(1) Today we celebrated the patronal
feast day of Fr. Jeremy. +++ In recent days, two guests have
joined us for brief stays in the monastery-Br. Paul Richards, OSB,
from St. John's Abbey in Minnesota, and Passionist artist Br.
Michael Moran, CP, from West Hartford, Connecticut. +++ This
past Sunday, Br. Maurus headed out from Saint Meinrad with a large
contingent for a Benedictine pilgrimage to the Canadian Rockies.
Fr. Sean, as chaplain, and Br. Dominic are accompanying him and the
pilgrims on the trip, which will include rail travel and a tour of
Westminster Abbey near Vancouver, British Columbia. +++ Meanwhile,
tomorrow, Fr. Prior Kurt departs for some well-deserved vacation
time. May God bless all travelers, near and far-after all, we are
all pilgrims on this earth.
(2) Monks from other monasteries who stay
with us while pursuing studies in the Saint Meinrad Seminary and
School of Theology contribute a great deal to our common prayer,
work and community life in the monastery. As is our custom each
year, we honored our visiting confreres in a special way this
evening with colloquium (talking) during our main meal in
the refectory, followed by special desserts and cordials in the
monastery calefactory. This year, we tip our hoods-so to speak-to
Brothers Romain (Monastere de l'Incarnation, Togo), Anthony
(Assumption Abbey), Guerric (Conception Abbey), Victor (Conception
Abbey), Macario (Conception Abbey), Thomas (Abtei Maria Einsiedeln,
Switzerland), Philippe (Monastere de l'Incarnation, Togo), and
Simon (St. Benedict's Abbey). Having completed their studies here,
the first three, as well as Brother Thomas, are returning
permanently to their communities after the school year. +++
Arriving today to begin his candidacy with us is Brad Jensen, who
hails from the great state of Iowa. May God guide his discernment
of the monastic way of life in the way of peace.
(3) Fr. Gavin, our "resident playwright,"
celebrated the 60th anniversary of ordination to the
priesthood today. During the evening meal, he sat at the abbot's
table and we had colloquium in his honor. Ad multos annos,
Fr. Gavin! +++ Today was also the patronal feast day of our
(4) This evening at the Placidium, the
juniors, novice and candidate hosted a feast day party (held over
from April 25) for Br. John Mark, who is the socius and
assistant novice/junior master.
(5) Arriving today to begin his candidacy
with us in the monastery is Matthew Sprauer, who hails from the
great state of Ohio. May God guide his discernment of the monastic
way of life in the way of peace. Please continue to pray for
vocations to Saint Meinrad Archabbey, and for those who are
discerning our monastic way of life here. We now have two
candidates, one novice and three junior monks in temporary
(6) The Fifth Sunday of Easter and Fr.
Subprior Guerric, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at the 9:30
Conventual Mass. +++ The month of May's opening pilgrimage today at
the Monte Cassino Shrine had a distinct Swiss flavor. Einsielden's
Br. Thomas spoke on the topic: "Einsiedeln: Life at a Marian
Shrine." Pilgrimages to the shrine one mile east of the Archabbey
are held each Sunday afternoon in May and again in
(7) The last week of classes for the spring
semester in the Seminary and School of Theology got under way
today, with students and faculty (including a number of monks as
students, teachers or administrators) busy with year-end projects,
exam preparations, and making plans for graduation and beyond.
Final exams will be administered later in the week. May God bless
and guide all current and former students, teachers, and
administrators in their work and studies.
(8) Candidates Bradley and Matthew are
gradually becoming acquainted with life on the Hill. This
afternoon, they were given a tour of Abbey Press by Br. Silas, the
managing editor of the Publications Division. +++ Two monastic
guests are joining us for brief stays in the monastery over the
next few days: Br. John Patrick Arnett, OSB, of Assumption Abbey,
who arrived today, and Fr. Volker Futter, OSB, of Christ the King
Priory in Schuyler, Nebraska, who arrives in another couple days.
Each is a guest of Br. Anthony and Br. Romain, respectively, for
this weekend's graduation festivities.
(9) While birthdays in the monastery
typically come and go without any official celebration (unlike
patronal feast days recalling monks' profession dates), all that
changes when a monk reaches his 90th birthday. Thereafter, each monk 90 or
over gets some special recognition each year. Today, Fr. Simeon
joined that elite group, and in keeping with our custom, he was
seated at the abbot's table for the evening meal, where we honored
him with colloquium, cake, a round of applause and our
fondest wishes. Congratulations and ad multos annos, Fr.
Simeon! +++ After Midday Prayer, Mainerd Sorensen of Cincinnati was
invested as an oblate novice in the Archabbey Church. We ask God's
blessings on all our oblates!
(10) After Midday Prayer, John Manzo of
New Albany, Indiana, was invested as an oblate novice in the
Archabbey Church. +++ This morning, the Nashville
Children's 2011-2012 Touring Choir stopped in St. Meinrad on
their way to Chicago and presented a 40-minute program in the
Archabbey Church. The choir is part of Belmont Academy, a
pre-college music program located at Belmont University in
(11) Graduation weekend kicked off with a
dinner, Mass and commencement ceremony this evening for all the
seminarians receiving degrees. The Mass and commencement were held
in the Archabbey Church, with Most Reverend Paul D. Etienne, bishop
of Cheyenne, as the principal celebrant and commencement speaker.
Another Mass, commencement, and luncheon will be held tomorrow for
the lay degree students. Commencement exercises were split up this
year because of the ongoing construction at St. Bede Hall and the
limited space for graduates and guests in the Archabbey Church. At
the seminary commencement, 36 degrees were conferred. Monks
receiving degrees included Br. Philippe Tchalou (Monastere de
l'Incarnation, Togo), Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies; Br.
Anthony Baker (Assumption Abbey), Master of Divinity; Br. Romain
Botta (Monastere de l'Incarnation, Togo), Master of Divinity; and
Br. Guerric Letter (Conception Abbey), Master of Divinity.
Congratulations to all the graduates! +++ Today we celebrated the
patronal feast day of Br. Hugh.
(12) Thirty-seven degrees - either Master
of Arts in Theology or Master of Theological studies - were
conferred during the commencement for lay students in the Archabbey
Church. In addition, five Certificates in Supervision (either in
homiletics or pastoral care and counseling) were presented. Once
again, Bishop Etienne was the principal Mass celebrant and
commencement speaker. Two monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey were
among the graduates, both receiving Master of Theological Studies
degrees - Br. Francis Wagner and Br. Adam Edwards. Congratulations
to all the graduates! +++ Meanwhile, in New Orleans, Fr. Cyprian
received an honorary doctorate from Xavier University, where he has
taught during the summer. Congratulations, Fr.
(13) The Sixth Sunday of Easter and Fr.
Brendan, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at the 9:30 Conventual
Mass. +++ Br. Angelo and Br. Flavian celebrated the actual
anniversary of their monastic
profession. To honor them, they were invited to sit at the abbot's
table for dinner, during which we had colloquium. Ad multos annos
to both our confreres! +++ Fr. Harry was the featured speaker for
today's pilgrimage at the Monte Cassino Shrine. His topic: "Madonna
and Child: Imagining the Mother of God." +++ Late last evening and
early this morning, we received word that Br. Adam was seriously
injured in a car accident in the Louisville area. He has been
hospitalized in Lexington, and had surgery today. He has a long
road of recovery and rehabilitation ahead of him, so our prayers
and support are with him.
(14) Feast of the Apostle Matthias, and
the patronal feast day of our Fr. Matthias, who is chaplain at Our
Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove. Fr. Matthias is also
rehabilitating from a compression fracture of the spine suffered
last fall. Another expositus, Fr. Micheas, has joined us
for a few days in the monastery. He serves as chaplain at the
Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, N.C. Please keep in prayer
all our monks who are doing good work while stationed away from the
(15) Fr. Thomas was welcomed back to the
monastery today. He has been studying at the University of Louvain
in Belgium, and is home for the summer. He has been missed - he's
been abroad nearly two years. +++ We received the sad news today
that Fr. Cyril Crawford, a Saint Meinrad alumnus, a monk of St.
Joseph Abbey in Louisiana, and a classmate of Fr. Thomas at
Louvain, died quite suddenly. He was only 46. We pray for the
repose of his soul, for his confreres at St. Joseph, and for his
family and friends. +++ Br. Andrew celebrated the feast of his holy
(16) Br. Elijah, who made temporary vows
in January 2011, left the monastery today. He plans to take up
residence in the Louisville area and pursue a career in nursing. We
are grateful for his time with us. May God go with him. +++ Prayers
were offered for Fr. Brendan and Br. Adam on this day honoring
their holy patrons. The latter remains hospitalized with serious
injuries suffered in a weekend traffic accident. Several confreres
have traveled to Lexington to visit briefly with
(17) Word was received from Aurora,
Illinois, today that Abbot Gerald Benkert of Marmion Abbey died
peacefully in the Lord last evening. He was 102 - the senior member
of the Swiss American Congregation in both age and profession.
Abbot Gerald was the founding abbot of Marmion Abbey (which was
established by Saint Meinrad Archabbey), serving in that capacity
from 1947 to 1969. The funeral will be held May 22. May he rest in
(18) Please continue to keep our ill and
infirm confreres in your prayers. In addition to Br. Adam, Fr.
Stephen and Fr. Louis Hacker have been in the hospital this week
(Fr. Louis remains hospitalized in Indianapolis) for heart-related
procedures. Fr. Simeon also underwent an outpatient "upgrade" this
week. +++ Fr. Vincent concluded offering his five-day
retreat, "Manly Strength: Priestly Virtues, Servant Virtues," to
eight priests at our Guest House and Retreat
(19) A week after graduation ceremonies,
the Hill has begun taking on its customary summer stillness in
recent days. After next week's community retreat, a good number of
monks will also be off for summer assignments or vacations. Even
this week, departures have been the norm, as our visiting monks
here studying in our Seminary and School of Theology head back to
their own monasteries for the summer - or for good. Among the
latter, we bid farewell and best wishes to Br. Guerric of
Conception Abbey, Br. Anthony of Assumption Abbey, Br. Romain of
Monastere de l'Incarnation in Togo, and Br. Thomas of Einsiedeln in
Switzerland. Tomorrow, Br. Romain and Br. Philippe head back to
Togo (Br. Philippe will return in the fall after making solemn
vows). +++ Fr. Eugene is offering the retreat, "Reading
the Book of Deuteronomy," to 25 participants this weekend at our
Guest House and Retreat Center.
(20) Solemnity of the Ascension of the
Lord, with Archabbot Justin presiding at our celebration of the
Eucharist. Fr. Thomas delivered the homily. +++ Fr. Cyprian was the
featured speaker for today's pilgrimage at the Monte Cassino
Shrine, with his topic being "Who Is Mary?"
(21) We welcomed the Most Rev.
Christopher Coyne, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of
Indianapolis, as our retreat director this morning. After his first
conference, we enjoyed special coffees and pastries in the
calefactory. The resident monastic community, and a half-dozen or
so of our expositi, will be on retreat through Friday
noon. We'll have morning and afternoon conferences, and are having
a special book read at table during our evening meal.
+++ And I thank Br. Francis for his most competent handling
of "About the House" during my absence. I enjoyed my break. In
keeping with St. Benedict's injunction about monks returning from a
trip (our quote from last month): "Enough said."
(22) Fr. Louis Hacker and Br. Adam
returned for their respective hospitals this afternoon. There is
more work to be done toward further healing for both, of course,
but we're glad they are again in the house with us. +++
Fr. Anthony, one of our expositi home for the community
retreat, presided and preached at our Conventual
(23) Today is the 30th anniversary of the
blessing of our "new" monastery. It is showing its age a bit, and
this year a number of projects have been under way, such as
reviewing plumbing and electrical needs, the condition of
individual cells and rooms, storage space and the like. As anyone
who owns a house knows, there is always something that needs
attention! +++ Fr. Edward is one of our
expositi able to join us for the retreat; he presided and
preached at our Conventual Mass this morning. +++
Halfway through our annual retreat, we enjoyed our customary "Cook
Out & Eat In," thanks to the organization and work of our
refectorians, Fr. Pius and Br. Martin. We enjoyed a social in the
calefactory after Vespers, and then proceeded into the refectory
for freshly grilled salmon and ribeyes.
(24) Fr. Raymond, home for retreat,
presided and preached at our Conventual Mass this morning.
+++ For the next few days, 36 men of St. Joseph Catholic
Church, Corydon, Indiana, are here for a retreat. We welcome all
who come to Saint Meinrad for prayer and peace. +++ Br.
Zachary concluded offering a midweek retreat, "Revisiting the
Rosary," to 17 participants at our Guest House and Retreat
(25) Bishop Coyne gave the last conference
of our retreat at nine o'clock this morning; we concluded the
retreat with Conventual Mass at ten o'clock, during which we, as a
monastic community, renewed our vows. We're grateful to Bishop
Coyne for sharing his time and his insights with
(26) The 85-year-old brother of Fr. Damian
Schmelz, Frank, died this past Monday. This morning Father Jonathan
represented Saint Meinrad at his funeral Mass and burial. May
Frank's soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in
(27) The solemnity of Pentecost saw us
celebrating also the 50th anniversary of monastic profession of Br.
Angelo, Br. Flavian and Fr. Matthias. Father Abbot Justin presided
and preached at our Eucharist, and after the homily Brothers Angelo
and Flavian stood before the community to renew their vows. (Fr.
Matthias was not able to join us, as he is still recovering from
some physical ailments.) Their guests joined us for a festive
dinner in the Newman Dining Room. To our jubilarians:
congratulations, and ad multos annos! +++
Novice Anushka led the fourth and final Monte Cassino prayer
and pilgrimage for May; he spoke on "Mary: A Perfect Response to
(28) A quiet Memorial Day on the hill. We
are grateful to the men and women serving in our Armed Forces, past
and present, and include in our prayers and gratitude those serving
as chaplains. May Christ, the Prince of Peace, reign in our hearts
and in our world.
(29) Among guests to the hill today were 13
members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish from Cincinnati, who are
making a retreat for a few days.
(30) Every community suffers from tragic
news, and we experience that now. This afternoon Terry Wahl, a
co-worker in our Academic Computing and IT Department, took his own
life. Over the years, Terry had been fighting depression and he
seemed to be making progress. Sadly, his suffering seemed to prove
too much for him. We remember him and his family in our prayers.
And we pray for all those suffering in body, mind and spirit,
especially those who feel there is no hope. May the Good Shepherd
bring all of his flock to his resting place of perfect peace and
(31) On this feast of the Visitation, Fr.
Vincent, our Mass Heb, presided and
will conclude with our customary quote from the Rule of St.
Benedict but, before that, we congratulate our seminarians who
have been ordained to the priesthood this month:
May 17 - Br. Guerric Letter, OSB, Conception Abbey, Conception,
May 26 - Crispine Adongo and Aaron Wessman, Glenmary Mission
Society; Mauricio Carrasco, Juan Manjarrez and Alejandro Puello,
Diocese of Little Rock; Stuart Priddy, Archdiocese of
Congratulations to our newly-ordained! And
our prayers continue for their 13 classmates who will be ordained
during the next few weeks.
And now, from St. Benedict's
A monk from a distant region may
arrive for a visit and wish to live in the monastery as a guest. If
he is satisfied with the local customs that he finds there and does
not trouble the monastery with his excessive demands, he should be
allowed to stay as long as he likes-provided he is satisfied with
what he finds! If, however, he points out some shortcoming calmly
and with loving humility, the abbot should consider the matter
carefully. Indeed, the Lord may have sent him for that very
Chapter 61, "How Visiting Monks
Are to be Received"
Translation by Fr. Terence
Kardong, OSB, monk of Assumption Abbey