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What Was New

April, May, and June 2018

Rev. 02 July 2018


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June 2018

Stift Fiecht Acquires a New Owner

Herr Christoph Swarovski, local industrialist, is the new proprieter of Stift Fiecht, Tyrol, Austria. The Benedictines relinquished ownership in a brief ceremony, Thursday, 28 June 2018. Swarovski plans to use the site as a digital campus, an elementary school, and a high school. The ten Ottilien Benedictines will return to their founding monastery, St. Georgenberg. It was becoming impossible to sustain both properties. The Diocese of Innsbruck will maintain the collegiate church at Fiecht as a sacred place and as a parish church.

American Monastic Newsletter

The June 2018 issue of the American Monastic Newsletter is now available online as a PDF document. There is still time to register for the biennial convention, 19-22 July 2018. A registration form, as well as more details about the convention, are in this issue. Also included are the profiles of the ABA board candidates. Please take some time to consider your choices in preparation for the election at the convention. Fr. Dan Ward's OSB column is devoted to the rights of monastics in canon law.

+ Father Columba Kelly OSB

ColumbaRev. Columba Kelly OSB, 87, monk and musician of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, died 9 June 2018. He enterered the monastery in 1952; professed simple vows, 31 July 1953; solemn vows, 6 August 1956; and ordination, 5 July 1958. After earning a licentiate in theology at Sant'Anselmo, he earned the doctorate in Church Music at Rome's Musica Sacra in 1963. He studied under Dom Eugène Cardine OSB, monk of the Abbey of Saint-Pierre, Solesmes, acknowledged as the father of the semiological interpretation of chant.

Fr. Columba's lasting contribution was to introduce chant in English into the celebrations of the Liturgy of the Hours and the Eucharist. The monastery's collection of his chant compositions numbers nearly 2,000 pieces. Known internationally in the field, Fr. Columba was a charter member of the Benedictine Musicians of the Americas, a member of the American Musicological Society, the American Guild of Organists, the National Catholic Music Educators Association, the Church Music Association of America, and the Composers' Forum for Catholic Worship. The monks celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial, Tuesday, 12 June 2018. Read the complete obituary. May choirs of angels welcome him to Paradise.

English Congregation Elects Abbot for St. Louis

Friday, 8 June 2018, the monks of Saint Louis Abbey, Missouri, elected as third abbot, Dom P. Gregory Mohrman OSB, to succeed Abbot Emeritus Thomas Frerking OSB. Born 20 October 1957, Abbot Gregory made first vows in the English Benedictine Congregation, 4 September 1980, earned a master's at Saint John's University, and became a priest, 21 June 1986. In 2017, the abbot president named him prior administrator of Portsmouth Abbey, RI. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will impart the abbatial blessing, 9 Sept. 2018. Ad multos annos.

May 2018

+ Brother Michael Yi OSB

Trinity Sunday, 27 May 2018, the Ottilien Missionary Benedictines mourn the death of Bro. Michael Yi OSB of Waegwan Abbey. He was 103 years old, by far the oldest member of the Congregation. He had originally joined Tokwon Abbey in what is now North Korea. Bro. Michael was devout, lively, and kind until the last. May God grant him eternal rest.

+ Abbot Emeritus Timothy Wright OSB, RIP

Abbot Timothy Wright OSB died Sunday, 13 May 2018, at Ealing Abbey in the 77th year of his age, the 56th of his monastic life and the 46th of priesthood. Since 2003 Abbot Timothy, abbot emeritus of Ampleforth Abbey (1997 to 2005), had been instrumental in establishing Catholics and Shi’a in dialogue as the delegate of the Abbot Primate for monastic-Muslim relations. He is the author of No Peace Without Prayer (2013). May he rest in peace.

+ Fr. Placid Pientek OSB, RIP

Sunday, 6 May 2018, Fr. Placid Pientek OSB, 99, the oldest monk of the American-Cassinese Congregation, died. Born to Slovak immigrant parents, he grew up in lower Manhattan in the shadow of Wall Street. The aura of that great financial center would follow him years later as he assumed positions as the monastery and high school treasurer. As well as being the congregation's longest professed monk, Fr. Placid was also the oldest ordained (1944). He entered Saint Andrew Abbey, Cleveland, OH, in 1938. After study in Rome, he became novice master. In 1964 he was named treasurer of the prep school and served for 18 years. From 1972 to 1982 he also served as the abbey's treasurer. He led two highly successful capital campaigns before his retirement as abbey treasurer in 1989. The monks celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial at the abbey on Friday evening, 11 May 2018. May he rest in peace.

April 2018

Monastery Housed First Jewish Hospital in Bavaria

Rosie Whitehouse tells the forgotten story, on the anniversary of the liberation of Dachau, of escaped prisoners who set up a Jewish hospital in St. Ottilien Archabbey, a Bavarian monastery. Fr. Cyrill Schäfer OSB has been instrumental in shedding light on this element of the monastery's history. Among the 800 people left alive on the train of Dachau survivors was Zalman Grinberg, a 33-year-old physician from Kovno, Lithuania. He knew the prisoners had little chance of survival if they stayed in the open, so quickly gathered them together and, with the help of an American colonel, led them to safety in St. Ottilien Archabbey. Father Cyrill explains: “The monastery had been closed by the Nazis and the monks sent to the eastern front, or set to work as slave labourers on the monastery farm and in the military hospital that was set up here.” Grinberg, posing as a Red Cross official, commandeered part of the monastery, and it became the only Jewish hospital in Bavaria. Read the illustrated, full story at the Guardian (21 April 2018).

Jubilee of the Confederation

OSB arms

19-21 April 2018, the Benedictines of Sant'Anselmo celebrate the 125th Jubilee of the Benedictine Confederation of Monastic Congregations. On 18 April 1893, the first stone of the present building of Sant’Anselmo was solemnly laid on the Aventine Hill. Then, on 12 July 1893, Pope Leo XIII officially established, with the Brief, Summum Semper, the Benedictine Confederation, thus uniting the various Benedictine congregations.

Pope Francis met in the late morning of 19 April in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican the Abbot Primate Gregory Polan OSB, several abbots and abbesses of the Confederation, the residents and collaborators of the College and of Sant’Anselmo University, and representatives of various branches and international institutions within the same Benedictine Confederation. The Holy Father's address to the Benedictines is online. Vatican News interviewed Abbot Primate Gregory J. Polan OSB about the anniversary celebrations.

Saturday, 21 April 2018, H.E. Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State,  presides on the Aventine at the solemn Mass of the Feast of Saint Anselm of Canterbury.

+ Abbot Emeritus Dr. Heinrich Ferenczy OSB

Friday, 13 April 2018, Abbot Emeritus Dr. Heinrich Ferenczy OSB, 80, died in the company of confreres and relatives. He had been abbot of the Schottenstift, 1988-2006, Vienna; first president of the Austrian Conference of Major Superiors of Men, 1989-98; and abbot of Saint Paul, Lavanttal, 2008-2017, Austria. Farewell and Requiem in Schottenkirche, Wednesday, 18 April 2018, 6 p.m.; Mass of Christian Burial, St. Paul Stiftskirche, Wednesday, 25 April 2018, 3 p.m.

Election at Ligugé

On Easter Tuesday, 3 April 2018, the community of Saint-Martin de Ligugé elected as abbot, Father Christophe Bettwy OSB. Father Christophe, 51, entered Ligugé, 26 September 1998. Born in the Haut-Rhin, Mulhouse, 30 April 1966, he spent all his childhood and youth in Bordeaux where he attended the College Sainte-Marie Grand-Lebrun. After his novitiate and monastic profession, 29 June 2000, he continued theological studies at the Catholic Institute of Paris. Returning to the monastery, he served as deputy master of the novices, director of the Europart Distribution Company and guest master. Ordained a priest, 4 July 2009, Abbot Christophe served as prior administrator during the past two years. Most Rev. Pascal Wintzer, Archbishop of Poitiers, will impart the abbatial blessing, 27 May 2018, in the presence of Rt. Rev. Dom Philippe Dupont OSB, abbot president of the Solesmes Congregation.

What's New OSB
What's New auf Deutsch: Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).
What Was New OSB, January, February, and March 2018 and previous quarters (1995-; archive).

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