Tag Archives: Benedictines

Portsmouth Abbey monks dedicate Lourdes Grotto

Magnificat, anima mea Dominum!

Caedmon Holmes blesses Grotto.jpg

Earlier today my friend Peter and I journeyed to Portsmouth Abbey and School for the blessing of the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto.  An outdoor shrine to dedicated to the Virgin Mary who appeared in Lourdes France in the 19th century. Abbot Caedmon led the blessing and School choir sang the traditional hymns to Our Lady.
Abbot Caedmon drew our attention to the humility of Mary appearing to Saint Bernadette asking her to tell the world of the need for prayer and penance. A message clearly consistent with the Gospel of Christ. It is Mary, the Mother of God, Mother of the Church who calls us to greater fidelity to her Son and Our Savior, Jesus. And so the Gospel and Our Lady of Lourdes, so with us today.
The Grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes on the west side of the Portsmouth Abbey campus is the generous gift of an anonymous former student and benefactor of Portsmouth. The generosity of this man is borne of his desire to make the Virgin Mary of Lourdes known and to inspire among those connected with Portsmouth the enduring commitment of faith, reason and service for one’s salvation and the salvation of the world. A significant example of this witness is that the Abbey School, for the last 34 years, has joined with the Ampleforth Abbey Pilgrimage (England) for a service to trip to assist the sick on pilgrimage seeking a divine healing and cure at the great Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in southern France in July.
The stone for the Grotto was harvested from the Abbey property (as was the stone used for the Abbey Church) and a local landscaping crew did the labor. Benedictine Brother Joseph contributed his expertise to the project.

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Possible Olivetan abbot general?

a budding OSB Oliv.jpgThis young man may be elected the abbot general and the Abbot of the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore of the Olivetan Benedictines at some point. The abbot general is also appointed by the pope as the territorial abbot of this monastery, hence the magenta skull cap.

The Benedictine monks of Mount Olivet in Tuscany function as a congregation more than in a “traditional” Benedictine manner in that there’s a major religious superior who can move monks from one monastery to another, among other things that make the Olivetans.
As you see, the symbol of the abbot general’s office fits the boy well enough. A budding Benedictine!
Saint Benedict and Saint Bernard Tolomei, pray for us.
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Matthew Leavy, abbot of Saint Anselm’s Abbey to retire after 26 years

Abbot Matthew.jpgThis is old news by now, and yet it bears keeping in mind that one of the world’s longest serving abbot, Benedictine Father Abbot Matthew Leavy, OSB, PhD, will retire as the 4th abbot of Saint Anselm’s Abbey in Manchester New Hampshire after 26 years of service to his monastic community, Saint Anselm’s College, and the Church in the Diocese of Manchester.

The announcement was made on January 31.
Abbot Matthew will serve until June 4 when the community will gather to pray to the Holy Spirit and to cast a vote for a new Father Abbot will be elected by the capitulars of the monastic community. The Abbot President Father Hugh Anderson will supervise and confirm the election.
The Abbey’s Prior, Brother Isaac, hosts a blog which he periodically speaks of life in the abbey and he’s now guiding his readers in the uniqueness of electing a new religious superior. Read Brother Isaac here.
The monks of Saint Anslem’s Abbey have a reputation of faithfulness to the Holy Rule and service of the Church. The Lord prosper the work of their hands.
Saints Benedict, Scholastica and Anselm, pray for the monks of Saint Anselm’s Abbey, and for us.
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Nun hits Hollywood, again: Mother Dolores Hart turns heads

Mother Dolores Wendy Carlson.jpgBenedictine nuns typically don’t go to the Oscars. For that matter, high profile actresses don’t consecrate themselves as Benedictine nuns. Dolores Hart did both. 

Dressed in the traditional Benedictine habit of the Abbey of Regina Laudis of Bethlehem, Connecticut, Mother Dolores Hart was being considered for a short film Oscar for “God Is The Bigger Elvis.” 
The film debuts on April 5 on HBO.
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Hungary changes constitution, status of some religious orders changes in the law

At the new year the Hungarians passed a new constitution with some real changes that will affect the Church and other ecclesial communities, including non-Christian groups. The New York Times ran the article that outlines the changes giving the impression that even the Hungarians are unable to name all the changes. What caught my eye thanks to Brother Richard of OSB.org, when he first posted a note on his FB page that some venerable religious orders like the Benedictines and the Carmelites and a group like the Opus Dei are now downgraded in terms of the law. But why? What does the Hungarian government gain by doing such and what are the long-term implications for the Benedictines and Carmelites? Why weren’t the states of the Dominicans and Jesuits changed? Some of what happened is noted here:

“With the
new year, as the new constitution goes into effect, all petitions to the
[Constitutional] Court lapse and it becomes much harder for anyone to challenge
this law — or any other.

“But it is worth lingering on the newly
re-enacted law on the status of churches because it is one of the places where
we can clearly see the effects of the new constitutional order on the
protection of constitutional rights. What does the law on churches do? It
creates 14 state-recognized religions
, and decertifies the rest. On January 1,
over 300 denominations lose their official status in Hungary — including their
tax exemptions and their abilities to run state-funded schools. While most of
the denominations are tiny, many are not. Among the religions that will no longer
be able to operate with state approval
are all versions of Islam, Buddhism,
Hinduism and Baha’i, as well as many smaller Catholic orders including the
Benedictines, Marists, Carmelites, and Opus Dei
, and a number of major
Protestant denominations including Episcopalians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh
Day Adventists, Mormons, Methodists, and all but one of the evangelical
churches. One each of the orthodox, conservative, and liberal Jewish synagogues
are recognized; but all other Jewish congregations are not” (The
Unconstitutional Constitution

A Benedictine from Hungary writes
that “religious orders are still part of the Catholic Church in my country
and being as such they will maintain their legal status — all other
problematic constitutional points nothwithstanding.” (see OSB.org)

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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