Each day the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey help write another
page in the long history of Benedictine monks throughout the world.
As in the life of any family, life in a monastery is made up of
events big and small. Father Prior Kurt reports on some of this
month's happenings (NB: Fr. Mark, the acting prior, is reporting
through November 6 as Father Prior Kurt enjoys a well-deserved
(1) It is Fr. Subprior Guerric's week as Mass celebrant
for the monastery, but he went to Fort Wayne for a Saint Meinrad
Sunday, requiring his Spanish skills. Fr. Vincent presided and
preached for this 22nd Sunday of the Year. Last night, lightning
hit a main hub of the local phone company, and so we were without
external phone connections for the day (except, of course, for cell
phones… though cell phone reception is not always the best,
especially from within these thick sandstone walls). This evening,
the Archabbot began the Day of Recollection that he is leading for
the seminary community as it begins the school year. Today is the
patronal feast day of Br. Giles. He is doing well, though he lives
in the infirmary. He is nonetheless of good cheer, and he gets
around in his wheelchair.
(2) Today is the 126th anniversary of the Great Fire that
destroyed the monastery buildings in 1887. It is also Labor Day.
Fr. Subprior Guerric presided and preached at Mass, noting that
Church encourages us to take the opportunity to ponder the
sanctification of our work. The monk students joined the other
seminarians for the Day of Recollection, given by the abbot.
(3) Today is Fr. Gregory's feast day. He continues to
reside at St. Benedict's Cathedral in Evansville, where he served
as pastor for many years. He has had a number of significant health
issues in the last few years. Today was the opening Mass and
Convocation of the school year. Classes have begun.
(4) The Archabbot gave a conference to the monks at 3 p.m.
in the Chapter Room. He had announced some time ago that we would
move our community meeting time from Monday evenings after Compline
to Wednesday afternoon. This is an important slot precisely for
things like abbot's conferences, chapter meetings, Lent and Advent
conferences, and community discussions. Life is often busy, even
for monks, and so it can be difficult to find a time when the monks
can come together for important meetings.
(5) After Vespers, the Archabbot and several other monks
attended a reception and dinner for benefactors from the Jasper,
Loogootee, Washington area. It is an opportunity to meet, thank and
update those who so generously support our work.
(6) Today is Archabbot Bonaventure's 95th birthday! He is
still going strong. In fact, he just recently renewed his driver's
license! Birthday cake and talking at the evening meal! A young man
who had been a participant and then a college intern for our summer
"One Bread, One Cup" conferences is visiting the monastery this
weekend to observe our life.
(7) The abbot encouraged the monks to respond to Pope
Francis' recent call to observe today (the vigil of the Feast of
the Birth of Mary, Queen of Peace) as a day of fasting and prayer
for peace in Syria, the Middle East and other parts of the world.
Prayers for peace were included at the conventual Mass and Divine
(8) Fr. Germain presided and preached at the conventual
Mass for the 23rd Sunday of the Year. Today-which would be
celebrated as the feast of the Birth of Mary if it didn't fall on
Sunday-is the feast day of Br. Mario. Brother is one of the
Archabbey's painters. For many years, he was on our grounds
(9) Today we observed the Thirtieth Day after the death of
our Fr. Richard. He was remembered especially through the
intention, opening prayer and petitions at Mass. This ends a 30-day
period in which we offer a petition every day for the deceased.
(10) Many of the monks attended the annual Dolle Lecture in
the school this evening. The speaker was alumnus Fr. Jerry Eifler
from Louisville. His topic was "A Priest's Personal Adventure in
Art and Architecture." It was very well received.
(11) The novice and juniors hosted an open house at the
Placidium, their recreation building below the monastery garage,
which was recently given a much-needed repair and renovation: a new
roof, flooring, furniture, etc. This was an opportunity to show off
the results and to thank the co-workers on our Physical Facilities
crew who do such a fine job.
(12) A basically "normal" day. Hot, a little rain,
(13) The novice and juniors hosted a little belated feast
day party for their superior, Fr. Guerric. It is another
opportunity to show off the renovation of the Placidium to those
monks who could go to the celebration. A beautiful, clear, cool
(14) Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Fr. Mark,
pro-prior, presided and preached. It is the feast day of Br. Simon
Baker, a student monk from St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, KS. A
beautiful, sunny day. About 30 monks signed up for one of our
regular pizza lunches at the UnStable today. The pizzas were
prepared by a couple of monks and seminarians. Br. Luke was driver
for those monks who were unable to walk down and back.
(15) 24th Sunday of the Year. Fr. Sean presided and
preached at the conventual Mass. In addition to weekend courses in
the school, Fr. Harry is giving a retreat at the Guest House on the
Rule of St. Benedict to about 30 participants.
(16) Today is Fr. Cyprian's feast day. He is 83 years old.
He moves a little slow and his voice has become soft, but he
presided and preached at the conventual Mass. We had our weekly
Monday dessert in the calefactory (community room) after supper and
before Compline. It is always a nice to time chat with the other
(17) Today is Archabbot Lambert's feast day. He is
currently based in Chicago, as he is substituting for our Fr.
Edward at St. James Parish. Fr. Edward is on a Lilly
Endowment-funded sabbatical for a semester. Of course, Archabbot
Lambert had many previously planned speaking engagements, so he is
in and out.
(18) A quiet day. Many of the seminarians start their
ministry assignments for the school year today. This includes, of
course, the monk-students who are assigned to help out in various
kinds of ministries in preparation for ordination.
(19) Cloudy and muggy. The abbot and several monks attended
the Evansville area benefactors/alumni dinner. About 170 were
(20) Today is Br. Kim's feast. He is the custos of
the Archabbey Church, which means that he oversees the scheduling,
decoration and furnishings of the church. He is also the
sacristan-preparing the necessary items for the celebration of
Mass. In addition, he is the one who turns on the lights and
microphones, locks and unlocks the church, makes vestments, among
many other things. In fact, he is the "go to" guy for questions
about feasts and ceremonies.
(21) Today is Br. Matthew's feast. He is in Toronto,
pursuing a doctorate in Church history. Br. Zachary is leading a
retreat at the Guest House this weekend, titled "Women in the
Word," with 24 participants.
(22) Fr. Jeremy presided and preached at the conventual
Mass for this 25th Sunday of the Year.
(23) A glorious day!
(24) The archabbot and several monks went up to
Indianapolis for the friends/alumni dinner.
(25) A quiet day.
(26) Today is Fr. Damian's feast day. At 81 years old, he
continues as the pastor of St. Henry Parish in St. Henry, IN, where
the people are quite devoted to him.
(27) Today is the beginning of a three-day weekend for the
seminarians, which the student-monks are enjoying as a time to
relax and to try to get ahead a little. The faculty-monks attended
the annual overnight faculty retreat at New Harmony, IN.
(28) A quiet Saturday on the Hill. No big retreats or
(29) A rainy, dreary day. Fr. Colman presided and preached
at the conventual Mass for the 26th Sunday of the Year. We
celebrated First Vespers of the Solemnity of the Dedication of the
Archabbey Church of Our Lady of Einsiedeln. The Archabbot
(30) Archabbot Justin presided at the conventual Mass for
the Solemnity of the Dedication. We followed the weekday schedule,
allowing the monk-students and faculty to follow the regular class
schedule in the seminary (though a bit delayed for them because of
the grand liturgy). It is also the feast day of Br. Jerome. At 84,
he remains active, cleaning the church and overseeing our wine on
the days that it accompanies our main meal. He has a number of
other small, unseen tasks. An early riser, he can be seen roaming
the corridors at about 3 a.m., silently praying his rosary.