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What Was New

July, August, and September 2017

Rev. 12 October 2017


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September 2017

Synod of Abbots President

Synod 2017

Abbot Primate Gregory J. Polan OSB convoked the annual Synod of Abbots President at St. Meinrad Archabbey, Indiana, 11-15 September 2017. The theme of the synod was the pastoral role of leadership. In addition to the Abbot Primate giving a report, the Prior, Rector, and Treasurer of Sant’Anselmo as well as Sr. Judith Heble OSB, CIB moderator, also gave reports. The abbots approved the budget for FY17-18 and approved the audit for FY16-17 for the abbey and atheneum at S. Anselmo. The Abbots President discussed the upcoming Vatican Synod on Youth, Faith, and Vocational Discernment. The meeting concluded with reports on Benedictine life in North America by Father Joel Rippinger OSB, Marmion Abbey (Aurora, IL); Sisters Kathryn Huber OSB and Barbara Lynn Schmitz OSB, Monastery Immaculate Conception (Ferdinand, IN); and Sister Margaret Funk OSB, Our Lady of Grace Monastery (Beech Grove, IN). More photos are online.

Glenstal Liturgical Conference 2017

"Living Stones: Celebrating 90 Years of Monastic Life"

As they commemorate the 90th anniversary of their foundation, the Benedictine monks of Glenstal Abbey, Murroe, Ireland, are hosting a liturgical conference examining the role of sacramentality in a secularised world. Over three days, Friday-Sunday, 20-22 Oct. 2017, the conference will also touch on other contemporary liturgical themes in papers and workshops in the context of shared monastic liturgy. The conference website offers more information.

Benedictines in Hall of Fame

The state of Arkansas honored the Olivetan Benedictine sisters for their 130-year impact on the state as inductees into the Women's Hall of Fame, 24 August 2017. The sisters at Holy Angels Convent in Jonesboro currently number 36. Today, the sisters continue to serve in various parish ministries and stay active in administration and pastoral care at St. Bernard's Medical Center in Jonesboro that they established in 1900.

Thien Tam Elects Conventual Prior

The election of the first conventual prior of the Monastery of Thien Tam, Kerens, Texas, took place on the night of 4 September 2017. The monks elected Father Dominic Hanh Duc Nguyen OSB. Rt. Rev. Guillermo Arboleda Tamayo OSB, Abbot President of the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation, confirmed the election, 5 September, and he installed Prior Dominic the next morning.

Born in Vietnam, 3 February 1969, Prior Dominic professed first monastic vows at Christ in the Desert Abbey, 24 November 1992. After making solemn vows, he completed a doctorate in Canon Law in 2008. Named the local superior of Thien Tam in 2009, he has served in that role until the election. Ad multos annos.

Closure of Holy Trinity OCSO

Father Patrick Boyle OCSO, 89, was the last monk to leave the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville, 23 Aug. 2017, shuttering the Utah landmark founded in 1947 (Denver Post). At its height, the monastery was home to 84 monks who sold bread, multigrain cereal, and honey to support their ministry (video).

August 2017

Holy Cross Monastery

The two monks of the diocesan Holy Cross Monastery who operate the diocesan retreat center in Beaumont, Texas, have been flooded out. Fr. Peter Funk OSB and Br. Michael Gallagher OSB report from Dallas where they will remain until it's safe to return. Beaumont is also currently without running water since the pumps at both sources have been knocked out by Hurricane Harvey. Update: The monks are coping with the painful, total loss of their monastery and the diocesan retreat center.

+ Abbot Benno Malfèr OSB

Abbot Benno Christian Malfèr OSB, 70, died unexpectedly in the local hospital, Monday evening, 28 August 2017. For 26 years he had served as abbot of Muri-Gries, Bozen, Italy. From 1997 to 2015 he had been president of the Swiss Benedictine Congregation to which Muri-Gries belongs. The monks will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial, Friday, 1 September 2017. "May Abbot Benno be in the light of the Risen. Let him now see what he has believed, hoped, proclaimed, and celebrated in the sacrament" (Bishop Ivo Muser).

Election at Schweiklberg

Friday, 25 August 2017, the community of Schweiklberg, Vilshofen, DE, elected Fr. Benedikt Schneider OSB, 61, prior administrator for three years. For the last 15 years Prior Benedict has worked as parish priest in Neustift. He succeeds Abbot Rhabanus Petri OSB whose term of office concluded 31 July 2017.

+ Archabbot Emeritus Timothy Sweeney OSB

Fr. Timothy Sweeney OSB, 82, a monk and priest of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, Indiana, died, 17 August 2017, at the monastery. He was a jubilarian both of profession and priesthood. He served as archabbot of Saint Meinrad from 1978 to 1995.

Art, Theology, and Ecumenism

To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Mount Tabor Ecumenical Centre for Art and Spirituality presents an international symposium with sessions on art, theology, and ecumenism. The symposium began in May in Paris, Strasbourg, and Florence, and continues this fall in New Haven (CT) and Orleans (MA).

The final weekend of the Symposium in October 2017, in Orleans, MA, will be the culmination of this exploration of sacred arts and ecumenism -- "ART IN CELEBRATION: The Word in Color, Action, Music, and Form," focusing on the creativity behind and expression in both the visual and performing arts. The Community of Jesus will host demonstrations of mosaic, fresco, and Gregorian chant; lectures and panel discussions; exhibits of contemporary sacred art by artists Susan S. Kanaga and Filippo Rossi; liturgies of the Divine Office and Holy Eucharist; and a fully-staged presentation of Vaughan Williams' opera, The Pilgrim’s Progress, performed by the critically-acclaimed ensembles, Gloriae Dei Cantores choir and Elements Theatre Company, in the Church of the Transfiguration on Cape Cod.

Please visit to find the complete schedule for the Orleans events. Details on the early registration special (for those who register by 1 September) are available on the registration page.

Abbot President Christopher OSB

EBC Elects New President

The monks and nuns of the English Benedictine Congregation, meeting in General Chapter at Worth Abbey, Sussex, elected, 31 July 2017, Abbot Emeritus Christopher Jamison OSB, 65, to succeed Abbot President Richard Yeo OSB, 69. Abbot Christopher had served as Abbot of Worth, 2002-2010, and has subsequently worked for the bishops of England and Wales as Director of the National Office for Vocation. "Fr Christopher, who was the central figure in the 2005 BBC 2 documentary series, The Monastery, is also the author of two books: Finding Sanctuary -- Monastic Steps for Everyday Life, and Finding Happiness -- Monastic Steps for a Fulfilling Life" (ICN).

July 2017

New Abbot for Assumption Abbey

Thursday morning, 27 July 2017, the monastic chapter at Assumption Abbey in Richardton, ND, elected Father Daniel Maloney OSB, 75, as the ninth abbot of the community. Abbot Daniel has had a distinguished career as professor of philosophy at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, and has also served the Benedictine Sisters at Annunciation Monastery, also in Bismarck, as their chaplain. Abbot Daniel succeeds Abbot Brian Wangler OSB, 73, who died 25 May 2017. Abbot President Elias Lorenzo OSB, American-Cassinese Congregation, confirmed the election. Ad multos annos!

Benedictine Youth Congress 2017

2017 participants

St. Benedict's Abbey and College, Atchison, KS, hosted the Benedictine Youth Congress, 16-19 July 2017. There were 60 students from Benedictine secondary schools throughout the USA, along with their teachers as chaperones. Ms Molly Buccola, campus minister at Woodside Priory in Portola, CA, organized the conference. Students joined the monks in the abbey for Mass and Vespers each day. The students themselves offered various workshops and led lectio divina in small groups for a successful leadership conference.

Thien Tam Priory

Christ in the Desert Abbey founded, 2009, the Monastery of Thien Tam, Kerens, Texas, as the first Vietnamese Benedictine monastery in North America. The Abbot President of the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation, issued, 29 June 2017, the decree establishing the monastery as an independent priory.

Solemnity of Benedict

The Patriarch

Benedictines and their friends celebrate Saint Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism and Co-Patron of Europe, on Tuesday, 11 July. Born in 480 A.D., his Rule for Monasteries brought order and creativity to a world of decadence and corruption.

The stained glass at right from Sacred Heart Monastery Church, Yankton, South Dakota,  depicts our Founder holding a manuscript copy of his Holy Rule (Sancta Regula) flanked by his disciples of men and women.

What we know of Saint Benedict comes from the Second Book of the Dialogues written by Pope St. Gregory the Great. The office hymn, Gemma caelestis recalls his vision of the death of his twin sister, Scholastica, and the sequence, Laeta quies, poetically recalls incidents of Benedict's life in the light of scriptural precedents.

Many monasteries use this date for the Profession of Vows. Congratulations to the many Benedictine men and women making first or final commitments or celebrating jubilees of monastic profession. I.O.G.D.

What's New OSB
What's New auf Deutsch: Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).
What Was New OSB, April, May, and June 2017, 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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