Tag Archives: Benedictine

Dorothy Day and the Benedictines

I found the following file on my computer this morning by accident –I wasn’t looking for it, but I was happy to find it. I’ve been harping on the Benedictine influence upon Dorothy Day and the importance the Rule of Benedict and the influence various monks had Day. For example, we have a good example of Dom Virgil Michel working with Dorothy Day at the Catholic Worker. Another is Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila Latourrette. Day’s sainthood cause is being studied at the moment and these things matter, in my opinion.

Virgil Michel, O.S.B., and the Benedictine Influence on the CW Movement:

Virgil Michel, Fellow Worker in Christ
by Dorothy Day

To us at the Catholic Worker, Father Virgil was a dear friend and adviser, bringing to us his tremendous strength and knowledge. He first came to visit us at our beginnings on East Fifteenth Street. He was like Peter Maurin in the friendly simple way he would come in and sit down, starting right in on the thought that was uppermost in his mind, telling us of the work he was engaged in at that particular moment and what he was planning for the future. He was at home with everyone, anywhere. He could sit down at a table in a tenement house kitchen, or under an apple tree at the farm, and talk of St. Thomas and today with whoever was at hand. He had such faith in people, faith in their intelligence and spiritual capacities, that he always gave the very best he had generously and openheartedly.

He was interested in everything we were trying to do, and made us feel, at all the Catholic Worker groups, that we were working with him. When he came in it was as though we had seen him just a few weeks before. He was at home at once, he remembered everybody, he listened to everybody.

Orate Frates, January, 1939

Dom Xavier Perrin as Abbot of Quarr

Abbot Xavier

Great news from Quarr Abbey! A new abbot has been elected. The Abbey is part of the Solesmes Congregation.

Dom Xavier Perrin has been elected as Abbot of Quarr Abbey, the Benedictine Abbey on the Isle of Wight. The election took place on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

Fr Xavier Perrin, born in Tours in 1958, first studied French Literature in Rennes, and then History of Art at the Sorbonne. In 1980, he entered the Abbey of Sainte Anne de Kergonan, a monastery founded by Solesmes in South Brittany in 1897. He studied theology first at Solesmes, then at Fribourg in Switzerland, and finally in Munich. After his ordination in 1989, he took charge of the guesthouse, while teaching dogmatic theology and playing the organ. He was novice master from 1993 to 2010, choir master from 1996 to 2013, and prior from 2002 to 2013. He has written books and articles about the history of the Solesmes Congregation, liturgy, and spirituality. He has been involved in the promotion of Gregorian Chant through several week-ends, concerts and CDs. He was appointed Prior Administrator of Quarr Abbey (Isle of Wight) in April 2013.

He said, “I entrust my abbatial ministry to Our Lady of Quarr. I hope and pray that Quarr can continue to give its unique contribution to the Catholic Church in Britain, and be a beacon of light for the many visitors to the Isle of Wight.”

The picture: Abbot Xavier (on the right) standing next to Abbot Philippe Dupont, Abbot President of the Solesmes Congregation.

Camaldolese nuns in Korea

Korean Cardinal and CamaldoleseThe Benedictines of the Camaldolese Congregation are establishing a monastery of nuns in Korea. In fact, April 27, 2016, the Prior General of the Camaldolese Congregation, Father Alessandro Barban met with  Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, and Bishop Peter Chung Soon-taek, the episcopal vicar for religious orders in the archdiocese, to express his gratitude for his support on the foundation of the first Camaldolese community in Korea. Father Barban also mentioned that he has great expectations to the new Camaldolese community in Korea, hoping to bring “both direct and indirect effect to the Korean people with the Camaldolese spirituality.”

This first Camaldolese monastery (nuns) in Korea is being constructed in Namyangju City and will be finished, it is hoped, 2019.

The Camaldolese Congregation follows the 6th century Rule of Saint Benedict and the manner life establish by Saint Romuald at the beginning of the 11th century. The Camaldolese is an order of hermits and cenobites with many laity living in relation to the the Camaldolese as Oblates.

What is striking is that in a period of Church history that know Western monastic life is clearly in diminishment (and death), and the Camaldolese are not exception to the trends, this an exceptional grace given by God to found monastic life according to the charisms of Saint Benedict and Saint Romuald anew.

Through the intercession Mary, the Mother of Monks and Nuns, and of all Benedictine saints, may this monastery thrive!

Image from the Archdiocese of Seoul

Patrick Barry OSB RIP

Abbot PatrickYesterday morning at Ampleforth Abbey, Abbot Patrick Barry made his transitus to the Lord of Life. Liturgically, it was a perfect day: it was the Transfiguration of the Lord and the feast of Saint Peter Damian. Two great poles of a monk in love with Christ. Abbot Patrick was 99, 81 years a monk, and 71 years a priest.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.

Father Patrick Barry served as Abbot of Ampleforth from 1984 to 1997. He was re-elected by the monastic community to be abbot in 1992 for a period of eight years. I first met in 1997 when he went to St Louis to assist the Benedictine Abbey there in the teaching of our monks in formation.

Patrick Barry OSBThe holy Abbot once wrote of the Holy Rule of Benedict: “The Rule Saint Benedict wrote is not well understood unless its end and purpose are seen to rest in Christ himself, whose gift is eternal life and whose love must be counted as more important than anything else in the life of a monk.” I am convinced that Abbot Patrick’s life coalesced around this central fact of the Faith: the journey to meet the Trinity in Eternal Life. Everything seemed to orbit Saint Benedict’s call to us in our longing, our hungering, for eternal life. Abbot Patrick lived this experience with great spiritual intensity.

Two special gifts I cherish: knowing and learning from Abbot Patrick the years I lived in St Louis and following when I would visit St Louis Abbey. The second gift, is a copy of his translation of the Rule of St Benedict.

May we meet again in the love of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

UPDATE: The Telegraph (of the UK) published this obit of Abbot Patrick Barry, OSB.

Our Lady of Monte Vergine

OL of Monte VergineOn these U.S. shores a devotion to the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of Monte Vergine is unknown by most people. There are, however, those of us who know Italy and the presence of the Benedictine abbey on Monte Vergine that inspires us to use this title to Mary. From the image herewith it is difficult to grasp that the icon is quite large, with a height of over 12 feet and width of over 6 feet; it shows the Mary seated on a throne with the Infant Jesus seated on her lap. Historians call icon of the Mother and Child, “of Constantinople” (because it is said to have been brought to Italy by King Baldwin of Jerusalem) given to the Benedictine monks in 1310. King Baldwin. The image is dark, so the icon is often referred to as one of the “Black Madonnas”; a title given to several images of the Holy Virgin Mother.

The famous Benedictine sanctuary located in the village of Montevergine (of Campanian region of Italy); the “Monte Vergine” comes from the religious history going back to the pre-Christian era when there was a temple of Cybele existed. A chapel of the Blessed Virgin was built in the seventh century. In 1119, Saint William of Vercelli founded the monastery that still exists. Saint William was a hermit who came back to his native Italy after making a pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).

Saint William had the reputation for sanctity inspiring many to live in cells on the mountain. Monasticism still is present there. The first true church was constructed in 1126, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.

Today, it is reported that over one-and-one-half million pilgrims yearly pay homage to Our Lady of Montevergine. The most popular day is Pentecost. There have been numerous miracles attributed to this portrait of the Mother of God and her Divine Son.

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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