Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

October 2013


(1) This evening was the annual Marten Homiletics Lecture in the School. The student monks all attended.

(2) A quiet day.

(3) Today is the feast of St. Theodora Guerin, the foundress of the Sisters of Providence and co-patron of our Archdiocese of Indianapolis. It is also the feast of the great Benedictine spiritual writer, Blessed Dom Columba Marmion. We made it a point to congratulate our three "visiting" Benedictines from Marmion Abbey.

(4) The School's Board of Overseers is meeting today and tomorrow. The Archabbot and a number of other monks are involved. This evening, the seminarians are hosting the "Around the World" dinner in which many of them will prepare national or regional food. The Overseers enjoy this opportunity both to mix informally with the seminarians and to enjoy this culinary trip "around the world." Many of the student monks attend.

(5) The Board of Trustees met this afternoon, involving Archabbot Justin, Pro-Prior (Fr. Mark), Fr. Subprior Guerric and, of course, the Rector, Fr. Denis. Fr. Harry is giving a Guest House retreat this weekend for 39 participants: "Praying the Psalms." It is a rainy, dreary day!

(6) Fr. Adrian presided and preached at the conventual Mass. The rain suddenly cleared this afternoon and gave way to magnificent sunshine!

(7) A clear, sunny, dry day! Priests from the Diocese of Covington are here for a few days. Many were at Vespers, but they will do most of their activities for themselves as a group.

(8) A quiet day. Two priests from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and a Dominican from Bloomington, IN, are making retreats in the monastery for a few days.

(9) Today is the feast day of our president-rector, Fr. Denis. Archabbot Justin gave a conference to the monks this afternoon on the topic of hospitality.

(10) Sunny and warm.

(11) Three young men are with us for the weekend for an intensive discernment retreat, which will include talks, discussion, activities and, of course, participation in the daily life of the monastery.

(12) The monks were invited to join the discernment group for an afternoon at Monte Cassino. The weather was beautiful for it.

(13) The 28th Sunday of the Year: Fr. Brendan presided and preached at the conventual Mass. It is also the feast day of Fr. Edward, who has been pastor of St. James Parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago for several years. Right now, however, he is enjoying a Lilly Endowment-funded sabbatical that includes time in the south of France, the Holy Land and other sites in the Mideast. Archabbot Lambert is filling in at the parish.

(14) The annual flu shot is available for monks, students and co-workers starting today.

(15) Fire alarms were tested throughout the institution today. Of course, they couldn't have anticipated that it would be raining today!

(16) Br. John Mark, vocations director for the monastery, gave a report to the community about recent efforts in vocational promotion. This includes some very interesting use of contemporary media, including Facebook and apps. He described a number of ways that he is reaching out to college and high school age students. Both he and the archabbot emphasized that it is our faithful living of the monastic life that is our best "recruitment." Pray for vocations!

(17) Archabbot Justin and a few other monks and staff left this morning for the benefactor and alumni dinner in Toledo.

(18) Today is Br. Luke's feast day. He is a junior monk and a student in the seminary. The seminarians started a three-day weekend after their last class. Some of the visiting Benedictines have taken the opportunity to return to their own monasteries for a visit. Fr. Noël is leading a weekend retreat, with 30 participants, titled "Rembrandt's Remembrance." The air conditioning was turned off in the monastery-though an "Indian summer" is always possible, after it's too late to get the "chillers" started up again conveniently.

(19) Today is Fr. Noël's feast day. He continues as the archabbot's secretary, and he is active in giving retreats, spiritual direction and serving the Hispanic community in the area. Due to rain, today's planned second annual Benedictine Hills Youth Pilgrimage had to be canceled. The pilgrimage is co-sponsored by Saint Meinrad and the Benedictine sisters in Ferdinand. Groups of young people, together with a group of hearty monks and sisters, make a pilgrimage on foot between the two monasteries and enjoy common prayer and a meal. Fr. Colman had also hoped to gather a small group of volunteers this morning to help with "winterizing" his garden, but it was rained out. His garden provided many fresh delights to the monastery table this year!

(20) Fr. Harry presided and preached for the 29th Sunday.

(21) Thirty-nine priests have signed up for Fr. Eugene's priest retreat that begins at the Guest House today. His topic is "Biblical Models of Leadership and Their Implications for Priesthood Today."

(22) Archbishop Tobin of Indianapolis is in the seminary for dinner and a talk to the seminary community this evening. The archabbot, subprior, and monk-faculty and students attended.

(23) Fr. Denis gave the annual "State of the School" report to the monastic community. We were happy to hear that the enrollment is good in all of our programs, and the report was very positive. Other monks who live and work full-time in the school also gave brief presentations on their work.

(24) It's getting cool around here!

(25) Today is Fr. Gavin's feast day. At almost 86 years old, he continues to be active in various ways. He gets around in a wheelchair, which he propels with his feet. He is a frequent table-reader at our main meal. His voice is still deep and rich. He helps readers in our refectory and church to read aloud well, and he is a private tutor for foreign-born students for better pronunciation. He is an avid reader of history, and he continues to guide a group of local men interested in American history.

(26) Today was the monastery "Pizza Saturday" at the UnStable. We have this opportunity about once a month to have the UnStable to ourselves and enjoy some of its fine pizza. One of the younger monks (Novice Dane, this time) provides "limousine service" for those monks who are a little less mobile. Lunch is served in the monastery, too, though it is pretty "slim pickings" for the few who don't go to the UnStable. Today, many of our friends attended the Abbot Martin Marty Guild Day of Recollection. Archabbot Justin and Fr. Denis were speakers at different times, and a number of monks helped with confessions.

(27) Fr. Meinrad presided and preached at the conventual Mass for this 30th Sunday of the Year.

(28) A quiet day.

(29) Dreary outside and warmer.

(30) The monastic chapter met this afternoon. The "chapter" is the body of monks in solemn vows. We meet, of course, in the Chapter Room, which is known to every visitor to the Hill. The chapter considers important issues concerning the monastery, sometimes advising the abbot and other times, following canon law, approving certain things like large expenditures for certain items, admission to novitiate and vows, etc.

(31) First Vespers of the Solemnity of All Saints. Archabbot Justin presided. The monks in final vows began to wear their habits at morning prayer, Mass and Vespers. Our novice and juniors hosted the annual monastery Halloween party. A good time was had by all. Unfortunately, the tornado siren went off around 9 p.m. Gathered in the monastery basement, some accused the novice and juniors of planning a Halloween prank. In any case, we all survived!

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.