Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

January 2014

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.

(1) We celebrate the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, on this first day of the new year. Father Prior Kurt presided at our 9:30 Conventual Eucharist (we were following our "Sunday schedule") and Father Meinrad preached.  +++  We congratulate Brother William, who professed his temporary vows this past August-this is his "first" feast day in the monastery!

(2) Father Sebastian returned to The Canterbury School in New Haven, Connecticut, this morning. Our Father Edward, pastor of St. James Parish in Chicago, is here for a few days, and so he drove him in early this morning to beat the expected snow. As it turned out, we didn't get much in the way of bad weather, other than cold temperatures and high winds. But the forecasters are warning us, "just around the corner …." 

(3) Ten men from Carmel, Indiana, arrived this evening. They'll be taking part in the "Marker's Dozen Men's Retreat" this weekend.

(4) Archbishop Daniel has returned to the Hill. Through the generosity of some friends, he was able to enjoy a week's worth of warm weather and change of pace and scenery in Florida. We welcome him back, but are somewhat envious of his radiant glow!

(5) On this Solemnity of the Epiphany, Abbot Justin presided at the Conventual Mass and Father Ephrem preached.  +++  We welcome Abbot James Albers, the 9th and current abbot of St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, Kansas. Abbot James and Brother Simon, his confrere who is a third-year theology student in our seminary, arrived last night, in time to beat the storm. Abbot James plans to return to Atchison tomorrow. Abbot Lambert arrived over the weekend, back from St. James Parish in Chicago, where he has been filling in for Father Edward, who was on sabbatical. The abbot's table was rather crowded at our midday meal: Abbot Justin, Abbot James, Abbot Bonaventure, and Abbot Lambert. Theoretically, we do have room for two more!

(6) An extremely cold day, which we're sharing with much of the nation! Wind chill throughout the day was between 10 and 18 below zero.  +++  Today we commemorated the one-year anniversary of the death of Father Stephen Snoich. May he, and all the faithful departed, rest in peace!

(7) Forty-five seminarians from Bishop Simon Bruté Seminary in Indianapolis have been with us since Sunday evening, braving the cold and the snow to take part in their annual retreat. We welcome these young men, a number of whom we may well see as our own seminarians in the near future. They'll be leaving the Hill tomorrow, and our prayers go with them! 

(8) Considerably warmer today, and much of the snow-covered landscape is returning to the winter brown and green.  +++  This afternoon the Monastic Chapter elected Father Bede to the Board of Trustees of our seminary for a two-year term.

(9) Brothers Oscar, Antony-Maria, and Theodore-our three "visiting Benedictines" from Marmion Abbey, Aurora, Illinois-finally made it back from their Christmas break. The northern part of Indiana has been the most affected by our winter storms, and so their departure from their own abbey was delayed until road conditions improved. We welcome them back, safe and sound!

(10) This next week promises to be a busy one for our Guest House and Retreat Center and our Office of Group Accommodations. The first of several groups arrived this evening: five individuals from Louisville taking part in a "Deacon Thomas McNally and Friends" retreat, which will go through the weekend.

(11) Two more retreat groups have joined us on the Hill for the weekend. Thirty-eight guests from Church of the Annunciation in Shelbyville, Kentucky, are making a retreat as part of their preparation for Confirmation. And 56 parishioners from St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington, Indiana, are also making a similar retreat.   

(12) On this feast of the Baptism of our Lord, Father Germain, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at the Conventual Mass. We began Mass, not with our usual statio and procession, but by gathering around the holy water font in the Archabbey Church. After the prayer of blessing the water, we approached the font to take water, before proceeding to the choir.

(13) We welcome 68 priests and staff from our neighboring Diocese of Owensboro, as they gather for their annual assembly. They will be with us through the next three days.

(17) The several-day gap in our monthly record reflects a short break I took from the Prior's Office. I enjoyed a two-and-a-half day stay at "The Ravens," a three-bedroom house some hundred yards or so southwest of our Guest House that serves, for many confreres, as a vacation residence, a temporary hermitage, or a convenient and comfortable place to host their families for a few days.  +++  In the meantime, 170 guests of the Delta Chi's "A's" Academy, their leadership groups, have arrived on the Hill for what has become over the past 10 years their regular visit. Delta Chi headquarters is in Iowa City.

(18) We're noticeably fewer in choir this weekend. This is the most involved of our many "Saint Meinrad Sundays" during the year, and eight of our priest-monks are presiding and preaching the Saturday evening and Sunday morning Eucharists in the Evansville Diocese this weekend.  +++  Many of our juniors monks have departed for Maple Mount, Kentucky, to begin their "Towards Jerusalem" retreat. 

(19) Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. Father Colman, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at our 9:30 Conventual Mass

(20) Not too many seminarians-or monks-on the Hill, but we're still gearing up for the celebration of our holy patron tomorrow. Father Abbot Justin presided at First Vespers of the Solemnity of St. Meinrad this evening.

(21) Sunday schedule on this solemnity! Father Abbot Justin presided and preached at the Conventual Mass, and Deacon John Huether of our Development Office assisted at the Eucharist.  +++  Around six o'clock this evening, Father Gregory arrived on the Hill, where he'll be taking up residence in our infirmary for the time being. Our hope is that he'll soon be able to move back to his "regular" room in the house. Father Gregory has been having various health problems this past year; he's agreed, reluctantly, of course, that it's time to move out of St. Benedict's Cathedral Parish, where Father Godfrey has been the pastor since this past summer. Father Gregory enjoys pastor emeritus status, and we're expecting quite a few visitors to stop by over the next few weeks to make sure he's settling in all right.

(22) As did many dioceses in our country on this 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, our Mass today was part of a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.

(23) This evening at The UnStable, Father Abbot Justin and Father Prior Kurt, in the name of the monastic community, hosted our infirmary and health care co-workers and their spouses (or a guest) to a pizza buffet. Father Patrick and Brother James prepared pizzas for all, while our kitchen supplied salads and desserts, and two loaves of Abbey Bread for each couple to take home. Each of our co-workers received a gift created and produced by Brother Martin, and Father Abbot thanked the group on behalf of the monastic community. It was an enjoyable evening-some warm gemütlichkeit to ward off the bitter outside cold. 

(24) This weekend 60 students in our Lay Degree Program will be enjoying one of the following courses and instructors: "Catholic Sacraments," taught by Father Thomas Richstatter, OFM; "Christian Ethics," by Father Mark, OSB; "Prophets and Poetry," by Father Harry, OSB; "Early Church History," by Dr. Kimberly Baker, and "American Catholic Identity," by Father Brendan, OSB. 

(25) On this feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Brother Luke Waugh professed his solemn vows as a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey. We congratulate Brother Luke, welcome him "fully" into our house, and wish him ad multos annos

(26) We had a pretty full church for Eucharist this morning: most of our seminarians are back on the Hill, ready to begin the new semester tomorrow. But the official opening day isn't until tomorrow, and so they, and a number of our weekend students, joined us for our 9:30 celebration. Father Eugene is our Mass Heb.

(27) The new semester began for our seminary community today. In addition to students and professors returning to the classrooms, we welcomed Bishop Thomas Rodi of the Diocese of Mobile as a special guest at the Opening Day Evening Banquet. 

(28) A quiet-and cold-day. It's cold in a number of spots inside the monastery as well. We're realizing more each year that, although many of us call our building "the new monastery," it is now over 30 years old and, like many of us, shows signs of its aging a bit more each year. Our cucullas keep many of us warm in church; sweaters and long-sleeves do their best in some of our house's "cold spots."

(29) We had the aperitio oris for Brother Luke this afternoon, a ceremony which formally introduces our new solemnly professed brother (this past Saturday) into the Chapter, the decision-making body of the monastery. The Chapter is composed of all monks who have made solemn profession.

(30) We celebrated Abbot Alan's first feast day with us! Abbot Alan served the Blue Cloud monastic community as their second abbot for 16 years, from 1970 to 1986. After Blue Cloud was dissolved last year, he formally transferred his stability to Saint Meinrad. Ad multos annos, Abbot Alan!

(31) Part of our gearing up for the weekend is usually also welcoming groups arriving for a weekend retreat. This evening we're expecting 52 guests from the New Hope Academy in Franklin, Tennessee, for a youth retreat, and 13 guests from the Archdiocese of Louisville for a men's retreat. Blessings to all!

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.