(1) On this Solemnity of All Saints, we followed our "Sunday
Schedule." Father Abbot Justin presided and preached at our 9:30
Conventual Mass, and we enjoyed a fine meal with
colloquium at noon. +++ Later in the
afternoon, Father Abbot blessed "The Ravens," the just-completed,
newest construction project on our hill. This three-bedroom house,
complete with living / dining room, kitchen, laundry room, and
screened-in patio, will be used by the families of monks who come
for a stay of several days, as well as by those monks who may wish
to use it for part of their vacation or for a day of recollection.
The house is located roughly on the site of the old "Ritter" and
"Esser" houses (about 500 feet southwest of our Guest House and
Retreat Center), which were torn down earlier this year. We're most
grateful to a benefactor who surprised us all by generously funding
the entire project. +++ We welcome 37 eighth-grade
students and staff from St. Pius X in Indianapolis, here for a
(2) We celebrate Mass on this Commemoration of All Souls as an
O.A.-ranked feast, and so Father Abbot Justin again presided at our
Conventual Eucharist at 7:30. After Mass, we followed our age-old
custom of processing to the monastic cemetery, where Father Abbot
blessed the graves-over 280 of them-with holy water and some
prayers. Our seminarians made their customary procession to the
cemetery after their Night Prayer yesterday; some of the candles
they had placed on the headstones were still flickering as we
conducted our remembrances.
(3) Brother Martin is halfway through offering his weekend
retreat, "Living Monastic Values in Everyday Life," to 19
participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center. +++
Father Vincent led 80 members of our Abbot Martin Marty Guild in a
morning and afternoon retreat; he spoke about "Being Christian."
This year the Guild is 20 years old. Its namesake, Martin Marty,
was the first abbot of Saint Meinrad (1870-1880); its members are
known for their leadership in offering financial support for our
work. +++ And also this year, this day, Brother
Benedict turns 93! Following our custom, he was seated at the
abbot's table for our main meal this evening, and we had cake and
colloquium in his honor. With the aid of a walker, Brother
Benedict continues to join us faithfully in choir and in the
refectory. We admire his perseverance, and wish him ad multos
(4) Father Eugene, our Mass Heb, presided and preached on this
Thirty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time. He was assisted by Deacon
Julio Barrera, a seminarian studying for our neighboring diocese
(5) After Compline this evening, the monastic community
processed to the Chapter Room to discuss and vote on some internal
business of the monastery.
(6) Father Eugene presided and preached at our Conventual
Eucharist this morning and, in consideration of this National Day
of Election, used the prayers the Roman Missal provides for "our
country." +++ Throughout the morning and afternoon,
Brothers Dominic and Angelo were available to shuttle monks back
and forth to the St. Meinrad Community Center "downtown," the
official voting site for our township. A few stout and sturdy
souls, anticipating ultimate results only in the wee hours of the
morning, had declared their intention to stay up throughout the
night. By 10 o'clock CST and President Obama's electoral
count nearing 250, however, most had acknowledged his re-election
was probable. We ask God's blessings on President Obama, and upon
all those re-elected and newly elected throughout our land.
(7) Father Vincent is halfway offering a week-long retreat to
seven priests at our Guest House and Retreat Center; his topic is
"Manly Strength: Priestly Virtues, Servant Virtues."
(8) Many of our alumni will remember Rose Ranno, the "dear
elderly woman from New York" (Chestnut Ridge,NY), who took a
sabbatical at Saint Meinrad from 2000 to 2009! In her 90s, Rose
died this past Saturday, November 3. Rose was a Saint Meinrad
Oblate; Father Meinrad, our director of oblates, will be
representing us at her funeral.
(9) This feast of the Anniversary of the Dedication of the
Lateran Basilica (the "Mother and Head of all the Churches in the
City of Rome and the world") is an O.P.-ranked feast and so Father
Prior Kurt presided at our Conventual Mass. Father Eugene
preached. +++ Beginning this morning, the health of
Father Simeon began to take a decided turn for the worse. Shortly
after Compline, Father Abbot Justin, assisted by Father Prior Kurt
and Father Julian, anointed Father Simeon, and we began our custom
of "visitation" - the volunteering by various monks to spend an
hour with our ill confrere in what may be his final hours.
+++ Father Gregory was admitted to St. Mary's Hospital in
Evansville this morning, suffering from internal bleeding. That
has, apparently, been treated successfully. Father Gregory
continues to undergo tests, and we expect him to remain in the
hospital at least through Sunday. We retire this evening keeping
all our aged and ill confreres in our prayers, especially Father
Simeon and Father Gregory.
(10) Father Simeon died this evening, just after eight o'clock.
Fathers Prior Kurt, Julian, and Cletus, and his niece Theresa, were
with him as he breathed his last. By all standards, his death
seemed peaceful, and it was indeed a blessing that Theresa had
arrived from St. Louis only a few hours before. May Father Simeon,
and all the faithful departed, rest in peace!
(11) Father Timothy is our Mass Heb for this 32nd
Sunday (and week) in Ordinary Time. +++ About 25
seminarians of our seminary's St. Matthew Formation House joined us
for Vespers, and then supper in our refectory, this evening. Father
Patrick is the dean of the house, and Deacon Kevin Hurley of the
Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana is the house prefect.
+++ Father Jeremy concluded offering the weekend retreat "The
Eucharist and the Church" to eight participants at our Guest House
and Retreat Center. +++ About 50 students of our lay
degree program took part in another round of weekend courses.
Courses and teachers were "Eucharist," taught by Fr. Thomas
Richstatter, OFM; "Christian Ethics," taught by Fr. Mark O'Keefe,
OSB; "Listening in Pastoral Ministry," by Dr. Tom Robbins; and
"American Catholic Identity: Catechetical Perspectives," led by Dr.
(12) A "New Pastors, Year 2" workshop, sponsored by our
Institute for Priests and Presbyterates, began its five-day program
today for four participants, two of whom are recent alumni of our
seminary. +++ John, the 90-year-old father of Father
Jonathan, died this morning. Father Jonathan's mother, a few years
older, preceded him in death earlier this year. Both had been in a
nursing home for some time. The funeral liturgy and burial will be
this Friday in Mishawaka, Indiana. May his parents, and all the
faithful departed, rest in peace!
(13) After Midday Prayer, we received the body of Father Simeon
at our entry way. A monk is brought through these "great doors"
only twice during his life: at his novitiate, as he is led into the
monastery by his novice master, and after his death, as six of his
confreres walk his coffin into our house. The brief ceremony
includes the blessing of the body with holy water and the placing
of the monk's vow chart on top of his coffin. In place of Compline
this evening, we prayed the Office of the Dead, which included a
personal "remembrance" of Father Simeon, prepared and offered by
(14) The Archabbey Church was filled this morning with the
family and friends of Father Simeon, as we began his funeral
liturgy at 10 o'clock. Our seminarians also joined us, and a number
of them assisted by serving as cross and candle bearers, and miter
and crozier bearers. Ann Rohleder, our director of health services,
proclaimed the first reading. Father Abbot Justin presided and
preached. As the Mass concluded, we processed to the cemetery:
crossbearer, monastic community, coffin carried by six monks,
ministers and guests. At the cemetery, Father Abbot blessed the
grave and, after the monk-pallbearers lowered the coffin into the
ground with ropes and hooks, emptied a shovel of dirt onto it. Once
the prayers were concluded, Father Abbot and the ministers, and
then the monks and guests, sprinkled Father Simeon's coffin in a
final gesture of blessing and farewell.
(15) A quiet day outside; a very busy day inside, as many of our
seminarians scrambled to get papers and projects completed before
the Thanksgiving break begins. It is a generous break indeed,
beginning tomorrow and ending the Sunday after Thanksgiving!
(16) A number of us attended the funeral Mass and burial of
Virginia Ringeman, the 80-year-old mother of Donna Balbach, whom
many of our (especially) recent alumni will know from her (still
continuing) work as the seminary's administrative secretary and
registrar. +++ This evening at The Unstable, Father
Abbot Justin and Father Prior Kurt, in the name of the monastic
community, hosted our infirmary and health care co-workers and
their spouses (or a guest) to a pizza buffet. Fathers Prior and
Patrick and Brothers Martin and John Mark prepared the pizzas.
Brother Martin also presented each of our co-workers with an
original print of his, and each co-worker and guest returned home
toting a loaf of our Abbey Bread. It was a fun evening with fine
people. We appreciate our co-workers in all our departments, and we
will have another celebration with those departments this
(17) About 20 monks enjoyed "Monk Lunch" at The UnStable, with
Fathers Prior Kurt and Patrick picking up in the oven department
from where they left off last night. They were joined by
"associate" pizza maker Brother Silas (still in his "pizza
internship") and Novice Bradley who, well, began his pizza
novitiate. We believe he has a promising career. +++
Brother Zachary is halfway through his weekend retreat "The God of
Mercy," which he is offering to 13 participants at our Guest House
and Retreat Center.
(18) On this 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Father
Joseph, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at our Conventual
Eucharist. About 120 of our co-workers joined us for Mass, after
which we adjourned to the Alumni Commons for conversation and
refreshments. We are grateful to the fine men and women who work
with us, for us, alongside us. We are proud-and humbled-to consider
them part of our Saint Meinrad family. +++ Several
groups were here on the hill this weekend. Six guests were taking
part in the Tell City Women's Retreat, and 30 young boys and girls
from St. John Catholic Church in Loogootee, Indiana, were making
their retreat in preparation for Confirmation.
(19) We had our customary special Monday desserts this evening.
After Compline, we processed to the Chapter Room, where Father
Abbot Justin offered us his monthly conference.
(20) This Thanksgiving week promises to be a quiet one on the
hill. Only a handful of our seminarians remain on the hill. Our
novices and juniors did some shopping for our Thanksgiving eve
(21) After supper we adjourned to the calefactory, our "common
room," and enjoyed a table of special wines, cheeses, pastries and
sweets. Continuing our custom of the past few years, we also took
time to recall and reflect upon the blessings we, as a community,
and a number of us as individuals, have experienced during the past
12 months. Brother Silas led us in a reflection that included books
and articles published, renovations completed, new members-young
novices and jubilarian monks from Blue Cloud-welcomed, three
seminary halls fully occupied….
(22) Father Joseph, our Mass Heb for the week, presided and
preached on this Thanksgiving Day. We followed our Sunday schedule,
and so enjoyed a slightly later-than-usual rising time and the
praying of Vigils and Lauds. A number of guests, including the
family members of several monks, joined us in the Anselm Dining
Room for the midday meal, which featured turkey and all the
traditional trimmings. We know we have much for which to be
thankful, and many to whom to be grateful. May God bless those who
support us, and may we always know how to share our resources and
gifts with those in need.
(23) It's been said that in the monastery the day after
Thanksgiving is the quietest day of the year. It does seem to be
the case. Familiar sights during these days: monks reading books,
taking walks, dozing discreetly in the calefactory…. Norman
Rockwell would love this scene!
(24) Peace and quiet continue to reign on the hill. There are no
objections! +++ We began our celebration of the
Solemnity of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Church year,
with I Vespers, with Father Prior Kurt presiding.
(25) Father Prior Kurt presided and preached on this O.P.-ranked
solemnity of Christ the King. +++ Evansville Bishop
Charles Thompson, also an alumnus of our seminary (Theology '87),
presided at our Eucharist in the Infirmary Chapel this morning. He
continued his visit with Archbishop Daniel and with us by joining
us for the midday meal in our refectory. Father Abbot Justin is
enjoying the last of a short vacation he began Thursday afternoon,
but all six places at the abbot's table were occupied: in addition
to the "usuals" (Archabbot Bonaventure, Prior Kurt and Subprior
Guerric), Archabbot Lambert (home for a week), Archbishop Daniel
and Bishop Charles enjoyed being first in the serving line!
(26) The Most Reverend Joseph Tobin, who will be in installed as
the Archbishop of Indianapolis a week from today, arrived last
night to make a private retreat this week. He has a room in our
house, is joining us in choir and is taking his meals in the
refectory with us. This evening after supper, we invited him into
our calefactory for a mutual introduction, and enjoyed some
brownies and cordials. We certainly offer our prayerful support to
Bishop Tobin, as he prepares for his ministry as our diocesan
(27) It's been a rough day for some monks, medically speaking.
Brother Benedict fell in his cell today; fortunately, x-rays
revealed no broken bones. Father Godfrey was having some procedures
to remove kidney stones, so he'll be taking it a bit easy at St.
Mary's Parish, Huntingburg, over the next few days. And Brother
Simon, a Benedictine from St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, Kansas,
is in the hospital for a few days, getting an old toe injury looked
after. We're grateful for the expert care our infirmary staff give
us. They have no trouble keeping busy, and they've almost always a
smile on their face, no matter how busy they are!
(28) Brother Peduru, our junior monk in his first year of
profession, has taken up temporary residence in our infirmary.
Brother comes from Sri Lanka-a fine place, but a place where he
never had a chance to develop immunity to chickenpox. He's paying
the price now! Temporarily quarantined, he's maintaining contact
with the rest of us through visits with his nurses and, of course,
voice- and e-mails.
(29) Archbishop Tobin is spending his last evening with us;
he'll be heading up to Indianapolis tomorrow, taking care of the
final preparations before being installed as Archbishop of
Indianapolis on Monday, December 3, the feast of St. Francis
Xavier, co-patron of the archdiocese. He seems to have enjoyed his
days of retreat with us; we've certainly enjoyed getting to know
him a bit. We wish him well, and a number of us will be traveling
to Indianapolis on Sunday and Monday for his installation.
(30) Our Mass Heb, Father Germain, presided at our Conventual
Mass on this feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, and Deacon Brother
Victor, a monk from Conception Abbey, Conception, Missouri, offered
the homily. +++ About 23 students from Greenville
College, Greenville, Illinois, will be arriving today to begin a
weekend retreat at our Guest House and Retreat Center.
See you next month! We close with a reverent nod to some of St.
Benedict's practical, down-to-earth advice about matters both
sacred and secular:
The brother who is the weekly reader
should receive some doctored wine before he reads. This is because
of the Holy Communion and because he may find it difficult to
endure the fast…. The brothers are not to read or sing in order,
but only those who edify the listeners.
Chapter 38, "The Weekly Reader"
Translation by Fr. Terence Kardong, OSB, monk of Assumption