Tag Archives: Portsmouth Abbey

700th anniversary of the Divine Comedy, Dante’s masterpiece

commedia medalTruly one of the world’s great texts is the Divine Comedy by Dante. Next year and in subsequent years, we’ll hear about the honoring of Dante by bestowing annual award for artistic genius dealing with

The Best Digitally-Produced Rendition of Any Aspect of Dante’s Divine Comedy

The first recipient of the Commedia Medal will be announced on 1 December 2014 and it will be award annually until 2021.

The image of the award is posted here. It’s the creation of Dom Gregory Havill, a Benedictine monk of Portsmouth Abbey and a teacher in the Portsmouth Abbey School.

Dante published the Inferno in 1314, the Purgatorio in 1315 and the Paradiso in 1321. Dante died in 1321. What a terrific way to acknowledge cultural icon by having a Benedictine monk create an artistic piece for an award of excellence and beauty! Benedictines have always had their fingers (and their hearts and minds) in matters of faith, reason,and art to communicate the Divine Mystery.

Interested in the competition, visit the website here. Dr Sebastian Mahfood is organizing the competition.

Sister Marie-Zita –50 years of Benedictine monastic witness

The 6th century rule of life by Saint Benedict states that a monk (nun) vow stability, obedience and conversatio morum (fidelity to a monastic manner of life). A Benedictines’s “fidelity to a monastic manner of life” frequently spoken of as “conversion” instead of “fidelity,” so as to echo a centuries-long tradition of concept of conversio rather than conversatio. (Scholars have various opinions about the right word conveying what Benedict really meant and what was in the water at the time; conversatio means in our context monastic manner of life.)

Theologically for those who follow the Benedictine charism, conversatio means a person’s ongoing conversion to the Triune God lived in the monastic life which deepens virtue and extroverts grace. Conversatio, conversio, brings to mind that person seeks a return, a moral conversion, an upright moral life, an intense relationship with the Lord. The true conversatio is a recognizable sign of Christian maturity.

A sign of one’s maturity as a Christian is a life of generativity. That is, the adult Christian is going to be a witness to others of that particular union he or she has with the Trinity in a way that fruit is produced. The mature person does not live a life of reductions, but is filled with wonder and awe, and is willing to change even when it is difficult. Moreover, the mature Christian knows that he or she is not defined by the sins of youth, or the sins of the present. Grace in an a mature Christian, therefore, always is extroverted in some way.

The adult Christian comes his or her maturation in fidelity to the gospel, the sacraments, Church teaching and tradition, and mutual obedience by following (listening). The trouble is, most of us are asleep. We are converted when we can say with certitude that we are awake and that in Christ Jesus lives in me.

With outstretched hands the monk or nun sings the Suscipe (Psalm 118:116): Suscipe me, Domine, secundum eloquium tuum et vivam, et non confundas me ab expectatione mea. (Receive (or, sustain) me, O Lord, according to thy word and I shall live, let me not be disappointed in my hope.)

Today, a friend, Benedictine Sister Marie-Zita of the Heart of Jesus celebrated the 50th anniversary of professing her Benedictine vows as a nun of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified. Her stability is lived at the Monastery of the Glorious Cross, Branford, CT. She gave thanks, we all gave thanks to God for a life of seeking the face of God in community. With hands held up in prayer Sister Zita stated her prayer to be sustained according to the Word.

Mass was offered by Dominican Father Jacob Restrick and the homily preached by Father Damien Schill with concelebrating priests Abbot Caedmon Holmes, OSB, of Portsmouth Abbey, Father David Borino, Father Robert Usenza and Father Gerry Masters. Deacon Sal assisted. About a 100 family and friends were in attendance.

I am grateful for the friendship I share with the nuns of this School of the Lord’s Service; I am elated that God has given Sister Zita the grace to mature in the monastic way of life.

Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus.

Human Genomics help us to understand Adam and Eve, Father Nicanor Austriaco says

Nicanor Austriaco.jpeg

The Rhode Island Benedictine Portsmouth Abbey School welcomed Dominican Father Nicanor Austriaco to
deliver the Dom Luke Childs Lecture on October 15,
2012. He is an Associate Professor of Biology at Providence College. Father’s address was titled, “What Can Human Genomics Tell Us About Adam and Eve?

 Watch the presentation, it is very good and informative.

The Dom Luke Childs Lecture honors the popular Benedictine monk who taught at Portsmouth and died unexpectedly in 1976. The Lecture topics cover a wide range of intellectual and culture pursuits.

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Portsmouth monks talk about their Lourdes Grotto

Portsmouth CofA.jpegThe month of October is devoted to the theme of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The Rosary is the official prayer for the Year of Faith. As Pope Benedict recently said, “I would like to suggest to everyone to renew the prayer of the Rosary in the upcoming Year of Faith. With the Rosary, we allow ourselves to be guided by Mary, model of faith, in meditating on the mysteries of Christ.”

On May 4, 2012, Abbot Caedmon, the religious superior and chancellor of Portsmouth Abbey and Portsmouth Abbey School dedicated the new shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. I wrote a post on it, “Portsmouth Abbey Monks Dedicate Lourdes Grotto.”
The Portsmouth Abbey folks have finally produced a beautiful background video on the meaning of the Grotto for the monastic community, the school and the greater Catholic community. “The Grotto at Portsmouth Abbey” may be watched here. The video is the fruit of Jamie Macguire with the assistance of several monks. It’s well done, and informative.
This is the first of many good things to come from Portsmouth Abbey and School in light of the Year of Faith.
May Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother of the Rosary, pray for Portsmouth Abbey and for us.

Modern Science, Ancient Faith: Portsmouth Institute set

pi-2011-logo.jpgThe Portsmouth Institute is set to begin its third year of work from June 22-24, 2012, with the theme of “Modern Science, Ancient Faith.” The Institute is located at Portsmouth Abbey and School (Portsmouth, RI).

The speakers include Rt. Rev. Dom James Wiseman (St. Anselm’s Abbey, Washington, DC), R. Dom Paschal Scotti (Portsmouth Abbey), William Dembski, John Haught, Kenneth Miller, B. Joseph Semmes, Michael Ruse, Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, OP.
Prayer, fraternity and time to think are hallmarks of the Portsmouth Institute. Situated at the beautiful Portsmouth Abbey on the Narrangansett Bay, who could not love expanding one’s thinking on faith and science.
Visit the website noted above for more information of the conference, the Abbey and School.
Previous Institutes:
2009 The Catholic William F. Buckley, Jr.
2010 Newman & the Intellectual Tradition
2011 The Catholic Shakespeare?
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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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