Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

August 2013

(1) A beautiful day. The campus is quiet in this time between the Alumni Reunion and the celebration of the investiture of our soon-to-be Novice Dane on August 5 and the monastic profession of our current Novices Bradley and Matthew on August 6. Organist and PBS television host of "The Joy of Music," Diane Bish, was recording in the Archabbey Church today as part of her PBS TV show. Date for airing, TBA.

(2)  Electricians working on the Hill accidentally broke the water main to the monastery, so we were without water for a time. It didn't take too long to restore, though the water was discolored. Fr. Christian is home again. He has been visiting his parents in northern Indiana.

(3) Candidate Dane, under Fr. Meinrad's direction, and Novices Bradley and Matthew, under Fr. Adrian's direction, are on retreat in preparation for entrance into the novitiate and first profession. There was an organ concert in the Archabbey Church in the afternoon.

(4) Fr. Bede was the celebrant and homilist for this 18th Sunday of the Year. Fr. Raymond arrived home from Washington, D.C. to be part of our investiture and first profession celebrations in the days ahead. Br. John Mark left today to give a workshop to the Benedictine monks at the Abbey of Pannonhalma, Hungary. He will go from there to Einsiedeln for a month.

(5) Today, Candidate Dane De Decker was invested with the habit by Archabbot Justin before Vespers, thus beginning his year of novitiate. Of course, this means that he received the corona (tonsure). At dinner, we enjoyed colloquium (talking), while Fr. Guerric, novice/junior master had dinner with Novice Dane's family. There was a reception after Compline for Dane, his guests and monks. Six Trappists (1 candidate, 3 novices and 2 formators) from Gethsemane arrived to participate in today's celebration of the investiture and tomorrow's celebration of first profession. Each year, our novices take a trip to observe the Trappist life at Gethsemane for a couple of days. Two different ways of living the Rule of St. Benedict. As part of their ongoing retreat, Novices Bradley and Matthew had a "desert day" with their retreat director, Fr. Adrian, in a local state forest.

(6) Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration. Fr. Mark presided and preached at the conventual Mass. At Vespers, our two novices professed temporary vows. Novice Bradley became Brother James. Novice Matthew became Brother William. There were many guests; and, with the visiting Trappists and our monks who were home, there were many people. We enjoyed a very nice dinner in the Anselm Dining Room with the guests. There was also a reception after Compline. Unfortunately, work on a new water main forced the shutdown of water to the Guest House and some other buildings on campus; but happily guests were shifted to Anselm and Bede, which we were not affected.

(7) Fr. Richard passed away at about 4:30 p.m. His health had been rapidly declining in the previous few days. The monks had kept vigil with him in the early morning hours; but this was discontinued when he seemed to stabilize. The vigil was supposed to have started up again this evening, but he died peacefully. By chance, Fr. Subprior Guerric had stopped in the room to check on him and was with Fr. Richard when he passed away. May he rest in peace!

(8) Funeral arrangements for Fr. Richard have come together. Family and expositi have been contacted.

(9) Fr. Richard's body was received at the Entry Wing after Noon Prayer. At 7 p.m., the body was transferred in procession to the Archabbey Church, where we prayed the Office of the Dead. Fr. Timothy offered the remembrance. Many co-workers were present.

(10) The funeral liturgy for Fr. Richard was celebrated at 10 a.m. Archabbot Justin presided and preached. After the burial, we joined the guests for lunch in the Anselm Dining Room.

(11) Fr. Adrian presided and preached for the 19th Sunday of the Year.

(12) A quiet day in the monastery. We have two diocesan priests on retreat with us. Many monks are on vacation.

(13) We had two brief electrical outages today. In the morning, we were transferred from our usual electrical supplier to our campus generator; and then, in the afternoon, back again. This was a test of the generator's operation. The outages were brief, and normal power supply seemed present all day.

(14) A wonderfully cool and sunny day! Archabbot Justin presided at First Vespers of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Many monks made solemn vows on this feast in the past.

(15) Archabbot Justin presided and preached at Mass for the Assumption. Deacon John Huether, a Development Office co-worker and college alumnus, assisted as deacon. He was very recently ordained for the Diocese of Evansville. Our numbers were a bit low, so co-workers served as candle and cross bearers; and a young guest served as miter/crozier bearer. Fr. Barnabas, acting MC, fell early this morning and sprained his ankle, so Br. Matthew filled in. Helming Brothers continues some repairs on the roof and ducts of the church.

(16) Retreatants have arrived for Fr. Vincent's weekend retreat at the Guest House on simplicity. There are also weekend courses in the Seminary and School of Theology. Many guests already at Vespers this evening.

(17) Sunny and unseasonably cool weather. Fr. Cletus celebrated his 95th birthday. He sat at the abbot's table for dinner; and we all enjoyed colloquium (talking) and birthday cake in his honor. Fr. Cletus recently rejoined Saint Meinrad after many years at Blue Cloud Abbey, returning to the monastery where he was professed many decades ago. He uses a motorized cart to go long distances, but his mind is sharp and his good humor constant. He is a great example to us all in his fidelity to the common life and prayer.

(18) Fr. Guy presided and preached at the conventual Mass on this 20th Sunday of the Year.

(19) Today is the feast day of Fr. Subprior Guerric. He presided at our community liturgies today; in his honor, we enjoyed colloquium at dinner.

(20) Today is the feast of Fr. Samuel, who has been on assignment away from the monastery for several years.

(21) We celebrate today the patronal feast day of Fr. Pius. The opening of the new school year must be near: five of our new "visiting Benedictines" (student monks from other monasteries) have arrived from Subiaco Abbey (Arkansas), Marmion Abbey (Illinois), and St. Anselm Abbey (New Hampshire). A new student monk from Togo is expected in a couple of days, after the usual trials of trying to get a visa. Workers finished up the work on the exterior boxes that cover the water pipes that were recently installed outside our monastery refectory. The "great doors" on the entry of the monastery received a fresh coating of varnish.

(22) Br. Maurus ended a midweek retreat at the Guest House titled "St. Benedict's Way," with 17 participants. Tomorrow Fr. Eugene will begin a weekend retreat for which there is a waiting list. Obviously, he is an especially popular retreat director. The new visiting Benedictines spent the day taking tours, getting their laundry numbers and bags, meeting yet one more monk of our community, etc.

(23) The monks were invited to a get-acquainted reception with the new seminarians after Compline. A young man who was with us for our "Monastic Observance" (a "come-and-see" week) in December is back for a return visit this weekend.

(24) A number of the monks went over to Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand this afternoon to celebrate the golden jubilee of profession of six of the sisters.

(25) Twenty-first Sunday of the Year. Fr. Patrick presided and preached at the conventual Mass. A new student monk, Br. David N'Djam, arrived from Togo today, after some delay due to visa complications. He had a very long flight: from Togo to Brazil to Atlanta to Louisville! Today is the feast of Fr. Louis Mulcahey.

(26) Hot and humid like August usually is! We finished our book for table reading: Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene, about the train station canteen at North Platte, Nebraska, that served the service men and women who passed through there by train, every day, throughout World War II. We started a new book, a recent biography of St. Catherine of Siena.

(27) Late in the afternoon, a problem was discovered in a steam pipe in Newman Hall, making it necessary to shut off the boilers so that repairs could be made the next day. So the residents of all of the buildings on the Hill, except the Guest House and St. Bede Hall, can expect to wake up to cold showers in the morning. Repairs are expected to be complete later in the day on the 28th.

(28) The repairs were made, and the boilers were back up by early afternoon. The feast day of Fr. Aurelius, Fr. Augustine, and Br. Jacob. Fr. Aurelius lives in the Infirmary, where his physical health is basically good though his mind is not. Fr. Augustine, too, lives in the Infirmary, following a stroke several years ago, but he gets around in his motorized cart; and he is a regular at the Divine Office and conventual Mass. Br. Jacob is busy with computers at the Press and offering some part-time assistance to Group Accommodations in the school. He is a very regular cantor.

(29) A quiet day in the monastery, though the new student monks have been busy with the new Spirituality Week program in the seminary. As part of our table reading this evening, we heard one of the "circular letters" from the Abbot Primate. The Benedictines don't really have a superior general, like many of the other orders have; but we do have an abbot primate in Rome who sort of "oversees" the Benedictine world. Periodically, he sends out a letter to all the monasteries with news from his many travels around the world to visit the various communities and to give us news of the Benedictine school in Rome, San Anselmo.

(30) The last of our returning "visiting" Benedictines, Br. Simon from Atchison, KS, has arrived back, so our full contingent of monk students is now complete. The seminarians have a Day of Recollection on Labor Day, actually beginning on Sunday evening, before classes begin. Archabbot Justin is giving the recollection this year. Prior Kurt emails from Germany that he has arrived safely for the second part of his sabbatical.

(31) A quiet, hot day. We are enjoying wonderful produce from Fr. Colman's garden: tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, to name a few. He has, a couple of times, fried up some green tomatoes for lunch. Br. Martin, the assistant refectorian, buys us some fresh fruit each week-whatever is in season-so we have been enjoying peaches, nectarines, plums and cantaloupe. So far, no watermelon ….

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.