Tag Archives: St Meinrad Archabbey and Seminary

Cyprian Davis, OSB, dead at 84

Cyprian Davis OSBThe monastic community of Saint Meinrad announced the death of their confrere, Father Cyprian Davis yesterday. Those of us who are Oblates of Saint Meinrad will recall with great admiration the life and work of this monk and priest of Jesus Christ. Prayers for Dom Cyprian and those who survive him. The official obituary reads:

Fr. Cyprian Davis, OSB, monk and priest of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN, died on May 18, 2015, at Memorial Hospital in Jasper. He was 84 and a jubilarian of both profession and ordination.

Surviving are a cousin and a niece.

Fr. Cyprian was born in Washington, D.C., on September 9, 1930, to Clarence W. and Evelyn (Jackson) Davis, who named him Clarence John.

He studied at Saint Meinrad Seminary from 1949 to 1956. Invested as a novice monk on July 31, 1950, he professed his simple vows August 1, 1951, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 3, 1956.

Fr. Cyprian received a licentiate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America in 1957, and the license and the doctorate in historical sciences from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, in 1963 and 1977, respectively.

He was professor emeritus of Church history at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, where he had begun teaching in 1963.

He also served as an archivist of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation, and of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, of which in 1968 he was a founding member. He also belonged to the American Catholic Historical Association and the Society of American Archivists.

In addition to dozens of articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia and dictionary entries, Fr. Cyprian wrote six books. But it is his 1990 work for which he will be especially remembered. The History of Black Catholics in the United States is a 350-page study of the American Black Catholic experience from the early Spanish explorations to 1970, and it is regarded as the essential study of the American Black Catholic experience.

Among the honors he received for this book were the John Gilmary Shea Award in 1990, and the Brother Joseph Davis Award in 1991. Fr. Cyprian was preparing a revised edition of this work at the time of his death.

In addition, Fr. Cyprian contributed to the second draft of Brothers and Sisters to Us, the 1979 pastoral letter on racism published by the United States Catholic bishops, and he helped write the initial draft of What We Have Seen and Heard, the 1984 pastoral letter on evangelization from the black Catholic bishops.

Saint Meinrad

St MeinradToday, the Benedictine liturgical calendar recalls for us the life and martyrdom of Saint Meinrad (+861) –the Apostle for Hospitality. Meinrad was a Swiss hermit. His life can be read here.

Join me in praying for those whose mission it is to offer hospitality (and who are often wounded in doing so), for the monastic community and oblates of the venerable Archabbey of Saint Meinrad in Indiana.

Luigi Giussani: “God was moved by our nothingness, by our betrayal, by our crude, forgetful and treacherous poverty, by our pettiness. For what reason? “I have loved you with an eternal love, therefore I have made you part of me, having pity on your nothingness.The beat of the heart is pity on your nothingness but the reason why is that you might participate in being.”

Why Christians need Antioch

These weeks we are hearing the narrative of the very early followers of The Way, that is, those who adhere to the Good News taught by Jesus, the crucified and risen one.


With the killing of the deacon while kidnapping the two bishops in Syria has me concerned about Christians losing the sensitivity to the importance of Syria as a key Christian center. Most Western Christians forget that our Christians origins in the West  was first formed in the East. Recall from Acts that “it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.” It was in Antioch, not in Rome, not in Moscow, not in Constantinople, that the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth were first generated by the Holy Spirit, they were called by name. It’s not West OR East, but West AND East when comes to Christian faith. Does Antioch have any resonance with you Christians? Do you have any concern for our Christian heritage in Syria? What’s our concern for those being killed for being Christian today? Do we even care? Remember: God has created each of us to do Him some definite service; let us live and work in charity for our neighbor.

A famous Antiochian saint, the bishop Ignatius said this in his letter to the Magnesians, “It is right, therefore, that we not just be called Christians, but that we actually be Christians” (4.1).

Too often do I hear that it was much easier to be a Christian of the early years following the Ascension of the Lord and the Pentecost than today. That’s a crazy idea! First of all, no one who knows history can hold that idea as valid. Those who really and truly followed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Messiah and Word made flesh, were harassed and/or killed. The Acts of the Apostles testifies to the fact that Jesus’ followers were killed. There is little difference with state of Christianity in AD 13 than in 2013. So what happened to the Christians in the 1st century is no different than what the dictatorship in Syria is doing now.

So, we can’t allow Syria to further unravel and act contrary to faith and reason. We need to remember that Antioch is crucial to our Christian identity today because our faith in the Lord is no less real, no less beautiful, no less controversial today than in previous eras. It is in Antioch (Syria) that we our Christian identity (belief, liturgy, church tradition, music, science and culture) was formed. Antioch (that is, Syria in general) and the people who live there  is the place where and the community where we’ve learned the horizons of our Hope in what Jesus promised.

A preacher whom I like very much is the Very Reverend Denis Robinson, OSB, the president-rector of Saint Meinrad School of Theology. Dom Denis is a  Benedictine monk and priest who teaches systematic theology. In 2007, he earned a doctorate in theology specially in the work of Blessed John Henry Newman from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. Recently, he said,

As long as we keep stored up in ourselves the well-rehearsed scripts of indifference, ineptitude, pain, doubt, self-loathing. As long as we think we know the answers, after all that’s what mamma said, until we see that the world is more complicated than the truth we learned at our mother’s knee Brothers and sisters, there is one thing and one thing only that we need. We need Antioch. We need that identity. We need Antioch because we must learn to call ourselves something other than forsaken. We need Antioch. We need to learn to love rather than judge, to give rather than take, to provide for one another rather than constantly seeking the self, the damn self that will be truly damned if we cannot give ourselves over to Christ, all to Christ, fully to Christ, forever to Christ. Where will it be? Where will it be then? If not in Antioch, where will it be? Brothers and sisters we continue to revel in this Easter season knowing I hope full well that the complex completeness of Easter did not come on that solemn night of proclamation. Antioch beckons us in the name of towns and places as yet unseen, unknown, unexplored. And we respond full of hope that the fullness of Easter is still rushing in.

Latin Hymns for Liturgy of the Hours translated in new book

Eternal Glory Hymns.jpg

A book of hymns for the Liturgy of the Hours in Ordinary Time, Eternal Glory of the Skies, provides a translation of hymns from the original Latin by Fr. Harry Hagan, OSB, and Fr. Keith McClellan.

Father Harry, a Benedictine monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey and a teacher of biblical poetry in the Seminary and School of Theology, translated the hymns for Lauds, Daytime Prayer and Compline. Fr. Keith, a priest of the Diocese of Gary, IN, and a former editor and author at Abbey Press in St. Meinrad, translated the hymns.

According to the authors, “These translations build on the poetry of the original text while opening new doors for the Christian imagination. They have been translated in the hope that they will be used in prayer.”

The cost of the softcover book is $6.95. Order online.

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Visit St Meinrad’s – for 2 minutes — virtually

St Meinrad Abbey  Church.jpegYou can get a quick visit to Saint Meinrad’s Archabbey in 2 minutes via YouTube. David Yonke put together a very nice video with good images and music. Brother Francis de Sales Wagner posted the video on his delightful blog, The Path of Life.

 I think a lovely experience in video format.
The Archabbey of Saint Meinrad has a great Oblate program, Seminary and Monastery.

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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