(1) This first day of the new month was a rather calm one-both
weather- and event-wise. We're hoping it has set a good tone!
(2) Today is the actual 25th anniversary of the episcopal
ordination of Archbishop Daniel. Several of the archbishop's
brother bishops helped him celebrate. Bishop Charles Thompson of
Evansville presided at a Mass in our Infirmary Chapel, at which
Archbishop Daniel concelebrated, along with Archbishop Peter
Sartain of Seattle and Bishops Timothy Doherty
(Lafayette-in-Indiana), Paul Etienne (Cheyenne), and Bishops
Emeriti William Higi of Lafayette-in-Indiana and Gerald
Gettelfinger of Evansville. The bishops joined us in choir dress
for Vespers, and Archbishop Sartain offered a special homily. After
prayers, the archbishop and his brother bishops and a number of his
family adjourned to the President's Dining Room in our seminary for
a special supper. We welcome the archbishop's friends and family,
and we congratulate Archbishop Daniel on his faithful service to
(3) After Midday Prayer we invested Jim Calabro of Kokomo,
Indiana, as an oblate novice. God's blessings on all our
(4) Father Julian presided and preached at our Conventual Mass
this morning, although Father Jeremy is assigned for the rest of
the week. Due to retreats and groups, we had an especially large
crowd join us for the Eucharist. +++ Father Harry concluded his
weekend retreat, "Praying the Psalms," which he offered to 29
participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center. ++ A Jesuit
novice from Louisiana, making his "novitiate pilgrimage," joined us
for Mass and the noonday meal. He's on his way to Creighton
University, Omaha, and then on to Dallas. We wish him safe
(5) Abbot Justin returned from Indianapolis today, where he was
attending a meeting of the Indiana Bishops and Religious Superiors.
+++ Father Denis gave the second of our Lenten Conferences in the
Chapter Room after Compline this evening.
(6) The seminarian community began one of their bi-annual
Formation Days this evening; the topic is on the establishing and
maintaining of professional boundaries.
(7) Mass Heb Father Jeremy preached at the 7:30 a.m. Conventual
Mass this morning. +++ This was a "classic March day," with the
temperature reaching 60 degrees and a breezy 20- to 25-mile per
(8) We've received word from Einsiedeln Abbey that, almost eight
weeks after his accident, Abbot Martin has returned to the abbey.
Brother Thomas, a monk from Einsiedeln who is spending the year
with us, reports that "after an exhausting time filled with
therapies, the plan is for him to have some quiet rest and take his
time to come back, step by step, to the daily life." We continue
our prayers for a full recovery for Abbot Martin!
(9) It's a "long weekend" in the seminary, and so faculty and
students alike have a bit of extra time on their hands-to relax,
recover, catch up or get ahead! +++ Nine priests, approaching the
first anniversary of their ordination (five of whom are alumni),
concluded their week-long "Settling into Priesthood" retreat today,
sponsored by our Institute for Priests and Presbyterates. We pray
they return to their parishes with grace and enthusiasm
(10) Lots of cell-cleaning going on in the house this Saturday
morning: Father Abbot began a "Lenten inspection" of each monk's
room this past week, and those visits will continue throughout the
coming week. It's a chance for each monk to take a look around and
see what he doesn't need or what someone else might be able to use
more, and offers always the embarrassing reminder of how easy it is
to accumulate "stuff" over a year's time.
(11) Father Jeremy presided and preached at our Eucharist on
this Third Sunday of Lent. Father Julian will assume the Mass Heb
(12) Father Brendan gave the third of our Lenten Conferences in
the Chapter Room after Compline this evening.
(13) Archbishop Daniel is back in his infirmary cell. Around
noon yesterday he fell, and because he hit his head and had some
bleeding, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Jasper. He
had five staples put into his scalp to suture the wound, and is now
under the excellent care given by our nurses.
(14) Father Vincent is halfway through offering the midweek
retreat, "To Jerusalem and Beyond," to 20 participants at our Guest
House and Retreat Center. +++ Father Cyprian and Brother Benjamin
drove to Indianapolis to visit Father Boniface, who has been moved
back to the rehab center from an Indianapolis hospital. There's no
significant change in Father's condition, but the care he needs is
better provided at the center.
(15) It's the Ides of March, but all seems safe and secure on
(16) This evening Brother Adam began offering his weekend
retreat, "Searching for What's Missing," to 25 participants at our
Guest House and Retreat Center.
(17) A busy weekend on the hill. Among the groups visiting: 13
individuals from Our Lady of Grace, Noblesville, Indiana, on a RCIA
retreat; 49 guests from the New Hope Academy Youth Retreat,
Franklin, Tennessee; and 18 youngsters from St. John Catholic
Church, Loogootee, Indiana, preparing for their Confirmation. +++
St. Patrick's Day, and so we wish Father Patrick-and all who claim
a part of the green-God's blessings! +++ Our visiting Benedictines
spent a good part of the day in Evansville-an outing, which no
doubt allowed a pleasant change of place, scenery and activity. +++
After Midday Prayer in the Archabbey Church, we received the
oblation of Eric and Diane Batsie of Deland, Illinois. God's
blessings on all our oblates!
(18) Fourth Sunday of Lent-or, as it is officially called,
Laetare Sunday. Father Vincent presided and preached at our 9:30
a.m. Conventual Mass. +++ This evening the St. Mark's Formation
House of our seminary joined us for Vespers, and then supper in our
refectory. Father Julian is the dean of the house, and seminarian
Dexter Noblefranca, a deacon studying for the Diocese of Memphis,
is prefect. +++ We offer feast day greetings to Father Christian,
who is at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.,
pursuing graduate studies. Fr. Christian is one of five our monks
currently off on "educational assignment."
(19) We celebrate this Solemnity of St. Joseph as an O.P.
(Officium Prioris), but follow our weekday schedule.
Father Prior Kurt presided at our 7:30 a.m. Eucharist, and Deacon
Brother Romain Botta, a monk from Togo, Africa, preached. +++ We
ordinarily abstain from wine at our main meals during Lent, except
on Sundays, but on this feast we enjoyed the fruit of the grapes
along with our food. +++ Father Prior Kurt gave the fourth and last
of our Lenten Conferences in the Chapter Room after Compline this
(20) Father Timothy returned from his assignment at Blue Cloud
Abbey, South Dakota, to begin offering the oblate retreat this
evening. About 70 of our oblates are participating in "Come Away by
Yourselves to a Deserted Place and Rest Awhile: Mark 6:31."
(21) On this Solemnity of the Passing of our monastic father,
St. Benedict, we followed our Sunday schedule: Vigils and Lauds at
7 a.m., and the Conventual Mass at 9:30. Archabbot Justin presided
and Deacon Brother Guerric Letter of Conception Abbey who, as is
Brother Romain (who preached on St. Joseph's Day), finishing his
last year of seminary studies with us, preached. (Our third
visiting deacon and monk, Brother Anthony Baker of Assumption
Abbey, North Dakota, will offer the homily this coming Monday, the
transferred feast of the Annunciation.) +++ The monastic community
enjoyed a social after Midday Prayer and then settled down to a
fine meal. +++ After Vespers this evening, we joined many of our
oblates for a supper buffet in the Newman Dining Room.
(22) Saving a bit of past, but unique, news for a "slow news
day": this past weekend saw the razing of the Esser and Ritter
Houses-two stand-alone, six or so room houses about 150 yards
southwest of the Guest House and Retreat Center. The Esser House
was "deconstructed" first, to allow some "working space" for the
Ritter House to be set afire and used for practice by our volunteer
fire department. We'll soon begin construction of a "House of
Reflection" on that site-a facility designed and designated
especially for the families of monks who come for a several-day
visit, and also for monks who may wish to use it for a day of
recollection or even some of their vacation time.
(23) This evening Father Godfrey begins offering a weekend
retreat to 30 members of the St. Bartholomew's Parish (Columbus,
Indiana) Woman's Group at our Guest House and Retreat Center.
(24) We received word that our Father Boniface Hardin, OSB, died
in the rehab center in Indianapolis late this morning. Regular
readers of "About the House" may recall that Father suffered a
stroke this past August, and has been in and out of hospital and
rehab since then. Father Boniface spent most of his monastic life
with and at the Martin Center, which he founded in 1969, and Martin
University, of which he was co-founder in 1977. Because of his
long-standing work and relationships with the Indianapolis
community, some services and memorials will be held there before we
receive his body for burial at Saint Meinrad later in the week.
(25) Father Meinrad is our Heb on this Fifth Sunday of Lent. +++
It's a busy week for many of our students. About 70 lay degree
students are here for weekend courses taught by Fr. Tom
Richstatter, OFM ("Sacraments of Initiation"), Sisters Maria Tasto,
OSB, and Kathy Huber, OSB, from Monastery Immaculate Conception in
Ferdinand ("A Transformed Life"), and Dr. Alexander Hwang
("Medieval Church History").
(26) Monday, and we celebrate the (transferred from yesterday)
Solemnity of the Annunciation. An O.P.-ranked feast, Father Prior
Kurt presided and Deacon Brother Anthony Baker, from Assumption
Abbey, South Dakota, who is concluding his seminary studies with us
this spring, preached.
(27) Arrangements are being completed for the memorial services,
funeral Mass and burial of Father Boniface. Tomorrow at Martin
University in Indianapolis there will be an all-day viewing,
concluding with a Community Prayer Service in the evening. On
Thursday the 29th, Apostolic Administrator of the
Archdiocese Christopher Coyne will preside at a funeral liturgy at
Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, after which Father's
body will be brought to Saint Meinrad.
(28) About 36 students from Trinity High School, Whitesville,
Kentucky, arrived; they're making a short retreat and will conclude
(29) We received the body of Father Boniface at our entry way at
seven o'clock this evening and, after a brief ceremony of blessing
and prayer, took him in procession into the Archabbey Church.
Father Prior presided at the Office of the Dead; Father Cyprian, a
long-time friend and co-worker of Father Boniface, and Father
Vincent, Father Boniface's profession classmate (1954), served as
assistants. Father Abbot Justin offered the remembrance.
(30) Father Abbot Justin presided at the 10 o'clock funeral Mass
for Father Boniface; Father Cyprian delivered the homily. Burial
followed in the Archabbey Cemetery. Father Boniface was 78 years
old, in the 57th year of his monastic profession, and
the 52nd of his priesthood. May his soul, and the souls
of all the faithful departed, rest in peace!
(31) We have two retreat groups with us on the hill this
weekend, both of which began their programs yesterday and will
conclude tomorrow. Eleven participants from the Archdiocese of
Indianapolis Youth Ministry Certificate Program are here, and 19
guests are taking part in Brother Maurus' weekend retreat, "St.
We end March's entries with a quote from the Rule of
As often as important questions
have to be dealt with in the monastery, the abbot should convene
the whole community and himself tell them what is involved.… The
brothers, however, should offer their advice with all deference and
humility, and not presume to assert their views in a bold
Chapter 3, "On Calling the Brothers for Counsel"
Translation by Fr. Terence Kardong, OSB, a monk of Assumption