Tag Archives: Benedictine

Being a missionary as a Benedictine Sister

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Most people conceive of living the Benedictine charism –the Benedictine way of life given to us first by Saint Benedict in his Rule, and many centuries of living that Rule– as only being suited for life in monasteries.  In history Benedictine monks and nuns have indeed been missionaries. Think of Augustine of Canterbury, Anselm, Boniface, Frowin, Conrad, Martin Marty and many more. Men and women following the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the needs of the Church have been called from the monastery to make new foundations, often they have moved from one culture to another sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. You might say that they raised the bar in the way the Christian life is lived.

In the USA Benedictine life has great diversity: monks, nuns, sisters, and lay oblates; Benedictines with schools, retreat houses and farms; others with focussed contemplatives and others ready to do what is asked. We also have Cistercians of two observances, the Camaldolese and a growing population of laity who live the Rule in secularity. What is true, Benedictines evangelize culture and build society by their presence. Some monasteries having the members doing everything imaginable for one reason: that in all things God would be gloried. How else would you live your life if you truly believed in the Incarnation?

There is a group of Benedictine sisters whose vocation is to be missionary. Either they are sent as apostles to another place, or they are missionary in the place where they are. Since July 31, 1923, The Norfolk Priory of Missionary Benedictine Sisters have ministered here in the USA. The sisters bring the gift of St Benedict’s wisdom to the health care and education ministries, but there are engaged in Hispanic ministry, domestic service, ecumenism, environmental concerns, justice and peace issues, parish ministry, and religious education. Share the idea of following to women who want to serve the Lord in community, as a missionary, and in prayer and service of the neighbor.

Here is a video on the Norfolk Benedictine Sisters.

The Missionary Benedictine Sisters belong to  serving Christ and the Church in various parts of the world.

Monks meet in 51st Chapter

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On Sunday the American Cassinese Congregation Benedictines will meet for its 51st General Chapter at St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA. The capitulars, the sitting abbots and priors plus one delegate meets every three years to work on matters common to the monasteries of the Congregation. Abbot Hugh Anderson serves the body as it President.

The Congregation has 768 (2012 numbers) in 20 autonomous monasteries with 8 dependent priories in the USA, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia and Mexico. But with these monasteries there remains to be seen how many can survive as some are in a fragile situation given demographics and economics.

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Sr Teresita, 105 and 86 years in the monastery, dies

teresita.jpgA nun dies at 105 years old. Likely to be the oldest. She was the nun of 10 popes.

At 19 years old Sister Teresita made the decision to be a Cistercian nun in the Monastery of Buenafuente. That was 1927. She once said that “even if I had married a prince, I would not be happier than I am now,” to the Correo.
The news in Spanish.
We can be grateful for Sister’s perseverance in the monastic way of life. Moreover, her joy seems to have been overflowing.
May Our Lady, Mother of the Cistercians with Saints Benedict and Bernard lead Sister Teresita to the Lord.

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.

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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