(1) This first day of February was a foggy one-all morning and
most of the afternoon. For a good part of the day, you could not
see the Archabbey Church from the Guest House!
(2) Feast of the Presentation, an OP-ranked celebration. Father
Prior Kurt presided, and our Mass Heb, Father Adrian, preached. +++
After Midday Prayer, we received the body of Father Eric in the
Monastery Entry Way. We prayed II Vespers of the Feast of the
Presentation at five o'clock, and then after supper prayed the
Office of the Dead, Father Prior Kurt presided at both the
Reception of the Body and the Office of the Dead; Brother Maurus
offered the remembrance at the Office of the Dead.
(3) We celebrated the Mass of the Resurrection for Father Eric at
10 o'clock this morning, with burial in our cemetery following.
Father Noël preached the homily at the funeral Mass, at which
Archabbot Justin presided. Our seminarians joined us for the
liturgies. +++ Fathers Archabbot, Prior and Subprior offered the
traditional Blessing of the Throats on this feast of St.
Blaise-this year, due to Father Eric's funeral, after
(4) This evening Father Boniface had a serious seizure at the
facility where he has been undergoing rehab since his second stroke
last month. He was taken to Community East Hospital in
Indianapolis. He is mostly unresponsive, although he will make
verbal remarks from time to time. His doctors are conducting tests
to determine the precise cause of the stroke and the most effective
means of treatment.
(5) The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and Father Harry is our Mass
Heb. +++ Once again, we welcomed many visitors to the hill and to
our Sunday Eucharist; these included about 24 members of St. John
the Apostle Catholic Church in Bloomington, Indiana.
(6) We welcomed to the hill a group of guests from Corpus Christi
Catholic Church of Lawrence, Kansas, who are visiting us for
several days. We ask God's blessings on all guests and pilgrims to
the Holy Hill.
(7) Among visitors to the hill today is Father Matthew Gerlach, an
alumnus from our College class of 1992 and our Theology class of
1996. Father is Vocation Director for the Diocese of Tulsa, and is
here for the evaluation of his seminarians.
(8) Our seminary is hosting several bishops who are participating
in a discussion of African Clerical Migration. Welcome to the Most
Rev. Richard Pates (Des Moines), Most Rev. Ronald Herzog
(Alexandria), Most Rev. William Medley (Owensboro), and Most Rev.
Lee Piche (Auxiliary, Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis). +++
Father Abbot Justin left for the annual Abbot President's Council
and then the Abbots' Workshop, held this year at St. Joseph Abbey
in Covington, Louisiana. He'll be returning to the hill on February
(9) Twenty-four participants from St. Aloysius Catholic Church in
Shepherdsville, Kentucky, are here through the 12th, enjoying a
(10) It seems that on her feast, St. Scholastica did indeed pray up
a storm-at least we had snow flurries off and on throughout the
morning and afternoon. +++ On this O.P.-ranked feast of St.
Benedict's twin sister, Father Prior Kurt presided, and Father
Harry preached, at the 7:30 a.m. Conventual Mass. +++ Father Jeremy
began offering his weekend retreat, "Together for Life: A Romantic
Covenant," to 32 couples at our Guest House and Retreat
(11) About 30 monks enjoyed a pizza lunch at The UnStable; Prior
Kurt, Brother Martin, Brother John Mark and second-year theology
seminarian Tim Wyciskalla (Indianapolis) did the pizza-making. +++
We received the oblations of David and Karen Jenkins of Boonville,
Indiana, and Matthew Sprauer of Centerville, Ohio, after Midday
Prayer in Archabbey Church. God's blessings upon them and upon all
(12) Father Pius is our Mass Heb this week but, as he was assigned
out preaching for a "Saint Meinrad Sunday," Father Harry presided
and preached in his place. +++ About 30 seminarians from the St.
John's Formation House in our seminary joined us for Vespers and
then a buffet supper in our refectory.
(13) We're awaiting Father Abbot's return, tomorrow, from the
annual Abbot President's Council and Abbot's Workshop. Other than
this anticipation, it was a pretty quiet day on the hill!
(14) Twenty-six seminarians received the ministry of acolyte, and
24 received the ministry of lector, at an evening Eucharist in the
seminary's St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel, celebrated by the Most Rev.
Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville. In this latter group
were Brother Luke of Saint Meinrad and Brother Philippe of Togo,
(15) Father Pius preached this morning at the Conventual Eucharist.
The monastic community enjoyed the weekly "special desserts" in the
(16) Among visitors to the hill today was Father William Novak, an
alumnus from our College class of 1990 and our Theology class of
1995. Father is Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma
City and is here for the evaluation of his seminarians.
(17) Two of our "visiting Benedictines," Brother Victor from
Conception Abbey in Missouri and Brother Simon from St. Benedict's
Abbey in Kansas, headed out with nine diocesan seminarians to
participate in the annual seminarian basketball tournament, held
this year at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.
We eagerly await the results.
(18) Brother Zachary is halfway through offering his weekend
retreat, "From our Hands to our Hearts: Praying the Rosary," to 54
participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.
(19) Father Brendan was scheduled to be our Heb on this Sunday
beginning the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time. He's battling a bit of
the flu, though, and so Father Joseph graciously stepped in to
preside and preach at our Conventual Mass. +++ We exposed the
Blessed Sacrament on the altar at the conclusion of Mass, as we
began our annual Eucharistic Day. Various monks signed up for set
periods of adoration, while others-including several guests and
students-came into the church throughout the afternoon for a few
minutes of quiet prayer and adoration. Father Prior Kurt presided
at Vespers and gave the Benediction, which concluded the day. +++
Brothers Victor and Simon and their fellow (diocesan) seminarians
returned from the b-ball tourney, having racked up three wins in
(20) The Monastic Chapter met this evening and supported Novice
Anushka's petition to continue with the second half-year of his
(21) To celebrate Shrove Tuesday, we had our special weekly dessert
this evening: the ice cream specialties went quickly! +++ After
Compline, Father Abbot Justin offered his pre-Lenten Conference
beginning, as is our custom, with a reading from Chapter 49 of the
Rule of St. Benedict, "On the Observance of Lent."
(22) Father Abbot Justin presided at our Conventual Mass on this
Ash Wednesday morning. After his homily, he blessed the ashes,
received them from Prior Kurt, and then distributed ashes to him
and the community. We monks also submitted our Bona Opera to the
abbot: a listing of the "extra measure" of prayer, fasting or
charity we intend to practice during this holy season.
(23) This Thursday evening is one of several evenings throughout
this month in which a number of our seminarians are taking part in
the Development Office's annual Phonathon. Every night they spend
several hours, enjoying interesting conversations with our alumni
throughout the country. We're grateful for their generosity with
their time, and for the generosity of our many friends and
(24) Father Eugene is beginning his weekend retreat at our Guest
House and Retreat Center this evening, "Reading the Book of Hosea."
Twenty-eight guests are taking part in this retreat.
(25) Sixty students are on the hill this weekend for another round
of weekend courses. Father Tom Richstatter, OFM, is offering
"Sacraments of Initiation"; Sisters Maria Tasto, OSB, and Kathy
Huber, OSB, from Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, are
offering "A Transformed Life"; and Dr. Alexander Hwang is offering
"Medieval Church History." +++ We received word that Abbot Georg of
Einsiedeln Abbey, our mother house, died today; Abbot Georg
suffered a stroke about a week ago. May he, and all the faithful
departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.
(26) On this First Sunday of Lent, Father Germain is our Mass Heb.
+++ Since Ash Wednesday we've made a slight change in our beginning
the main meal of the day. After the Prayer Before Meals, we sit for
the customary reading from the Rule of St. Benedict and then, when
this reading is finished, we proceed through the serving line.
Father Abbot Justin suggested this as a Lenten practice (with the
intention of it continuing after Lent) to encourage us to be a bit
more attentive to the instruction of our monastic father.
(27) We received word that Father Christian passed the
comprehensive exams for his STL this morning. Congratulations,
Father Christian! Take a short break to celebrate-and then back to
the books! +++ Brother Silas presented the first of our Lenten
conferences this evening in the Chapter Room after Compline,
reflecting upon the opening prayer and preface for this coming
Sunday, the Second Sunday of Lent, with its Gospel account of the
(28) This evening, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago Joseph Perry gave
the annual Black History Lecture in the seminary gallery. He spoke
on "The History and Sanctity of Father Augustus Tolton" who, born
into slavery in 1854, became the first American diocesan priest of
(29) On this "extra day of the year," we pass along the good news
that our confrere, Brother Matthew, currently pursuing graduate
studies at the University of Toronto, has been accepted into the
PhD program. Congratulations to him-and prayerful support to each
of our five monks now in graduate school.
We end February's entries with a quote from the Rule of St.
"At all times the lifestyle of a monk ought to have a Lenten
quality. However, because few have that kind of strength, we urge
them to guard their lives with all purity during these Lenten days.
All should work together at effacing during this holy season the
negligences of other times."
Chapter 49, "The Observance of Lent"
Translation by Father Terence Kardong, OSB, monk of Assumption