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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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!