Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

July 2013

Note: After July 5, Fr. Mark, the acting prior, reports while Fr. Prior Kurt is on sabbatical.

(1) Fr. Sebastian arrived back on the Hill late this evening, traveling from his teaching assignment at The Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut. He'll be with us a good part of the summer, before returning to teach another term.

(2) Our calefactory-our common recreation and gathering room-has a fireplace, and fireplaces have chimneys, and chimneys need occasional cleaning. Better to do it in the summer when no fires are needed, and such was done today by an outside company. There's no way we're thinking of heat these days, but we'll be ready five or six months from now!

(3) Today is the feast of the Apostle Thomas, and we were pleased to have our Fr. Thomas preside and preach. He's home from Leuven, Belgium, for part of the summer, where he's been doing graduate work.

(4) We followed our weekday schedule on this Independence Day, but there were a few special things to note. Fr. Germain, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at the Conventual Mass, offering a fine reflection on our national holiday. In the evening, we enjoyed a "mini-social" in the calefactory after Vespers, and around six o'clock were treated to a "cook-out/eat-in" in the refectory. Brothers Zachary and John Mark did the grilling of our classic Fourth of July food: burgers 'n dogs.

(5) I've spent most of today packing and clearing my desk, in preparation for my four-month sabbatical, which begins tomorrow. I hand "About the House" over to Father Mark, who will competently and creatively keep you informed about the happenings in our house through early November.

(6) Fr. Prior Kurt left on his well-deserved sabbatical. Fr. Mark will serve as "pro-prior" (acting prior) until November 6 and therefore make entries in "About the House" until then.

(8) Fr. Eugene's feast day. Fr. Thomas left after a visit of a couple of weeks to visit with his family before returning to Leuvain in Belgium to complete his dissertation for a doctorate in philosophy. He is working on the thought of Edith Stein. We had a chapter meeting in the evening for the annual financial report and to consider petitions for entrance to the novitiate and for first profession.

(9) Fr. Christian is home from The Catholic University to help with the third and final One Bread, One Cup (OBOC) conference for this summer. He is making good progress on his dissertation. The monastic community was invited to an ice cream social with the OBOC participants.

(10) The town of St. Meinrad is currently under a boil water order, at least until Saturday, July 13. Fortunately, thanks to our co-workers' foresight, we have been storing additional water here on the Hill in anticipation of this event, saving us from the boil order. Still, we have been encouraged to try to conserve water; because, if our stores run low, we too will be under that order, especially if it is extended beyond Saturday.

(11) Today we celebrated the Feast of St. Benedict and of all Benedictine Saints. Fr. Mark presided and preached. It is our local custom to celebrate the Solemnity of St. Benedict in March.

(12) The last of the three OBOC conferences ended this morning, though the college interns who provide the staff will remain for a few days. This evening, two young men arrived for a "come-and-see" weekend for the monastery. (Pray for vocations!)

(13) In the afternoon, some of the monks joined the OBOC interns for an ice cream social in the Alumni Commons. Games followed, and the monks were soundly defeated. The boil order in town was lifted, so we are free of our special water conservation warning. "Monk Movie Night" featured "The Princess Bride."

(14) A quiet Sunday. Many monks are away for weekend work, vacation, or other work of various kinds. No big weekend groups. The priests who are doing the mini-sabbatical sponsored by the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates join us for various liturgies. Fr. Colman presided and preached at the conventual Mass.

(15) Today is the feast day of Abbot Bonaventure, still going strong at 94 years old! We celebrated First Vespers of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Einsiedeln.

(16) Fr. Archabbot Justin presided, and Fr. Colman preached, at our Mass for Our Lady of Einsiedeln. OBOC interns, who were finishing up their post-conferences work, served at the pontifical Mass; and a mixed choir of monks and interns sang a lovely hymn at Preparation of Gifts. Br. Martin, assistant refectorian, superbly marinated and cooked a fine cut of beef for our main meal.

(17) We celebrated today a feast unique to us at Saint Meinrad: All Holy Monks of Einsiedeln and Saint Meinrad. In fact, the title is not complete, since in the orations, we also prayer for our benefactors. Fr. Abbot Justin presided at the Mass. Two of the male OBOC interns are staying over for few days to observe our monastic way of life. They are staying in the novitiate/juniorate.

(18) A quiet, uneventful day. Hot and humid.

(19) The two novices and our candidate had an outing into Louisville today. They were joined later for dinner by Br. Peduru and Candidate Dane and by the two young men who are observing our way of life. We received today, hot off the presses, two of Fr. Gavin's plays about Abraham Lincoln, published by Abbey Press ("The Indiana Years" and "Between Friends").

(20) Fr. Eugene is giving a retreat at the Guest House this weekend, and there is at least one weekend course being held in the school, so there are quite a few guests around. Our two vocation observers left. They seemed to be good young fellows. Pray for vocations! A choir from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Carmel, IN, offered a concert in the Archabbey Church after Compline.

(21) Today is the patronal feast day of Archbishop Daniel.

(22) Retired Abbot Dismas from St. Procopius Abbey in Illinois is visiting us for a few days. The day seems very quiet after a weekend with weekend courses and a retreat group.

(23) Today is Fr. Prior Cassian's feast day. While still formally a member of our community, he is the superior of the monastery in Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of St. Benedict.

(24) The novices completed the annual task of changing the air-conditioning filters in all the monastic cells (so they get a peek at how the senior monks live). Last night at dinner, we finished our table reading book, The Good Pope by Greg Tobin, a biography of Blessed Pope John XXIII and especially his work with the Second Vatican Council. This evening, we start a new book, Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene, about North Platte, Nebraska.

(25) The feast of St. James the Apostle. A beautiful, unseasonably cool day.

(26) Another quiet July day. Some guests for this Sunday's celebration of jubilee of profession have started arriving. Br. Maurus will host a little social tonight and tomorrow evening for jubilarians, guests, and monks who wish to stop by.

(27) Today is the patronal feast day of both Fr. Prior Kurt and Fr. Guy. Fr. Prior, of course, is enjoying this year's feast day in sunny Florida. Fr. Guy just recently returned to the monastery after several years as the pastor of St. Isidore's Parish, Bristow, and for many of those years, as pastor also of Holy Cross Parish, St. Croix. Alumni have arrived for the first part of the annual Reunion: the Homecoming.

(28) Today, the 17th Sunday of the Year, we celebrated jubilees of monastic profession. Fr. Archabbot Justin presided and preached at Mass. Our jubilarians are Fr. Richard (70 years!), Frs. Damian, Columba and Mel (60 years), and Frs. Ephrem and Noël (50 years). Fr. Richard is no longer able to attend or even appreciate such events. Fr. Mel had hoped to come for the Mass but was unable at the last minute. Fr. Ephrem arrived home late last night, just in time. After Noon Prayer, we had a nice meal with the jubilarians and their guests in the Newman Dining Room and then, after Vespers, supper with the remaining guests.

(29) The main part of the Alumni Reunion started today. It was a beautiful day for those who chose to go golfing. Many of the monks are participating as presenters, table waiters, bartenders, etc. Br. Matthew arrived home from school for a visit.

(30) The Alumni Reunion continues. Monks are involved in various ways. A special crew of window washers is busy washing the windows in the corridors and public rooms of the monastery.

(31) Today is the actual 60th anniversary of profession for Frs. Damian, Columba and Mel. Fr. Columba sat at the head table at the main meal (Fr. Damian, of course, resides at St. Henry Parish and Fr. Mel is in our infirmary), and we enjoyed colloquium (talking, instead of the usual silence and table reading).

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.