Tag Archives: Benedictines

Profession of vows, celebration of 50 years of monastic vows

Trust in the Lord and do good, and you will dwell in the land and be secure.
Find your delight in the Lord, and he will grant your heart’s desire.
(Ps 37; Introit for Mass for Religious)

These days there are celebrations of profession of vows and recognition of 50 years of monastic profession. The vocation to the monastic life is the search for God (cf. Rule of St Benedict) by the serious living of the gospel and one’s baptism. It is a glorious vocation, one that entering the narrow gate is not easy but eloquent for its witness.

Three friends are living their vocation with fresh eyes. Each called by the Lord to follow and to be see-ers of the Kingdom (cf. Ratzinger) in this manner is sacrificial oriented to life eternal (cf. Spe Salvi, 12).

Br Pietro Berretta OSB.jpg

Benedictine Brother Pietro, a monk of the Monastery of Saint Peter and Paul (outside Milan, Italy) professed his first vows (temporary profession), Father Hilary of the Abbey of Saint Mary (Morristown, NJ) celebrated his 50th annviersary, and Benedictine Sister Marie Rita celebrated her 50th anniversary of profession of monastic vows. There are several others I could mention but let me satisfy this desire to recognize the sign of profession for service of the Kingdom and one’s salvation.

Brother Pietro studied medicine and follows the lay ecclesial movement of Communion and Liberation. His monastery is a  diocesan rite monastery following the Rule of SaInt Benedict and the teachings of the Servant of God Father Luigi Giussani. Pietro gave up a promising career in medicine to follow and seek the face of Christ more intimately in an Italian monastery. I can’t help but think of Pietro’s vocation as a witness poignant today in postmodern Italy where monasteries are virtually empty. His monastery receives postulants regularly and I am grateful for his YES.

Father Hilary is a monk and a priest of Morristown, NJ’s Abbey of Saint Mary where he teaches in the Delbarton School and he works in the community as novice and formation director. In the American Cassinese Congregation of monks the 50 year julibilarian receives from the abbot the baculus (a craved stick; this one is made in Ireland) with the liturgical phrase exhorting the monk, “Use the baculus not so much as a support for bodily strength, but rather to obtain spiritual fortitude from our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has called us all to himself in the gospel, saying, Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you, for my yoke is easy, my burden light.” Hilary’s quiet demeanor is a stable form of living the manner set out by the Lord and Benedict.

Sr Rita and Fr Peter JohnSister Rita is the Prioress of the Monastery of the Glorious Cross, Branford, CT. Her’s is a vocation to lead a group of women who daily surrender to the Lord their health and mobility uniting themselves more and more eucharistically.

At Sister’s Jubilee Mass more than 75 friends attended with spiritual assistance of Father Peter John Cameron, OP celebrating the Mass and preaching, with Abbot Caedmon Holmes, OSB (of Portsmouth Abbey), Father Prior Vincent DeLucia, OP (St Mary’s Priory, New Haven), Father Jacob Restrick, OP (Hawthorne, NY) Father David Borino (Archdiocese of Hartford), Father Robert Usenza (Diocese of Bridgeport and Father Paul Halovich and Deacon Fusco (also of Hartford).

Sister Rita’s sister Canossian Daughter of Charity Sister Margaret flew in from China where she is a missionary to be present. The Canossian sisters have the great Saint Josephine Bakhita as one of them.

As you may know, monks and nuns profess the monastic vows of conversion of manners, stability and obedience according to the Rule of Saint Benedict. Benedictines live a life with a quality being subtle.

With the Church we pray,

O God, who inspire and bring to fulfillment every good intention, direct your servants into the way of eternal salvation, and as they have left all things to devote themselves entirely to you, grant that, following Christ and renouncing the things of this world, they may faithfully serve you in their neighbor in a spirit of poverty and humility of heart.

I’ve blogged about Monastery of Saint Peter and Paul (Monastero Ss. Pietro e Paolo), Cascinazza (Milan), before here.

Remembering Cyril

Cyril Crawford OSB.jpgMy friend Father Cyril Crawford died unexpectedly a short time ago, on 15 May 2012. He died in his sleep in Leuven (Louvain), Belgium, at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, where he was working on a doctorate in Philosophy so that he could teach at his monastery’s college.

Dom Cyril, 46, was a monk and a priest of the Abbey of Saint Joseph of Covington, LA. 
A photo tribute to Cyril can be seen here.
Over at The Substance of Things Hoped For, Benedictine Father Denis Robinson (Rector of Saint Meinrad Seminary) wrote a remembrance of Dom Cyril. Father Denis’ words are very true and capture Cyril well. I met Cyril at Saint Meinrad’s, in the library, and found him to be a friend.
My heart is saddened, deeply so. Cyril as a good monk, priest with an honest search for God and keen sense of humor and intellect.
More info including Abbot Justin Brown’s homily at the Mass of Christian Burial of Cyril can be found here.
Saint Benedict and Saint Cyril of Alexandria, pray for Father Cyril, and for us.

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.

Read more ...

Prime Minister Cameron’s former girlfriend became a Benedictine nun

Laura Adshead.jpgOne of the US’s monasteries of Benedictine nuns is getting a lot media attention lately. Regina Laudis Abbey (Bethlehem, CT) is now recognized by the European Catholic press for a story written by Mauro Pianta for the Vatican Insider, “U.S.: Cameron’s former lover becomes cloistered nun.” Mr. Pianta tells of the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron’s former very beautiful girlfriend who found her vocation in the American abbey after a conversion in her life. Sister John Mary known in history as Laura Adshead left the world to follow Christ. Let’s note, however, Sister John Mary has been at the Abbey for four years, now. So this story is not exactly new, but it is good to know that smart women still follow the Lord’s call.

The original story online at The Daily Mail reveals the story better.
Recently, Regina Laudis has been in the press due to Mother Dolores Hart’s new documentary “God is the Bigger Elvis.” Mother Dolores will receive the 2012 Christopher Life Achievement Award on May 24th for a film that works to “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.”

St Scholastica Priory Petersham, MA announce a vocation weekend

St Schoalstica vocation ad.jpg

In my opinion, there are few Benedictine monasteries of women in the USA who are serious about the monastic life, and St Scholastica Priory is one. Women, give this Priory a good look.

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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