Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

January 2012

(1) On this first day of the new year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Father Prior Kurt presided, and Father Cyprian preached, at the Conventual Mass. We had colloquium at our noonday meal. 

+++  Archbishop Daniel has been having kidney problems these past days, and so he was taken, by car, to Indianapolis this afternoon for admittance to the hospital and further testing. He, and all of our ill and aging confreres, is in our prayers daily-as we daily enjoy the expert and caring concerns of our infirmary staff.

(2) Archbishop Daniel was successfully treated at St. Vincent's Hospital, Indianapolis, today; we expect his return to the hill tomorrow. 

+++  The six young men who had been with us since December 26th concluded their participation in our "Monastic Observance" program and returned to their respective homes yesterday. They seem to have benefited from their time with us and, of course, we hope we will see some of them again! We continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

(3) Archbishop Daniel returned to his infirmary cell this afternoon, in good spirits and better health. 

+++  About 10 of our monks serve as chaplains for the sisters of Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, alternating days of presiding and preaching at their daily Eucharist, hearing confessions and attending to other spiritual needs. This evening many of them attended Vespers and then a reception/supper at Ferdinand, graciously offered by the sisters as an expression of thanks for their ministry this past year.

(4) A quiet Wednesday on the hill, the special feature of the day being our "ordinary special Wednesday evening desserts" after supper.

(5) Thirty seminarians from the Bishop Simon Brute Formation House in Indianapolis are making their annual retreat here on the hill. Father Bob Robeson, an alumnus and associate vocation director of the Archdiocese, is with them for these days of prayer and renewal.

(6) Brother Hugh had successful outpatient foot surgery; he'll be recuperating for the next few weeks. 

+++  Father Colman returned to the monastery, after a several-year period of exclaustration. He's moved into his new cell and is eager to catch up on things. Rumor has it that it won't be too long before the Prior adds his name to the house assignments list!

(7) We received the oblation of Richard Cooper of Corydon, Indiana, in the Archabbey Church after Midday Prayer. May God bless the prayer and work of all our oblates!

(8) Sunday, the Solemnity of the Epiphany. Father Abbot presided and preached at the Conventual Mass, and we continued our celebration in the refectory by having colloquium at our noonday meal.

(9) Monday, the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, and surely it is only a coincidence that, due to a water main break, the county has put us under a "boil water order"! So, it's taking a bit of extra time to make coffee, and thirsts are being refreshed by dozens of plastic bottles. 

+++  We did bless our baptismal water at Mass this morning (no boiling there); Father Sean, Mass Heb, presided, and Brother Romain, a deacon and one of our visiting Benedictines from Togo, West Africa, preached.

(10) Tuesday, our second day under the boil order, but it seems as though all will be back in order by tomorrow.

(11) The carpet in our common room, the calefactory, was cleaned today, so some foot traffic was rerouted and we enjoyed our Wednesday "special desserts" in the refectory. And, once again we have living water!

(12) Our first snow of the season-the first that actually stuck to anything. Only about a half-inch fell, but it lasted long enough for many to sit back by the fireplace and enjoy the scenery for a while.

(13) We received word that Abbot Martin Werlen of Einsiedeln Abbey, our mother house in Switzerland, received a serious head injury while playing volleyball (at Einsiedeln) today. After an initial visit to the hospital in the town of Einsiedeln, he was transported to University Hospital in Zurich. Our latest report today says he is in a coma.

(14) Thankfully, Abbot Martin seems to be making progress. Still considered in serious condition, he is showing some response to the words and presence of others. Abbot Martin is an alumnus of Saint Meinrad: he spent two semesters with us in 1987-1988, taking some courses in pastoral studies prior to his ordination to the priesthood.

(15) Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. Father Jeremy, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at the 9:30 Conventual Mass. 

+++  This month and next, we have a number of "Saint Meinrad Sundays" scheduled, and so many of the monastery's priests will be spending the weekend in parishes throughout the Indianapolis and Evansville dioceses.

(16) The 167 participants in Delta Chi "A"s' Academy annual meeting concluded today. Members of the Academy have been coming to the hill long enough now that the fraternity is considering it a "tradition."

(17) Abbot Martin seems to be recovering slowly but steadily. Brother Thomas, our Einsiedeln confrere studying with us this year, tells us that he probably won't be receiving any more immediate news, short of something unexpected occurring.

(18) On this Wednesday we began, with the Universal Church, to commemorate the Octave for Church Unity. Father Jeremy, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at our Conventual Mass.

(19) Candidate Matthew Scheeser was clothed with the scapular in a brief ceremony in our entryway just before Vespers. He then led the community in procession into the Archabbey Church. We continued celebrating the beginning of his novitiate with colloquium at supper, and then a chocolate and liqueur social in the calefactory after Compline.

(20) Father Archabbot Justin presided at First Vespers of the Solemnity of our patron this evening. 

+++  After Compline, at "Jack's in the Commons," we enjoyed a social with many of the seminarians. They will be heading to Washington, D.C., Sunday for the annual Right to Life March, and so this was the most convenient time for us to celebrate-non-liturgically-the solemnity of St. Meinrad.

(21) And on this Saturday we did celebrate liturgically! Archabbot Justin, on what is also the seventh anniversary of his election as our abbot, presided and preached at our 9:30 Conventual Eucharist. We prayed Midday Prayer at 11:30-30 minutes earlier than usual-to allow the monks to enjoy a social in the calefactory, before a fine noonday meal of turkey with all the stuffings. 

+++  In this solemnity of our patronal saint, we especially remember the living and deceased parents of the monks of Saint Meinrad for their financial and spiritual support-and their very visible contributions!-to the monastic community.

(22) Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, and Father Joseph is our Mass Heb.  +++  Father Abbot Justin presided at Mass in the parish in downtown St. Meinrad this morning, as part of the town's conclusion of the celebration of its 150th anniversary.

(23) Thirty participants concluded their several-day high school reunion on the hill today. Congratulations to the St. Xavier High School Group from Louisville!

(24) We received word that Abbot Martin of Einsiedeln has been released from University Hospital in Zurich and is now in a rehabilitation home closer to Einsiedeln Abbey. He seems to be making slow, steady progress.

(25) On this feast of the conversion of St. Paul, we mark the end of the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity. Brother Romain preached at our Conventual Mass.  +++  This is the feast day of Father Paul-one of five confreres currently pursuing graduate studies. Father Paul is in Rome, working on his doctorate in Sacred Scripture.

(26) A grey and drizzly day, all day. Abbot Bonaventure, admitted to the infirmary for a bit of "extra watch" yesterday, is back in his cell and, as usual, is very much up and about.

(27) After almost a half-year of declining health, Father Donald Walpole died this afternoon. Several of our health care personnel and confreres were with him. Father Donald was 94 years old. 

+++  Elizabeth Wourms of Beavercreek, Ohio, was invested as an oblate novice in the Archabbey Church after Midday Prayer.

(28) About 70 of our lay degree students are on the hill this weekend; classes include "Sacraments of Initiation" (taught by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, OFM), "A Transformed Life" (taught by Sisters Maria Tasto, OSB, and Kathy Huber, OSB, of Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand), and "Medieval Church History" (taught by Dr. Alexander Hwang). 

+++  We received the oblation of Larry Barnes of Muncie, Indiana, in the Archabbey Church after Midday Prayer. May God bless all our oblates! 

+++  Many enjoyed the choral music program presented this afternoon in the Archabbey Church by the Bloomington, Indiana, Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and Musicians. The 90-minute program included compositions for organ and chorus, as well as readings reflecting on the mystery of the Incarnation. The works were conducted and played by more than 10 different conductors and organists.

(29) We received the body of Father Donald at the entryway of the monastery after Midday Prayer. Father Prior Kurt led the community in the reception, which included a chant and a brief reading from the Rule. This evening at seven o'clock, we prayed the traditional Office of the Dead. Father Prior Kurt presided and two of the monastery's artists (Father Donald was a splendid artist!), Brother Kim and Brother Martin, served as assistants. Archabbot Bonaventure, who professed his monastic vows two years to the day before Father Donald professed his, offered the remembrance. 

+++  Father Adrian concluded the weekend retreat, "Prayer: What is It, Really?" to 44 participants from Good Shepherd Parish in Evansville.

(30) We began the funeral liturgy of Father Donald at 10 o'clock this morning. Father Archabbot Justin presided, and Father Germain preached. Burial in our cemetery followed, and then our guests joined us for a buffet lunch in the Anselm Dining Room. This evening, another of our confreres, Father Eric, died at the age of 92. He, too, had been in declining health for some time.

(31) This past Saturday evening (the 28th), the mother of Father Jonathan died at the age of 97. She and her husband-90 years old, still living-had been married 63 years. Our condolences to Father Jonathan and John, his father, and may Mrs. Fassero, and all the faithful departed, rest in peace!

Monthly Quote

We end January's entries with a quote from the Rule of St. Benedict:

"In his commands, [the Abbot] should be farsighted and thoughtful. And whether it is a question of spiritual or material matters, he should give prudent and moderate orders…. He should arrange everything so that the strong are challenged and the feeble are not overwhelmed."

Chapter 64, "The Installation of the Abbot"
Translation by Fr. Terence Kardong, OSB, monk of Assumption Abbey

Each day the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey write another page in the long history of Benedictine monks throughout the world. Here Father Prior Kurt reports on some of last month's events at Saint Meinrad.