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The Order of Saint Benedict

What Was New

April, May, and June 2016

Rev. 11 July 2016


June 2016

Abbot of Dormition Abbey Resigns

Below is the statement issued by Abbot Gregory Collins OSB, elected 2011, concerning his resignation as abbot of Dormition Abbey, Jerusalem. Dormition belongs to the Annunciation Congregation.

On Friday the 3rd of June [2016], after prayer and reflection, following almost five years as Abbot of Dormition Abbey, I requested the Abbot President of our Congregation to accept my request to lay down my office. Having consulted his council, he accepted it. It comes into effect on 29 June 2016. Following some months of sabbatical in Egmond Abbey, in the Netherlands, I shall return permanently in January [2017] to Glenstal Abbey, my original monastery in Ireland.

I would like to thank the brethren of Dormition Abbey and Tabgha Priory and assure them of my best wishes and constant prayer for them. These five years have brought many difficulties but also many joys, which we have faced together: the community will always have a special place in my heart.

I would also like to thank the many people and institutions with whom I worked during my time of service here as Abbot: may the Lord bless us all.

Abbot Gregory Collins OSB

EliasAbbot President Elias Lorenzo OSB

The delegates to the general chapter of the American-Cassinese Congregation, 19-24 June 2016, elected Prior Elias Lorenzo OSB, monk of St. Mary's Abbey, Morristown, NJ. For seven years Abbot President Elias had been prior at Collegio Sant'Anselmo, Rome. Thursday, 23 June 2016, Rt. Rev. Douglas R. Nowicki OSB, archabbot of St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA, motherhouse of the congregation, conferred the abbatial blessing during the chapter. Abbot Hugh Anderson OSB, St. Procopius Abbey, Lisle, IL, elected in 2010, preceded Abbot Elias as abbot president. Abbot Elias returned to Sant'Anselmo for the Congress of Abbots, September 2016, thereafter he will reside in Morristown.

Australian New Zealand Benedictine Union

From 16 to 19 June 2016, the Australian New Zealand Benedictine Union held its annual meeting at Mount St. Benedict's Centre, Pennant Hills. During the gathering, Oblates and those closely associated with member communities held a day of reflection. Father Michael Casey OCSO and Sr Elizabeth Brennan OSB gave presentations.

Father Michael Casey OCSO, Tarrawarra Abbey, Australia, addressed "God’s Mercy in the Rule of St Benedict." Fr. Michael's influential books include Toward God: The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer; A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict’s Teaching on Humility; and Fully Human, Fully Divine: An Interactive Christology.

Sr. Elizabeth Brennan OSB is a Sister of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict. She spoke about "Living from the Liturgy We Celebrate." Sr. Elizabeth specialises in pastoral liturgy formation. She is the current director of Mount St Benedict.

Formators' Workshop 2016

Formation Workshop Participants 2016

Fr. Joel Rippinger OSB, Marmion Abbey, Aurora, IL, was the principal presenter at the Formation Director's Workshop, Subiaco Abbey, 14-18 June 2016. Two days consisted of round-table discussion of topics related to the formation of novices and work with men in formation to become Benedictine and Cistercian monks. For many years there had been an annual Formation Director's Workshop for Benedictine men. Those attending are happy to announce that they have resurrected the workshop which will now meet every other year. The next meeting is planned for 12-16 June 2018. The venue will be announced at a later date.

The American Monastic Newsletter

The latest issue of the AMN (47:2, June 2016) is available online as a PDF document. The issue mentions new features added to the ABA convention, 21-23 July 2016, and a list of nominees for the board of the American Benedictine Academy. Sr. Lynn McKenzie OSB writes about the relationship of Benedictines to the diocesan bishop in her "Canon Law Column."

+ Br. Balduin Weth OSB

Brother Balduin Weth OSB, 96, died Wednesday, 6 June 2016, at Münsterschwarzach Abbey, Germany. For 77 years he belonged to the Ottilien Missionary Benedictines. His was the longest tenure of any of the almost 1,000 missionary Benedictines worldwide. Brother Balduin made fist vows 1933. He learned masonry and began even while training to work on the construction of the current abbey church. After military service and return from captivity in 1947, he made final profession in 1949. In his time as director of works at the monastery he participated in the construction of the Gymnasium, the boarding school, the apprentices' house, administration buidings, the porter's lodge, and the monastic kitchen with butcher shop and bakery. He also helped with the construction or modernisation of assorted workplaces. Herr, gib ihm die ewige Ruhe.

St. Anthony's College, Sri Lanka

Vatican Radio interviewed, 9 June 2016, Fr. Clement Gnanaprakasam OSB, Rector of St. Benedict’s College, Kandy, about the Benedictines of the Sylvesterine Congregation that administer and manage St. Anthony's College since 1874. St. Anthony's is one of the most prestigious Catholic schools in Sri Lanka, in existence for over 150 years.

Abbatial [Re-]Elections

Saint Meinrad Archabbey

The monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey elected, 3 June 2016, Prior Kurt Stasiak OSB, 63, as tenth archabbot. Archabbot Kurt served as prior since July 9, 2010. Born in Rüdesheim, Germany, Archabbot Kurt professed vows as a Benedictine monk, 15 August 1975; he became a priest, 27 April 1980. He earned a licentiate (1986) and a doctorate (1993) in sacramental theology from the Pontifical Anthenaeum of Sant'Anselmo, Rome. He is the author of several books, including A Confessor's Handbook (a revised and expanded edition was published in 2010); Sacramental Theology: Means of Grace, Ways of Life; and his most recent, From Sinners to Saints: A Guide to Understanding the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Right Rev. Vincent Bataille, OSB, president of the Swiss-American Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation, presided at and confirmed the election. The blessing of the new archabbot will be held in July 2016.

Ealing Abbey

On Tuesday, 17 May 2016, the conventual chapter of fourteen solemnly professed monks  of Ealing Abbey, UK, re-elected for the second time Abbot Martin Shipperlee OSB, 57, to serve for a further eight years.

Quarr Abbey

In the Solesmes Congregation, the monks of Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight, elected on Wednesday, 11 May 2016, Dom Xavier Perrin OSB.  In 1980, Abbot Xavier entered the Abbey of Sainte Anne de Kergonan. He studied theology first at Solesmes, then at Fribourg in Switzerland, and finally in Munich. He was novice master from 1993 to 2010, choir master from 1996 to 2013, and prior from 2002 to 2013. He became prior administrator of Quarr Abbey in 2013. Abbot Philippe Dupont OSB, Abbot President of the Solesmes Congregation, oversaw and confirmed the election.

May 2016

Paris Remembers the Trappists of Tibhirine

DIMMID reports that "On Monday, 30 May 2016, the city of Paris dedicated a garden in honor of the seven monks of Tibhirine who were kidnapped and then assassinated in 1996. By doing so, the organizers of the event intended to pay tribute to their 'message of friendship and openness to dialogue' with Muslims." Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, led the ceremony. More information in French from TV3.

Saint Meinrad Monks Launch Podcast

The monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey have launched a podcast, “Echoes from the Bell Tower.” The podcast’s first season begins with an episode about, logically enough, the bells of the Archabbey Church. Hosting the audio talk show are two young monks, Br. Joel Blaize OSB, and Novice Tony Wolniakowski OSB.

"In this podcast, you'll get to know us monks. You'll get to hear our stories, and things you just may not hear any other way," the hosts explain in the trailer that introduces the new podcast. Listeners can subscribe at iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever they find their podcasts.

ABA Convention 2016

Sister Elizabeth Carillo OSB reminds Benedictines and their friends that 1 June 2016 is the deadline for submitting a convention registration before the price goes up. Here is a link to the PDF registration form. Please encourage members and others to attend. The American Beneictine Academy hopes to see many at what is sure to be an interesting, stimulating meeting in Beech Grove, IN,  21-23 July 2016. The topic is "Keep Death Daily before Your Eyes."

Monks Make Hot Sauce

The monks at Subiaco Abbey in Arkansas know how to bring the heat. Led by Father Richard Walz OSB, the Benedictine monks make Monk Sauce, a spicy habanero pepper sauce. Fr. Richard says making Monk Sauce is a perfect way to find balance between work and prayer ... and to add spice to a simple life. Watch a short YouTube video about the making of Monk Sauce.

Interreligious Dialogue in Iran

Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf OSB is participating in the Seventh Benedictine-Shi'a Conference, "The Dignity of Being Human," meeting for the second time in Qom, Iran, the largest center for Shi'a scholarship. The series of meetings started Tuesday, 10 May 2016. The conference will last for three full days, and then those attending the conference will spend a day at the Imam Reza Shrine at Mashhad, the largest mosque in the world. The assembly will then disperse for departures home. The following nations are represented among the Benedictines: Australia, France, Germany, Kenya, UK, and USA. Abbot Timothy Wright OSB, abbot emeritus of Ampleforth Abbey, is coordinating the conference.

Monastic Interreligious Dialogue offers a report of the conference, "Monks and Muslims IV," in Dilatato Corde, VI:1 by participant, Fr. William Skudlarek OSB, Secretary General of DIMMID. A collection of photos accompanies the brief report.

A short video of the visit to the shrine, produced by the shrine's public relations office, is available on Facebook. The two people who speak are Abbot Timothy Wright OSB and Sister Lorraine Victorsen OSB, a Good Samaritan Sister from Brisbane, Australia. The shrine has a staff of 2,000 and also 18.000 volunteers. It is visited by more than 10,000,000 pilgrims a year.

+ P. Bruno de Senneville OSB, 89

La Croix announces the death of the re-founder of the monastic community at historic Mont-Saint-Michel. P. Bruno de Senneville OSB, a monk of Bec-Hellouin Abbey was the first prior of the Benedictine community established at the time of the Mont's millennium in 1966. This small community became a place of permanent pilgrimage for almost 35 years. Its presence and the regular celebration of worship attracted pilgrims of all persuasions. These pioneers were succeeded in 2001 by the men and women of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem.

The funeral for Père Bruno took place 9 May 2016 at the church of Sainte-Croix de Saint-Malo. His burial took place at Mont-Saint-Michel the same day. Qu'il repose en paix.

Monastic Institute 2016

The theme of the 2016 Monastic Institute, sponsored by Saint John's Abbey and the School of Theology, is Monastic Profession: Baptism, Kenosis, and Growing into Christ. The speakers are Prioress Michaela Hedican OSB and Abbot John Klassen OSB. The full schedule is available as a PDF document, and one may register online for the event, 3-7 July 2016.

April 2016

Camaldoses Nuns in Korea

The first Camaldolese monastery of nuns in Korea is being constructed in Namyangju City. Father Alessandro Barban OSB Cam., Prior General of the Camaldolese Congregation, met, 27 April 2016, with Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, to offer thanks for the cardinal's help establishing the monastery expected to be completed in 2019.

Monk-Baker Profiled

CruxNow profiled, 17 April 2016, Bro. Pachomius (Ambrose) Alvarado OSB. Brother Pachomius is the baker at Saint Bernard Abbey, Cullman, Alabama. His secret ingredient for making exceptional bread is prayer.

Benedictine Study-Retreat

From 10 to 17 June 2016, Paraclete Press, the publishing arm of the Community of Jesus and the Mount Tabor Centre  co-sponsor an ecumenical study-retreat about St. Benedict. Starting at the mission house for art and spirituality in the Tuscan hills, and ending in Subiaco, participants will learn of St. Benedict's life through art, through scripture, and through his rule. The leaders of the retreat are Msgr. Timothy Verdon, art historian and museum director; Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author; and, at Subiaco, Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf OSB.

There are still some spaces open for the trip. For more information visit the website: St. Benedict Retreat.

Cistercian Publications

This year Cistercian Publications announces that all of St. Bernard of Clairvaux's works will finally be available in English. Also featured in the latest catalog is Gert Melville's comprehensive survey, The World of Medieval Monasticism: Its History and Forms of Life, "the best of guides to the world of medieval monasticism." Additionally the website offers three pages of items on sale.

Benedictine Educators' Network

Group photoThe International Commission on Benedictine Education (ICBE) hosted its seventh triennial international congress of the Benedictine Educators' Network (BENET) in Rome from April 4 to 8, 2016. 170 educators from 21 countries representing 71 schools were in attendance.  The keynote presenters were Prof. Günther Müller-Stewens from St. Gallen University, Switzerland and Prof. Luigi Gioia OSB from the Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome. The theme of their presentations was leadership and management in the Rule of St. Benedict as a primer for our schools.  The educators prayed together each day lauds, noonday Mass, and vespers in English, German, Spanish, and Portuguese as prepared by various schools in the Benedictine Educators' Network. 

In addition, there were fourteen workshops at the Collegio Sant'Anselmo on the Aventine hill on various themes such as Young People and Benedict's Rule Today, Formation of Staff, Faculty and Board, School Discipline  based on the Rule, Benedictine Identity and Mission Experiences, Rule of Benedict as Foundation for Strategic Planning, Scaffolding Change for Innovative Education, and Formation of Leaders for a More Just and Tolerant Society, to name a few.  These workshops were offered by the educators themselves for their peers. 

Throughout the congress educators met in deaneries for group discussions and for lectio divina.  The congress concluded with a pilgrimage to Montecassino where the educators had guided tours, prayed lectio divina at the tombs of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, and celebrated the assembly's final Eucharist together.  At the conclusion of the congress, ICBE president, Fr. Elias Lorenzo OSB announced the next triennial international congress will be hosted by Good Samaritan Education in Australia, 2019.  

Tyburn Convent Conference on Benedictine Lay Movements

The monastic spirituality forum -- Community of Nazareth -- will be hosting a conference on contemporary Benedictine lay movements and communities at Tyburn Convent, 11 June 2016. The conference will explore the values, mission, and outreach of Benedictine movements. A number of groups will be participating in the event: Manquehue Movement, Lay Community of St Benedict, Community of St Aelred, Subiaco Walsingham, Monos, and NazarethW5.

The conference will continue with each group explaining its particular mission and how it transmits monastic values to others. There will be discussion about the nature of those groups: residential communities, dispersed communities, e-communities, and social media groups. There will also be talks examining Benedictine witness, looking at the lives of Bl. Gabriella of Unity and the Tibhirine Trappist martyrs. Throughout the day there will be opportunities to pray with the monastic community at Tyburn and to visit their famous shrine.

Talks and papers will be available via the website ( SoundCloud (Community of Nazareth) and twitter (@NazarethW5).

The Passing of Saint BenedictWindow at Yankton, SD

Benedictines commemorate the passing of Saint Benedict on Tuesday, 5 April 2016. Like the great Saint Joseph, devotion to whom was fostered at Monte Cassino, Saint Benedict is a fitting patron at the time of death. On the margin of the medal of St. Benedict, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the Latin words: Eius in obitu nostro præsentia muniamur (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death). An additional prayer to Saint Benedict for a happy death is available online.

Pope St. Gregory's account below of St. Benedict's serene death ca. 543 A.D, is enhanced by testimony of Benedict's ability to forecast the day of it and his ability to communicate the news of it remotely by signs.

Six days before he died, he gave orders for his tomb to be opened. Almost immediately he was seized with a violent fever that rapidly wasted his remaining energy. Each day his condition grew worse until finally, on the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the chapel where he received the Body and Blood of our Lord to gain strength for his approaching end. Then, supporting his weakened body on the arms of his brethren, he stood with his hands raised to heaven and, as he prayed, breathed his last. --Gregory the Great, Dialogues, Book 2, c. 37.

Jubilee of Mercy


8 December 2015 began the Jubilee of Mercy. Opening of the Holy Door in the Vatican Basilica is the official act of the Holy Father inaugurating the jubilee that concludes on the Feast of Christ the King, 20 November 2016. In the words of Pope Francis, "On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope."

What's New OSB
What's New auf Deutsch: Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).
What Was New OSB, April, May, and June 2016, and previous quarters (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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