Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

November 2013

(1) Today, for the Solemnity of All Saints, Archabbot Justin presided and preached. We observed our Sunday schedule. The seminary did not have classes, so the faculty and student monks were free. Abbot John Brahill, OSB, abbot of Marmion Abbey, an alumnus, arrived for a quick visit with the three monks from Marmion who have begun studies here this semester.

(2) All Soul's Day. Archabbot Justin had to leave early for a regular periodic visitation at Subiaco Abbey in Arkansas, so the pro-prior, Fr. Mark, presided at Mass. We had our traditional procession to the cemetery at the conclusion of Mass. It was a beautiful morning. Fr. Adrian is leading a Guest House retreat on the "Universal Call to Holiness" with 32 participants. Fr. Tobias presided at Vespers in honor of his feast day (the holy man Tobias from the Old Testament Book of Tobit).

(3) Sunday of the 31st Week of the Year. Fr. Guy presided and preached. Two young men were visiting the monastery this week to experience our life.

(4) The bishop of our two seminarians from the Diocese of Palayamkottai, India, is visiting today. In the absence of the abbot and the prior, Fr. Mark met with him to welcome him back to Saint Meinrad.

(5) Fr. Prior Kurt returns from his sabbatical tomorrow to take up his duties once again, and so this is the last entry by the acting prior, Fr. Mark. Welcome home, Fr. Prior Kurt!

(6) From Fr. Prior Kurt… As Fr. Mark welcomes me back (he would insist that he welcomes me back most enthusiastically!), I must thank him for his most competent service as pro-prior these past four months. And I thank him most enthusiastically, for I received a wonderful gift from him when I entered the Prior's Office this morning: a clean desk! I am grateful to him and to a number of confreres whose generosity and willingness to take on extra work allowed me a splendid sabbatical!  +++  In Fr. Abbot's absence, I presided at our culpa service in the Chapter Room this afternoon. Fr. Patrick led us in a reflection on Chapter 34 of the Rule, "On the Distribution of Goods According to Need."

(7) In preparation for his eventual move into our monastery, Abbot Denis Quinkert, the delegated superior of Blue Cloud Abbey in Marvin, South Dakota, arrived this morning for a brief visit. He brought with him some of his luggage, some luggage of Blue Cloud monk Fr. John McMullen and several large boxes containing archival material of Blue Cloud Abbey. Saint Meinrad founded Blue Cloud in 1950; it was raised to the status of an abbey in 1954. Last year, after much prayer, reflection and consultation, the decision was made to close the abbey. Last year we received two monks from Blue Cloud: former abbot Alan Berndt and Fr. Cletus Miller. Readers of "About the House" may recall that they were granted full chapter status by the Saint Meinrad Chapter last December. Within the near future, Abbot Denis and Fr. John will also be joining us; their cells are being prepared even as I write! And Saint Meinrad Archabbey will assume responsibility for organizing and maintaining the archives of Blue Cloud Abbey.

(8) After supper this evening, a handful of monks went over to Forest Park High School in Ferdinand to enjoy Shakespeare's "A Comedy of Errors," performed by The National Players. Another handful will be going over tomorrow to enjoy The Players' production of Homer's "Odyssey."  +++  Father Abbot has returned from Subiaco Abbey, Arkansas, where he was taking part in that community's regular visitation.

(9) The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica is an O.P.-ranked feast, and so Fr. Prior Kurt presided at today's Conventual Mass and the hours of the Divine Office. Br. Macario Martinez, a monk of Conception Abbey studying in our seminary, preached at the monastery Mass.  +++  A group of seven Tibetan Buddhist monks from Labrang Tashi Kyil Monastery in Dehradun, India, are touring the United States, sharing their culture and religion with various audiences. They visited Saint Meinrad this morning, giving a presentation in the St. Gregory Gallery, after which they joined us in the Archabbey Church for Midday Prayer.

(10) Fr. Vincent is our Mass Heb on this 32nd Sunday (and week) of Ordinary Time; he presided and preached at our 9:30 Conventual Mass, assisted by Deacon Will Thompson, a seminarian of the Diocese of Owensboro.  +++  Fr. Adrian concluded offering the weekend retreat, "Listening to God with a Discerning Ear," to 63 participants.

(11) We celebrate the feast day today of Br. Martin.  +++  Father Abbot Justin left early this morning for Baltimore. He is among our people hosting the traditional "Saint Meinrad Reception and Dinner" for a number of bishops whose students are attending our seminary.

(12) Today we celebrate the feast day of Br. Theodore Haggerty, a monk of Marmion Abbey, who is a first-year philosophy student in our seminary.

(13) Forty-two students from Our Lady of Providence High School, Clarksville, Indiana, arrived yesterday to begin a retreat. They will be residing in St. Bede Hall until the retreat concludes at noon on Friday.

(14) Ordinarily we don't celebrate birthdays in the monastery (just feast days and jubilee anniversaries). But we do make exceptions in special cases, and today is one of those special times. Fr. Rupert celebrates his 92nd birthday today! He joined the superiors at the abbot's table for supper, and we had a birthday cake and colloquium in his honor. Happy birthday, Fr. Rupert, and ad multos annos!

(15) Our junior monks hosted a "belated feast day party" for Br. Theodore Haggerty at the Placidium this evening after Compline. As noted above, Br. Theodore's feast day was on the twelfth.  +++  Late last night Father Prior Kurt picked up Fr. Ephrem at the Louisville airport. Fr. Ephrem had a long day: Rome to Amsterdam to Atlanta to Louisville. They arrived on the hill just after midnight this morning. Fr. Ephrem will be with us until January, when he will return to Rome to teach at the Patristic Institute of the Augustinianum for the second semester. We welcome him back to the hill!

(16) About 35 monks enjoyed a pizza lunch at The UnStable today. Fathers Prior Kurt and Patrick and Novice Dane worked with seminarians Deacon Tim Wyciskalla and second-year theology seminarian James Brockmeier (both of Indianapolis) to serve some 18 pizzas.  +++  Fifty-four members of Holy Spirit Parish, Louisville, made a Confirmation Retreat on the hill today. Third-year theology seminarian Shayne Duvall of the Archdiocese of Louisville was their director.

(17) Fr. Eugene, our Mass Heb on this 33rd Sunday (and week) in Ordinary Time, presided and preached at our 9:30 a.m. Conventual Mass.  +++  Shortly after three o'clock this afternoon, the tornado siren blared away. As some monks took precautionary cover in the basement, others went to the infirmary in case assistance with our bedridden confreres would be necessary, and a few kept a watchful eye on the storm's progress as tracked by TV. There were a few close encounters-perhaps 15 or so miles from the hill-but, fortunately, we had only a lot of rain and strong winds. This "tornado Sunday" resulted in eight deaths in Illinois and Michigan, plus millions of dollars of damage to homes and properties. We keep especially those who suffer the loss of family and friends in our prayers.

(18) About 90 Conventual Franciscan Friars from Mt. Saint Francis, Indiana, have arrived for their retreat. They'll be with us through the 21st.  +++  Monday evening, and so we enjoyed our "special desserts and recreation" in the calefactory after supper. This evening we were also treated during the evening meal to several special cheeses, provided through the kindness of our oblates.

(19) An "unremarkable day," at least as far as the public record goes. We continue to have chilly mornings and nights, and comfortable-enough afternoons.

(20) Fr. Eugene, our Mass Heb, preached at the Conventual Mass this morning.  +++  Fr. Abbot Justin offered a conference in the Chapter Room at three o'clock.

(21) Seems as though not much is going on besides the weather-and our students getting ready for their Thanksgiving break, which begins after their last class tomorrow. As for the weather, it's somewhat balmy, with an on-again/off-again drizzle.

(22) Fr. Eugene, our Mass Heb, offered a most appropriate introduction to today's liturgy. He noted that as our Church celebrates the martyrdom of St. Cecelia, our country commemorates the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy. "It is an appropriate day," Fr. Eugene suggested, "to remember and pray for all victims of violence." Observing the anniversary, and at the request of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis (who was responding to a request from the U.S. Conference of Mayors), we were one of countless churches throughout the country who, at 1:15 EST this afternoon, pealed our bells for one minute, in memory of our 35th president.

(23) Twenty-one participants-14 students and 7 adults-from St. John's Catholic Church in Loogootee are here today and tomorrow for a Confirmation Retreat. Also on the hill this weekend are seven participants from nearby Tell City, making a women's retreat.

(24) This solemnity of Christ the King is an O.P.-ranked feast, and so Fr. Prior Kurt presided and preached. This was also our annual "Co-worker Mass and Reception" Day. After the Eucharist, many of our co-workers and their spouses enjoyed, with a number of monks, a reception in the Alumni Commons. We're most grateful to the many men and women whose work, skills and care we rely upon every day. These people keep Saint Meinrad going, and we thank them!

(25) As noted, Fr. Prior Kurt presided at Mass yesterday, the Solemnity of Christ the King. Fr. Pius resumed "ordinary" Mass Heb duties today, and will finish out this 34th (and last) week in Ordinary Time.

(26) Fr. Abbot Justin was in Indianapolis today, offering a pre-Advent Day of Recollection for the archdiocesan presbyterate.  +++  Some sporadic snow flurries this morning and afternoon-our first snow of the season-but no accumulation, which is just fine, as there's still quite a bit of traveling to do before Christmas!

(27) One of our traditions is to do a little celebrating on Thanksgiving eve. After dinner we gathered in the calefactory to enjoy some cheeses, breads and wines. We concluded with a slightly later-than-usual Compline, at 7:15.

(28) Thanksgiving Day! Fr. Pius, our Mass Heb, presided and preached, beginning his homily by reading the decree of William Radford, which marked the thanksgiving feast at the Pilgrim Rock colony in 1623. We enjoyed our Sunday schedule today and, with a number of guests, feasted on turkey 'n trimmings in the Anselm Dining Room for our noonday meal.

(29) This day after Thanksgiving has been very quiet indeed!  +++  A handful of our seminarians are spending at least part of their break here on the hill. This afternoon they enjoyed Fr. Ron Knott's hospitality in Louisville-dinner and a movie, I'm told. Fr. Ron has been hosting the "orphan seminarians"-those too far away from home to travel during these few days-for several years now. His graciousness is much appreciated!

(30) Fr. Pius finished his week as our Mass Heb and preached on this feast of Andrew the Apostle.  +++  Many of our readers are interested in what we're reading at our evening meal in the monastery. This evening we put our "regular" reading on hold for a while. During the Advent season, after the standard selections from the Rule, Martyrology and Necrology, we'll hear a brief selection for the day from Caryll Houselander's and Thomas Hoffman's Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, and then proceed to our longer Advent reading, taken from Paula Gooder's The Meaning is in the Waiting: the Spirit of Advent.

I wish our readers a "calm and joyful" Advent. As we await the coming Christ-as-Child, may our eyes and hearts be open to the many subtle ways God makes His presence known in our lives each day.

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.