the Primate for 4 years.
The election for the Primate’s Office happened today 9am Rome time following the singing of the Office of Terce. Typically the election for Primate is chaired by the Archabbot of Montecassino, but being sick, instead of Abbot Pietro, the Abbot of Subiaco, Mauro Meaci chaired the election. Each monastic superior was called forth to drop his vote. Dom Mauro announced the tally, and called on Abbot Notker seeking to know if he accepted election. He did accept. According to law, the re-elected Abbot Primate made a profession of faith and the oath of fidelity with his hand on the Bible. All assembled then sang the Te Deum followed by a solemn blessing imparted by the Abbot Notker. Noon Mass was celebrated at the nearby Santa Sabina Church and the normal work of the Congress continued.

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Nuns… pray for vocations

Sr Lauren Funk and Sr Mary Dominic Linden Monastery.tifI was reminded earlier today of a need to pray for vocations to the contemplative life. A former colleague of mine recently entered Dominican life as a cloistered nun at Saint Dominic’s Monastery in Linden, VA. It is a traditional monastery of nuns, a very young of women who make a sacrifice to pray for us and the needs of the world. The postulant, Sister Lauren (left) is seen with a veteran nun, Sister Mary Dominic.

Pray for vocations.
As an aside, the Huffington Post had this special article with pictures of those who “thought” they had a vocation. One actually did pursue a vocation as a Benedictine nun at Regina Laudis Abbey (Bethlehem, CT), Mother Dolores Hart.

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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