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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

October, November, and December 2014

Rev. 31 January 2019


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December 2014

Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation

Advent this year saw the coming of a new website for the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation. The address is <>. Br. William Sprauer OSB, assistant in the Vocations Office at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, designed and maintains the site.  Abbot President Vincent Bataille OSB approved the launch.

Digos Monks Elect Conventual Prior

Saturday, 20 December 2014, The Ottilien monks of St. Benedict's Priory, Digos, Philippines, elected for a period of six years Father Patrick Mariano OSB as conventual prior. Prior Patrick is 55 years old. He had until now served as subprior and novice master of the community. He is actively engaged in the retreat ministry. His predecessor, Fr. Edgar Friedmann OSB, served as conventual pior for two six-year terms.

O Antiphons

The first O Antiphon, "O Wisdom," is used at the Magnificat, 17 December (YouTube). Each of the antiphons is a title for the Messiah and refers to Isaiah's prophesies of the coming of the Messiah. Some date the antiphons to the fourth century, but by the eighth century they were known to be used in the liturgy in Rome. The last antiphon, "O Emmanuel," is used December 23.

ABR Archived Online

Father Terrence Kardong OSB, editor, is pleased to announce that through the collaborative efforts and resources of the University of Michigan, Google Books, and the Hathi Trust Digital Library, all back issues in Full Text of The American Benedictine Review from v.1 (1950) through v. 58 (2009) are available online at  <>. The ABR is a unique resource for monastic scholars. The HathiTrust is a partnership of academic and research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. A search on 15 December 2014 for "Benedictine" returned 168,652 items in Full-Text.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

According to tradition, on 9 December 1531, St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, an indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady told him to build a church exactly on the spot where they were standing. He told the local bishop, who asked for some proof. He went back and had the vision again. He told the lady that the bishop wanted proof, and she said "Bring the roses behind you." Turning to look, he found a rose bush growing behind him. He cut the roses, placed them in his poncho and returned to the bishop, saying he had brought proof. When he opened his poncho, instead of roses, there was an image of the young lady in the vision.

Our Lady of Guadalupe claimed justice for the people of Mexico, raising up those who were oppressed. Thus she is a "mantle of justice" for all who are oppressed. St. Pope John Paul II named Our Lady of Guadalupe Patroness of the Americas on 22 January 1999. Pastors may recall to worshipers how the Patroness of the Americas was recognized by her concern for the poor. Her feast is celebrated 12 December 2014.

"The image of the pregnant Virgin of Guadalupe is likewise an apt reminder of the focus of Advent on the imminent celebration of the birth of Christ. Likewise, the rose colored vestments prescribed for the Third Sunday of Advent (Dec. 14, 2014) have also been associated with Our Lady of Guadalupe since the time of Pope Benedict XIV (1675-1758)." --Newsletter: Committee on the Liturgy (August 2004) p. 34.

Election at Fiecht Abbey

On 5 December 2014 the community of Fiecht Abbey elected Fr Raphael Gebauer OSB Prior Administrator for three years. He succeeds Abbot Anselm Zeller OSB who resigned last Monday after leading the community since 1996. Prior Raphael, 58, joined St. Georgenberg Fiecht in 1998 and has served as pilgrimage pastor of St. Georgenberg since 2004. He has also served as novice master and bursar.

November 2014

Return of the OSB International Atlas

After an extended hiatus, the OSB International Atlas, maintained by the curia of Sant'Anselmo, is again available for public consultation on the Internet.

Wrapping the World in Prayer for Peace

In solidarity with one another throughout the world, Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum (CIB) suggests that consecrated men and women begin the Year of Consecrated Life by PRAYING FOR PEACE at First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent.  The Good Sams will commence the time cycle in Kiribati, near the International Date Line, and prayer for peace will continue for 24 hours around the earth by those in consecrated life. All religious women and men are invited to join the CIB in making this a universal prayer for peace. S. Judith Ann Heble OSB, Moderator of CIB, prays that "Together, religious of the world can make a significant impact at a time when our world is in desperate need of peace."

The Year of Consecrated Life

The Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis, To All Consecrated People (21 November 2014) speaks specifically about monasticism in the third section, “The Horizons of the Year of Consecrated Life:”

3. In this letter I do not hesitate to address a word to the consecrated men and women and to the members of fraternities and communities who belong to Churches of traditions other than the Catholic tradition. Monasticism is part of the heritage of the undivided Church, and is still very much alive in both the Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church. The monastic tradition, and other later experiences from the time when the Church in the West was still united, have inspired analogous initiatives in the Ecclesial Communities of the reformed tradition. These have continued to give birth to further expressions of fraternal community and service.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life has planned a number of initiatives to facilitate encounters between members of different expressions of consecrated and fraternal life in the various Churches. I warmly encourage such meetings as a means of increasing mutual understanding, respect and reciprocal cooperation, so that the ecumenism of the consecrated life can prove helpful for the greater journey towards the unity of all the Churches.

4. Nor can we forget that the phenomenon of monasticism and of other expressions of religious fraternity is present in all the great religions. There are instances, some long-standing, of inter-monastic dialogue involving the Catholic Church and certain of the great religious traditions. I trust that the Year of Consecrated Life will be an opportunity to review the progress made, to make consecrated persons aware of this dialogue, and to consider what further steps can be taken towards greater mutual understanding and greater cooperation in the many common areas of service to human life.

Journeying together always brings enrichment, and can open new paths to relationships between peoples and cultures, which nowadays appear so difficult.

The Year of Consecrated Life began with the First Sunday of Advent 2014 and concludes with the World Day of Consecrated Life, 2 February 2016. The USCCB staged a media conference announcing the year's activities in the United States. The bishops' plans  include "Days with Religious," a series of initiatives and resources to help people learn about the consecrated life of religious men and women. Activities will focus on sharing experiences of prayer, service, and community life with those living a consecrated life. Organizers invite Catholics to join activities that will be promoted in collaboration with the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, (CMSWR), the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM).

The Vatican congregation for consecrated life issued a calendar of events in Rome and the logo above. The National Religous Vocation Conference created a YCL logo and a Parish Packet, and commissioned a new hymn from Steven C. Warner. "Wake Up the World," based on the words of Pope Francis, is available in the full score, melody, and multilingual versions. All can be found on the NRVC website.

Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation Accepts Mount Saviour Monastery

13 November 2014 the English Province of the Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation accepted Mount Saviour Monastery, Pine City, NY, into the congregation. Founded under the jusrisdiction of the Abbot Primate in 1950, the American-Cassinese Congregation accepted Mount Saviour, 18 June 2004. Prior Administrator Joseph Gabriel Cusimano OSB notes in the monastery's newsletter that "Most monasteries of that province are small and have many monastic values that we share." Abbot Anselm Atkinson OSB, the visitor for the English Province of the congregation spent a few days in Pine City at the end of November. There are four other monasteries of the Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation in the USA: the Abbey of Christ in the Desert, Saint Mary’s Monastery (Petersham, MA), Holy Cross Monastery (Chicago, IL) and Thien Tam Monastery (Dallas, TX).

+Abbot Joaquim de Arruda Zamith OSB

Abbot Joaquim de Arruda Zamith OSB, 90, died Monday, 10 November 2014, at São Bento Priory in Vinhedo, Brazil. He had served as Abbot of São Bento Monastery in São Paulo from 1974 to 1989. The General Chapter of 1996 elected him Abbot President. He served as head of the Brazilian Congregation until 2002. Since 2002, Abbot Joaquim resided at São Bento Priory in Vinhedo, São Paulo, Brazil, where he taught the monks in formation and assisted with the pastoral activities of the community. On 9 April 2005, Abbot Joaquim transferred his stability to Saint Vincent Archabbey and the American-Cassinese Congregation (Obituary).

Archabbot Douglas Nowicki OSB remembered him as "a wonderful confrere, mentor, teacher, and spiritual guide for all of us over the years. God blessed him with a generous heart and caring soul. He was a great shepherd not only to many Benedictine monks and sisters, but also to many lay faithful for many years. We were all blessed for having him among us." Prior Paulo S. Pranza OSB has scheduled the celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Campinas, Most Rev. Airton José dos Santos, for Wednesday, 12 November 2014.

Catholic Art Exhibition at Latrobe

The fifth nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Exhibition hangs through 7 December 2014 at St. Vincent College gallery. Brother Nathan Cochran OSB founded the exhibit in 2001 to lift up contemporary talent and give parishes near the liberal arts college, 35 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, alternatives to "cookie cutter art" from a catalog. Brother Nathan, 57, died unexpectedly in July 2014 while plans were underway for the show.  The college and St. Vincent Archabbey house an impressive 4,000-piece permanent collection begun with pieces from King Ludwig I of Bavaria (1786-1868), patron of the Bavarian Benedictine Congregation (Washington Post).

American Monastic Newsletter

The American Benedictine Academy makes the most recent issue of The American Monastic Newsletter available online as a PDF document.

"Open the Gates of Paradise"

St. BenedictThe exhibition, "Open the Gates of Paradise," has been created by the National Gallery in Prague in cooperation with the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and Charles University in Prague and with the support of the Metropolitan Chapter of St. Vitus in Prague, the National Museum, and Prague Castle Administration. The exhibition in the Wallenstein Riding School Gallery runs from 7 November 2014 through 15 March 2015. The title, "Open the Gates of Paradise," was adopted from a prayer of Suger, Abbot of Saint Denis Monastery near Paris. The National Gallery in Prague uses it to invite visitors to see a unique exhibition of early mediaeval art.

"The Benedictines became a major social driving force in the early Middle Ages and organized missions and helped shape culture, which is seen as a common network of states forming Europe’s past and present. These monks helped incorporate the major elements of classical and Jewish Europe into its foundations. That is why the exhibition, Open the Gates of Paradise: the Benedictines in the Heart of Europe, 800–1300, is centred around a virtual complex of a mediaeval monastery, which the Middle Ages saw as a material reflection of Paradise" (Press release).

Mysterious Windfall

Prior Administrator Albert Knebel OSB revealed that he had discovered a "fortune" amounting to $5 million (ca. 4M €) in the estate left by the late Abbot Norbert Stoffels OSB. Abbot Norbert had been the "guiding spiritual light" of the Abbey of Saints Ulrich and Afra, Neresheim, DE, from 1977 until his death in 2012 (The Independent, UK). Father Albert states that the money was neither registered on the abbey’s accounts nor to anyone in the administration. Abbey staff also know nothing about its existence. Neresheim belongs to the Beuronese Congregation.

October 2014

Friends of Saint Benedict

The third annual Symposium on Benedictine Spirituality will take place at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington, DC, 7-8 November 2014. The keynote speaker is Bonnie Bowman Thurston, a founding member of the International Thomas Merton Society. The symposium is sponsored by The Friends of Saint Benedict. Registration for the symposium is available online.

New Abbot at Tepeyac

The new abbot at Abadia del Tepeyac, Mexico, Abbot Ricardo (Mateo) Tintos Delgado OSB, 69, receives the abbatial blessing, 1 November 2014. Professed 8 September 1968 and ordained 29 June 1974, Abbot Ricardo served as pastor and senior councilor of the monastery.

Benet Lake Abbey

The monks of St. Benedict's Abbey, Benet Lake, Wisconsin, voted 24 October 2014 to become a dependent community of their founding monastery. In 1945 Conception Abbey, Missouri, founded St. Benedict's.

+Abbot Leonel Gómez Pinilla OSB

Abbot Leonel Gómez Pinilla OSB, 44, Abadia Santa Maria, Envigado, Medellín, Colombia, died 18 October 2014, early in the fourth year since he had become an abbot in the Subiaco Congregation. Abbot Leonel's research interests included Eustathius the Philosopher, Early Christianity, Late Antiquity, and Late Roman Empire.

Changes at Monte Cassino

Vatican City, 23 October 2014 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed Abbot Donato Ogliari OSB, 57, as abbot of the territorial abbey of Montecassino, Italy. Abbot Donato formerly served as abbot of Santa Maria della Scala Monastery in Noci, Italy. The Holy Father has, at the same time, applied the Motu Proprio "Ecclesia Catholica" to the Abbey of Montecassino with a subsequent reduction of its territory, providing that: the territory on which stand the abbey church and monastery belongs to the new territorial configuration of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction "Territorial Abbey of Montecassino," effective immediately. The 53 parishes with their faithful, secular, and religious clergy, religious communities, and seminarians pass to the pastoral care of the Diocese of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, which will now be named Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo (

Monastic Formators' Program

Applications are now being received for the 2015 Monastic Formators' Program. The program will run from Sunday, 15 March (arrivals), to Friday, 12 June 2015 (departures). Founded in 2002, the program is designed to meet the needs of those working in the field of monastic formation, or are preparing to do so. The language of the course is English, and it takes place in Rome and Assisi. Some bursaries are available to communities that would find it difficult to meet the costs.

What's New OSB
What's New auf Deutsch Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).
What Was New OSB, July, August, and September 2014, and further back (1995-; archive).

The monks of Saint John's Abbey welcome comments, questions and suggestions from readers. Send items for inclusion in "What's New" to the <Webkeeper>.

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