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Echoes from the Bell Tower is a blog devoted to observations on Christian faith, spirituality and everyday events, by authors with a connection to the Benedictine values found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology. Contributors include students, permanent deacons, Benedictine oblates and Saint Meinrad monks. Their stories, thoughts and ideas highlight the mission and vision that ring out from the bell towers on this Hill in southern Indiana.

Oblates Experience God’s Love in Action
Thursday, April 11, 2024

On Saturday, March 9, the Alumni Office at Saint Meinrad hosted the tenth annual Saint Meinrad Day of Service. Since its inaugural year in 2014, the day’s theme has been Ora et Labora (pray and work)...

Via Crucis
Monday, March 25, 2024

On Friday, March 15th, the Office of Hispanic and Latino Ministry hosted their first Via Crucis, or Stations of the Cross, at Saint Meinrad. Staff, seminarians, and the Latino community gathered near the Guest House for the procession...

Spiritual Reading
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Lent is a time for introspection; a special season of preparation leading up to the high point of the whole Christian year, holy Easter, when the disciples of Jesus remember in a profound and solemn way the resurrection of Lord and Savior from the dead...

Live the Eucharist
Thursday, February 8, 2024

Saint Benedict’s Rule says hardly a thing about the holy Eucharist and its celebration in the monastic community. He takes it for granted, I suppose, but he is certainly aware of the need to have priests to celebrate Mass, so he charges the abbot to choose worthy candidates from among the monks (RB 62)...

The Fruits of Patience
Thursday, December 14, 2023

It’s Advent again and this year my attention seems to alight on the need to practice patience. Benedict places a lot of emphasis on this virtue. For instance, he seems to frame his entire rule in terms of patience...

Community Rank
Thursday, November 9, 2023

I begin with a verse from chapter 63 of the Rule, "On Community Rank." Establishing a sense of equality in the community - seeing one another as brothers living together under a rule and the authority of an abbot ("father") - has to be supported by the respect we give to one another. St. Benedict gives to tenure in the community - how long we've been living the monastic life - primacy of place.

Mutual Support
Thursday, November 2, 2023

Sometimes monks need to travel. At times for personal reasons—visiting family, vacation, taking care of an ailing parent—sometimes for ministry, or for academic and professional reasons. I travel frequently to do retreat work at other locations, to cover parish Masses when a pastor needs to be away, or to promote our school’s formation programs.

Stability in Community
Thursday, October 5, 2023

“Stability-in-community” is one of the core values of the Benedictine way of life. By our vows of stability, monks commit to a dynamic association of fellow Christians who take their calling seriously, supporting each other in the Spirit of Christ to become true disciples of Jesus for the sake of his mission to bring God’s Kingdom to earth (cf. Rev 21). I’ve written on “stability” before, but this time I want to reflect on how this quintessential monastic value serves as a counterweight to hypercompetitive individualism, and the loneliness and sense of isolation that are its fruits, so prevalent today, especially among young people...

Obedience Is a Blessing
Thursday, September 14, 2023

In the past, I have directed a retreat for the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer at their motherhouse in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. This small religious household is made up mostly of elderly sisters in retirement, some of them infirm with age, with a number of younger sisters who take care of them and administer the property...

Stability: A Vow to “Stay Put”
Thursday, August 31, 2023

We live in an incredibly mobile society. The average young American will change jobs more than three times within their first decade in the workforce...

Broken, Scattered, Gathered, One
Thursday, August 24, 2023

The sound of something breaking is not typically pleasant. Rather, it tends to be startling and alarming...

The Unitive Principle of Love
Thursday, August 17, 2023

When I was a seminarian in our school studying for the diocesan priesthood (when I came to the Hill in 1990 I was affiliated with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis), the first thing that made an impression on me was, well, the monks. I had never met a monk before. I had seen the occasional brown-robed Franciscan friar in Indy, but never a black-robed Benedictine monk...

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Scripture offers us numerous reminders of how the Holy Spirit works in the Body of Christ. The message is this: We are never alone. "I will not leave you orphaned," Jesus promises (John 14:15-21). In baptism, we are sanctified - claimed - as God's children and sealed with the Holy Spirit. Through the sacrament of confirmation (cf. Acts 8:5-8, 14-17), we are fortified by the Holy Spirit to live more fully in faith, hope, and love....

Benedictine Gift Giving
Thursday, August 3, 2023

Within the holy Rule of St. Benedict lies a little chapter that has caused me some measure of discomfort over the years...

The Home Stretch
Thursday, June 29, 2023

At the beginning of the summer, I planned on posting often about what was going on at my summer job...Yeah, that didn’t happen...

Gratitude Is Looking Backward and Forward
Thursday, June 22, 2023

There is a wonderful novel about a monastery of Benedictine nuns in England titled In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden.

Is Anybody Listening?
Thursday, June 15, 2023

Billions of clips have been watched on YouTube from millions of homemade videos. By now, cyberspace must be clogged with blogs, tweets and twitters available for reading by anyone, anywhere...

Never Lose Hope
Thursday, June 8, 2023

As I write this, the monastic community is on its annual week of retreat. We don’t go anywhere; we remain in the house while, as best we can, refraining from our usual tasks to take more time to pray and reflect. Certain household and church tasks must go on, of course, but otherwise the monks are encouraged to use the time wisely to reset, recenter, and recommit to our monastic life of conversion and service.

Cultivating Gratitude
Thursday, February 9, 2023

“Whoever needs less should thank God and not be distressed, but whoever needs more should feel humble...not self-important because of the kindness shown to him - in this way all the members will be at peace.” Rule of Saint Benedict 34:3-5

Ready to Rise
Friday, January 13, 2023

Here at Saint Meinrad the monastic community gathers in church five times each day for communal prayer – we gather for Vigils and Lauds at 5:30am, Eucharist at 7:30am, Midday Prayer at noon, Vespers at 5:00pm, and Compline at 7:00pm. These services constitute what St. Benedict calls the “Work of God,” the centerpiece of our monastic practice and observance.

Year In Pictures: 2022
Tuesday, December 27, 2022

As I look through the 2022 Year in Pictures, the word that comes to mind is “gratitude.” A lot happens in a year, especially at Saint Meinrad...

Advent Mindfulness
Thursday, December 8, 2022

Saint Benedict never mentions Advent in his Rule for Monks, at least not directly. Nonetheless, the monastic tradition incorporates the spirit of this holy season by training monastics to stay vigilant for the coming of the Lord, for “we know neither the day nor the hour.” (Mt 25:13).

What Matters?
Thursday, November 17, 2022

For many years, we were fans of “The Antiques Road Show” on PBS...

The Face of Christ
Thursday, November 10, 2022

Churches are sometimes havens of last resort for people in need, whether that need is spiritual, emotional or physical. This is often true for churches in impoverished areas. We belonged to one such parish some years ago...

Connecting With Love
Thursday, October 20, 2022

When I felt the call to monastic life, I wanted prayer to be a priority in my life. I loved to pray, but I don’t think I understood it very well when I was younger...

An Unexpected Door
Thursday, October 13, 2022

We have a lovely small farmer’s market in a lot downtown on Wednesday afternoons from May to November...

Stand in the Breach
Thursday, September 29, 2022

The so-called “Benedict Option” has become a term of fascination among Christians in recent years. St. Benedict’s way of spiritually separating oneself from worldly concerns and investing in a community of like-minded others who are committed to living the gospel in a deliberate fashion is still, after 1,500 years, an inspiring aim for many Christians, even those who are not monks and nuns.

Fruit of the Vine
Thursday, August 18, 2022

During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, at the Presentation and Preparation of the Gifts, the priest holds the chalice filled with wine and praises God with these words: "Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink." And the People of God respond, "Blessed be God, forever...."

Elder Respect
Thursday, August 4, 2022

Previously, I have written of the need to make care for the elderly and infirm a top priority. In this way we are obedient to Christ who comes to us in the vulnerable and the frail, those with whom Christ most identifies (cf. Mt. 25:40). Continuing to reflect on what Pope Francis recently called a magisterium of frailty, I’d like to address St. Benedict’s desire that the monks of his monastery cultivate a natural respect for the elderly members of the community...

Finding God Among Our Alumni
Thursday, July 28, 2022

I recently had a conversation with a colleague in the similar line of alumni work. He has been an executive in a small company...

Christ For Us
Thursday, July 21, 2022

“Care of the sick must rank above and before all else, so that they may truly be served as Christ…the abbot must take the greatest care that those who serve the sick do not neglect them.” Rule of Saint Benedict 36:1, 10.

Preferring Nothing to the Work of God
Thursday, July 14, 2022

When I entered the Seminary here at Saint Meinrad to study for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis (before I knew anything at all about the monastic community)...

Golden Crumbs
Friday, June 17, 2022

Mother Teresa died Sept. 5, 1997. On the day she died, we happened to be on a retreat in the small town of New Harmony, Indiana. The retreat was held at a beautiful inn known for its quiet simplicity as well as its wonderful food...

Pondering the Word
Thursday, June 9, 2022

God desires our joy and completeness--becoming our true selves as created in God's image...

Prayerful Moderation
Thursday, June 2, 2022

Prayer is the mainstay of the monastic life. Indeed, without the community's commitment to common prayer (called the "work of God" by St. Benedict), and times for lectio divina, the slow and deliberate pondering of the Word of God in solitude, there would be no basis for monasticism's claim to be a viable way of life for serious Christians - and monks and nuns are meant to be serious Christians.

Walking on Holy Ground
Thursday, May 19, 2022

Years ago, I volunteered with my wife and a co-worker and his wife at a local ministry for those who are homeless or down on their luck called Jesus Cares at Exit 0...

Studying theology: Not Just for Monks or Seminarians
Thursday, May 12, 2022

While most people know that the monks of Saint Meinrad run a seminary, many are less familiar with the Graduate Theology Programs...

Let Peace Be Your Quest and Aim
Thursday, April 28, 2022

Many of us who entered religious life did so because, in a certain sense, we were seeking peace...

Good Zeal
Thursday, April 7, 2022

Every human life entails some measure of suffering – loss, illness, disappointments, failures, and death. As Christians, our witness to Christ and his gospel demands we make sense of human suffering...

A Lenten Reflection
Thursday, March 10, 2022

Recently at table, several of us were remembering what it was like to get our first pair of glasses. Those of you with perfect vision might have to squint or blur your eyes to get a sense of what it’s like not to be able to see clearly, but it’s a hard thing...

10 Photos for 10 Years
Thursday, March 3, 2022

On March 5, 2012, I rolled onto the Saint Meinrad campus to start a new job in the communications department. I was a 28-year-old newspaper photographer who knew very little about Catholicism. Despite the learning curve, I quickly set out to preserve Saint Meinrad’s history through audio, video, photographs, and articles...

Benedictine Peace
Thursday, February 24, 2022

If I were to ask you to quote the Benedictine motto, you might say, "Oh, that's easy, Ora et Labora - prayer and work!" If so, you might be a little taken aback upon hearing me let you down easy by saying, "Well, sort of, but not really!"

Saint Meinrad receives two Lilly grants for outreach to Catholic youth and young adults
Thursday, February 17, 2022

Saint Meinrad has received two grants totaling more than $2 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. for programs that will expand outreach to Catholic youth and young adults...

Tools for Peace
Thursday, February 3, 2022

We live in divisive times. People are experiencing discord within families, at work, among friends, and even at church! It seems worse than ever, but it’s always been the case that our “need to be right” tends to get in the way of our desire for peace. Benedictines are men and women committed to peace. I’ve mentioned before in this column that, from early times, Pax, the Latin word for peace, had become a sort of Benedictine motto...

Monastic Connectedness
Thursday, January 20, 2022

Healthy relationships (community) bring out what’s best in a person as well as support the discovery and transcendence...

Respect for the Truth
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Many people today who are media savvy and attentive to what's going on the realm of politics and society are aware of the catchphrase "fake news." The term seems to be thrown around a lot these days in the media, along with the terms "alternative facts" and "fact-check."

The Gift of Peace
Thursday, January 6, 2022

"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything make your requests to God. Then the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!" - Philippians 4

Year In Pictures: 2021
Thursday, December 30, 2021

What makes a picture good? Certainly, the picture needs to be in focus, properly exposed, with good light and excellent use of composition. It’s even better if the photo can tell a story without words. But there is one thing that trumps all of that – moment. The photograph must have a moment or emotion. In my opinion, a picture can be lacking everything and still be a good picture if there is emotion...

A Hallmark Christmas
Thursday, December 23, 2021

Several times during the past few weeks, we have spent time watching movies on the Hallmark channel...

Advent Reflection: O Magnum Mysterium
Thursday, December 9, 2021

Recently, I came across a piece of sacred music that has proven to be a beautiful tribute and fitting reminder of the themes of the Advent season in which we now find ourselves and in the Christmas season to come...

A Thanksgiving Story
Thursday, November 25, 2021

I feel that somewhere along the way we've forgotten we belong to each other. But then, I wonder if that has always been the case. I'm not sure there was any period in human history where there was not war, hunger or someone seeking to harm the other. Is it naïve to believe there ever was a golden age of togetherness, respect and love? Is it naïve to believe one could come?

Blessed Are Those
Thursday, November 18, 2021

"How do you know that God answers prayers if you have never seen His face?” asked the man in old jeans and a tattered sweater standing in the food line at the homeless mission...

More Than a Room
Thursday, November 11, 2021

When I arrived at Saint Meinrad as a seminarian in 1990, I quickly got to know some of the monks. My first spiritual director was a monk; and my first mentor in the seminary was also a monk. Father Aurelius was our “floor dean,” and he was responsible for watching over me and my classmates as we adapted to our new lives as seminarians – a transition that, for me anyway, was not always easy after just a few years of living as a young man in a very busy world...

Solar field + LED lights = 30% energy savings
Thursday, November 4, 2021

Finding ways to tread more gently on the earth has become an important priority in a time when climate change has disrupted the planet’s ecosystem. At Saint Meinrad Archabbey, initiatives to reduce power consumption and preserve the environment have been underway for some time. While some of the projects, such as institution-wide recycling, have been easy to implement, others have been complex and required significant investment, according to Physical Facilities Director Mark Hoffman...

Monk Monikers
Thursday, October 28, 2021

Fr. Athanasius, Br. Thaddeus, Fr. Eberhard, Br. Adelgott and Br. Balthasar are deceased monks of Saint Meinrad who, in the 1800s, chose their religious names. While those names may have fallen out of favor in the monastery, monks today still follow the tradition of taking a monastic name that is rooted in scripture...

Fr. Isidore Hobi
Thursday, October 21, 2021

Fr. Isidore Hobi was one of the first monks to join the new monastic community in southern Indiana that was founded by Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland.

Funeral Homily for Fr. Justin DuVall, OSB
Thursday, October 14, 2021

As we heard in our first reading: The just man, though he die early, shall be at rest. . . . . Having become perfect in a short while, he reached the fullness of a long career; for his soul was pleasing to the Lord, . . . .

Built On Stone: The Rock Upon Which the Abbey Was Founded
Thursday, September 30, 2021

For a monastery to endure for more than 160 years, it must be built on a solid foundation. At Saint Meinrad Archabbey, that is literally true.

Benedictine Values: Counsel
Thursday, September 23, 2021

When I served as Archabbey Treasurer and Business Manager just as we were entering the second decade of what still feels to me like a new century, the community was engaged in the largest renovation project we'd ever initiated in our, at that time, almost 160-year-long history...

The Saint Meinrad Psalm Tones at 50
Thursday, September 16, 2021

Following upon the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, when each nation’s vernacular language became the standard for use in the liturgy, Catholic liturgical musicians throughout the English-speaking world faced a number of shared challenges...

Ravens Flag
Friday, September 10, 2021

There is a tradition of holy men having ravens around them. In the story of St. Meinrad, a pair of ravens chased the robbers who killed the saint back into town and alerted the residents that something was wrong...

Christian Hope
Wednesday, September 1, 2021

One of the most frequently quoted verses from St. Benedict’s Rule is RB 4:47, which is sometimes rendered more literally as, “Keep death daily before your eyes.” But, as with most quotations, taken out of context it loses something. In this case, It sounds a little morbid standing by itself, and we Christians are supposed to be people of hope...

Service Fosters Love
Thursday, August 5, 2021

Sometimes St. Benedict’s Rule is like an Impressionist painting; one must step back a little and look at the whole picture to “see” what the artist is trying to convey. The quote above is from Benedict’s Rule regarding the kitchen servers of the week, a chapter that seems at first glance to be rather inconsequential...

Personal Accountability
Thursday, July 29, 2021

There is a small section of the Rule of St. Benedict (RB 44-46) that deals with “satisfaction for faults” committed by monks...

Environmental Stewardship
Thursday, July 22, 2021

It was a lovely late-summer morning; the air was relatively dry and cool for early September and the sky was the color of a Caribbean seascape. That morning, after a meeting in the business office, I took a walk to see how the new gazebo on the hill above was progressing...

Thursday, July 15, 2021

As a parish RCIA director, I met with many people interested in learning more about the Catholic faith...

Hardships and Difficulties
Thursday, July 8, 2021

In his Rule, chapter 58, St. Benedict directs the monastic community’s attention to the reception of new members. The Abbot is to delegate a senior member “chosen for his skill at winning souls”, to look after the novices [new members] “with careful attention”, and to ensure that the novice is motivated by a genuine desire to seek God...

Ordinary Prayer and Faith
Thursday, July 1, 2021

Ask and you will receive, Jesus tells his disciples. However, he also says that we are to ask in accordance with his will: “If you ask anything of the Father in my name...

Food and Generosity
Thursday, June 10, 2021

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy writing about spiritual values so important to our Benedictine way of life...

The Workshop of Community
Thursday, June 3, 2021

When people ask what drew me to the monastic life, I usually give a pat answer, something along the lines of the beautiful liturgy, the prayerful chant, the peaceful place, the usual things most people love about Saint Meinrad. But really it is the community itself, the fact of community, that (still) attracts me to the Benedictine way of life...

Late Bloomers
Thursday, May 27, 2021

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Luke 12:27)...

The Danger of Perfectionism
Thursday, May 20, 2021

Today my opening quote is from the Church’s “self-definition,” a document from Vatican Council II...

Believing, Belonging, Building
Thursday, May 6, 2021

Love is not a feeling. It certainly involves feelings, but ultimately it must go much, much deeper. More than anything else, love is a decision...

The Hidden Epidemic
Thursday, April 29, 2021

Mother Teresa believed loneliness was the greatest poverty, especially in Western culture. In Genesis 2:18 God said, “It is not good that man should be alone...”

Purity of Heart
Thursday, April 15, 2021

In his goodness, Christ has already counted us as his [children], and therefore we should never grieve him by our evil actions ... that he may never become an angry father who disinherits his sons..." Rule of St. Benedict: Prologue 5-6...This is an interesting passage in the Rule because Benedict applies the image of a father to Christ to encourage his monks to obedience as well as gratitude for the good gifts we have been given...

Take This Cup
Thursday, March 25, 2021

A friend of ours became a Eucharistic minister. She told us how deeply moved she was the first time she served as a minister of the Blood of Christ...

Time for Mending
Friday, March 19, 2021

As a nation, somewhere along the way, we have lost the art of mending...

Invitation to Prayer
Thursday, March 11, 2021

As Christians, we are called to encounter and embrace God's Word to each one of us...

Instruments of Good Works
Thursday, March 4, 2021

When I first felt an attraction to monastic life, it was initially the liturgy that drew me in. I loved the reverent way the community prayed together at Mass or at vespers on Sundays. What with the incense and the chant, it was a beautiful and deeply sensual experience of the Church at prayer. I loved that!

In the Middle of Chaos
Thursday, February 25, 2021

COVID destroyed the tranquility and order of millions of lives. Wars rage and new wars threaten to erupt like the wildfires that destroy forests and property on a yearly basis in several states...

A Continuous Lent
Thursday, February 18, 2021

So important was Lent to Benedict’s monastic outlook that, in his view, the entirety of the monastic life “ought to be a continuous Lent.”...

The Polar Vortex
Thursday, February 11, 2021

Winter can sometimes be a difficult and long weather epic. With all the news and noise about weather and challenges to families and kids in school, I find it appropriate to speak about how this phenomenon can be a beautiful opportunity to reconnect to Benedictine spirituality and prayer...

Let Mercy Triumph Over Judgement
Thursday, February 4, 2021

It is not “news” to say that Americans are a divided people. We are highly competitive and do not like “not getting our way”! Probably you were like me, still a little child the first time you experienced conflict – having a tiff over a toy, or a meltdown when a parent insisted that you eat your broccoli, share your crayons with your sister or clean up your room...

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Every once in a while, the distinctiveness of the monastic life really hits me. Where else but in a Benedictine monastery might you find a group of 50 or 60 men gathered in a room at 3:00 on an ordinary Wednesday afternoon to apologize to one another for their annoyances, their mistakes and their offenses against one another?

Living for the Future
Friday, January 15, 2021

George Gervase was born in Sussex, England, in 1569. After serving as a soldier in Flanders and with the Spanish army, he entered the English College at Douai, France, to study for the priesthood. Ordained a secular priest at Cambrai in 1603, he was sent to serve as a missionary to England's persecuted Catholic communities the following year...

Pondering the Sacramentality of Digital Technology
Thursday, January 7, 2021

My college years and learning to write code are well behind me; I am no techie. However, I do appreciate technology. I even find beauty in a well-designed MacBook Air, sleek phone, or smart washing machine...

Year In Pictures: 2020
Thursday, December 31, 2020

Finding words to sum up 2020 has not been easy. The year was unusual and presented many challenges...

Sleigh Ride to Bethlehem: The Season of Advent & the Popular American Christmas Song - Part 2
Thursday, December 24, 2020

The top Christmas hit in the subsequent year, 1944, was also from a film, Meet Me in St. Louis. In one scene, the teenaged Esther, played by Judy Garland, lies on her bed with her 7-year-old sister, Tootie, waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve. Esther is coming of age with a budding romance on the horizon...

Sleigh Ride to Bethlehem: The Season of Advent & the Popular American Christmas Song
Thursday, December 17, 2020

It’s that “most wonderful time of year” again!

Was Christ a Monstrous Hybrid? Pope St. Leo the Great Outsmarts Eutyches
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Eutyches. It is pronounced “you-tick-ease.” He sure was a thorn in Pope Leo the Great’s side, but we can learn a lot from their dispute. Their dispute is especially timely as we journey toward Christmas this Advent season where, on Christmas Day, we read the famous Nativity sermon of Pope St. Leo the Great during the Liturgy of the Hours. The line, “Christian, remember your dignity,” might stand out as a famous line from that sermon...

Living Intensely
Thursday, December 3, 2020

Last Sunday began the liturgical season of Advent. It's my favorite time of year...

Emerging with Grace
Thursday, November 19, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life as we knew it. None of us can shut our eyes to the impact it has had, and still has, on our physical health and economic well-being. Practitioners have warned about its effects on mental health, the loneliness and isolation that accompanies a quarantine that lasts, and lasts, and lasts...

God is Always With Us
Thursday, November 5, 2020

I have written before on the "fear of the Lord", long before COVID-19 and the present pandemic. Then, I reflected on this spiritual gift as a kind of "mindfulness" of God's presence and how the fear of God is the first of "twelve steps of humility," rungs of a spiritual "ladder" ascending to God and perfect love...

Quarantined in Rome
Thursday, October 22, 2020

When Br. Lorenzo started the spring semester in Rome this January to continue his studies in liturgy and church architecture, he had no idea that a few weeks later he would be quarantined because of a worldwide pandemic...

Pandemic: Lessons From a Monastery
Thursday, October 15, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has made an impact on all of our lives this year, so perhaps it’s time to get some advice from people who live together in close quarters – on purpose!

Contemptus Mundi
Thursday, October 8, 2020

The Christian monastic tradition spans most of the centuries between that first generation of disciples and the present generation...

Saint Meinrad: The Man, the Place, the Tradition
Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Saint Meinrad story is about the life of a Benedictine monk who dedicated his life to prayer and compassion; a location...

Pax Intrantibus
Thursday, September 24, 2020

Peace is a quintessential Christian virtue; you find it everywhere in the writings of the Apostles: If it be possible, as much as lies in you...

Time Again to Honor Your Inner Monk
Thursday, September 17, 2020

It’s difficult to say anything nice about living during a pandemic, but this time of canceled events and upended schedules did allow us to complete a project that we’ve been wanting to do for some time...

Our Faith Clothes Us
Friday, September 4, 2020

The Rule of St. Benedict contains a lengthy chapter that is essentially a list of good works. RB 4 is meant to be an inventory of the "tools of the spiritual craft" (4:75) that monks/nuns utilize in the monastic "workshop," the enclosure of the monastery (4:78), as they shape their lives in the image of Christ...

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Graffiti isn’t hard to find. We see it on the boxcars that roll through our countryside...

Powers That Be
Friday, August 21, 2020

All forms of media are devoted to people in search of power. Countries are at war, politicians wrestle for the upper hand and criminals are caught trying to take what they want while celebrities crowd each other out for the sake of publicity...

The Spirit of Silence
Friday, August 14, 2020

This idea of the spirit of silence caught my attention when I first came to read the Rule of St. Benedict several years ago...

Servant Leadership
Thursday, August 6, 2020

In Chapter 3 of the Rule of St. Benedict, we read that every monk, from the novices (beginners in monastic life) to the abbot (who holds the place of Christ in the community), is subject to the holy Rule...

No Answers
Thursday, July 30, 2020

A friend said, 'St. Monica had nothing on me.' I knew she had been praying for the conversion of her husband far longer than the years St. Monica prayed for the salvation of her son St. Augustine...

Seeds of Hope
Thursday, July 23, 2020

There is a story about Duke Godfrey of Bouillon, one of the leaders of the First Crusade. As Duke Godfrey lay dying in Jerusalem, he summoned one of his knights. The story goes that Godfrey gave this knight a small casket and instructed him not to open it until he completed the return journey to Godfrey's Château Bouillon in Belgium...

Benedictine Patience
Thursday, July 2, 2020

A word I associate most with Benedictine life is "patience." St. Benedict did not include a chapter on patience in his Rule, but the term seems to rise and fall throughout the text like the refrain of a song or a hymn...

Some Theological Reflection
Thursday, June 25, 2020

As the months of summer wear on, there are many questions that all of us are continuing to ask about how, when, where and what our coming months will be like, particularly as we move toward the fall formation term...

These Priests are Brothers, Too
Thursday, June 18, 2020

It’s interesting to hear what family members think when one of their own decides to study for the priesthood. Are the parents disappointed that there will be fewer grandchildren? Are siblings worried that their brother will no longer have time for them?

Fr. Cyprian Davis Pledge
Thursday, June 11, 2020

As I have watched in horror and sadness the many recent manifestations of the deep-seated racism of our country, I find myself asking what is asked of me at this time. I'm sure I'm not alone in that...

For the Scriptures Rouse Us
Thursday, June 4, 2020

These are difficult times. Our nation is engulfed (again) with outrage over the unjust use of deadly force on a black man...

Where Is God?
Thursday, May 28, 2020

All of us experience periods of spiritual dryness or desolation, times when God seems distant or absent altogether...

Unforgotten Brothers in Christ
Thursday, May 21, 2020

This week’s episode of “Echoes from the Bell Tower” takes you inside a men’s prison, so to speak. One of the state prisons in Indiana is located in the county next door to Saint Meinrad Archabbey...

Mutual Obedience
Thursday, May 14, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is, at least for the time being, our reality, and it is a real nuisance! One of the tensions that many feel after so many weeks of social distancing is the itch to "reopen," to "return to normal." That's to be expected, but we have to be cautious about scratching that itch too quickly...

Chasing the Holy Grail
Thursday, April 30, 2020

In the Dark Ages following the disintegration of the Roman Empire, people struggled with war, poverty and disease...

How A Historian Made History
Thursday, April 23, 2020

In this week’s episode of the “Echoes from the Bell Tower” podcast, we look at how the monks’ work can have a far-reaching impact. One of those ways is by forming the Church’s ministers. Through their teaching, the monks have made significant contributions to the larger Church – and to the world at large...

Deliberate Care
Thursday, April 16, 2020

In his chapter on humility (RB 7), St. Benedict acknowledges that as persons we are both physical and spiritual. We have bodies (made of the same stuff as everything else), and we have an interior, psychic landscape of thoughts, emotions, affections, memories and knowledge, understanding and wisdom, all of which make us more than merely material beings, they make us personal beings...

A Monk Away from Home
Thursday, April 9, 2020

We start our fifth season of the “Echoes from the Bell Tower” podcast with an episode about a Saint Meinrad monk who is living out his vows away from the monastery.

Good News and Bad
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Most of us probably are paying a little more attention to the news these days than we ordinarily might. Probably a lot more. I know I am.

Stay Calm and Carry On…Your Work
Thursday, April 2, 2020

When your mission is focused on prayer and ministry, but you’re living in a “stay-at-home/lockdown” world, you need to reimagine the ways you can pray with and minister to others...

‘Echoes’ Podcast Returns for Season 5
Thursday, March 26, 2020

We’re back – almost! Season 5 of the “Echoes from the Bell Tower” podcast is ready to launch on Thursday, April 9.

Homily for the Solemnity of St. Benedict
Monday, March 23, 2020

Ordinarily, on this 21st day of March, this church would be packed. Our seminarians would be joining us for the Eucharist. This year most of them have been sent home.

Oh, How Our Plans Have Changed
Friday, March 20, 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about this passage from the 4th chapter of the Letter of St. James these past few weeks...

Give Up Yourself
Thursday, March 5, 2020

Lent is more than a season for "giving up" sweets and soft drinks; it is a time for Christians to "take stock" of the whole of our lives.

Make Way for Silence This Lent
Thursday, February 27, 2020

While searching for some direction for Lent, we read through St. Benedict's Rule. We found much good wisdom for those living the monastic life, but what about the rest of us?

Equals Before God
Thursday, February 20, 2020

When guests attend the monastic liturgies that involve the monks processing into the church...

Praise is God's Gift to Us
Friday, February 7, 2020

Looking at the nooks and crannies of the Holy Rule of St. Benedict in an attempt to find little gems of spiritual insight, I find this little verse that I quote above from Chapter 9...

Organizing Youth Ministry
Thursday, January 30, 2020

This winter, I cleared out all the extra “stuff” from my home closets. It’s such a great feeling to have that one area of my life in such order! I was reflecting in my prayer over the weekend about how easy it would be to accomplish all my tasks if my entire life were so organized!

Are We Dying To Be Like Him?
Thursday, January 16, 2020

How quickly things can change. A good day begins, but turns sour before noon...

An Epiphany People
Thursday, January 9, 2020

Epiphany , like Christmas, is more than just a day in the liturgical calendar. In my view, Epiphany is a time for us to focus our attention in a particular way on the Incarnation of God as Jesus Christ.

Year In Pictures: 2019
Thursday, January 2, 2020

To sum up a whole year in a couple pictures and a handful of words is nearly impossible. It is a challenge we, the Saint Meinrad communications office, accept every year.

Stained Glass Windows
Thursday, December 19, 2019

During Advent we like to open the treasure chest of our faith and admire some of the beautiful things inside. Among the many things we view with a deep sense of gratitude are stained glass windows.

Stay Awake
Thursday, December 12, 2019

After studying the Rule of St. Benedict for some years now, I find it evident that some of the most critical components of what we call "monastic spirituality" are those items that Benedict spends the most ink on. The liturgical service of vigils, which was referred to as the "night office," is one of them.

6 Reasons to Make a Retreat
Friday, December 6, 2019

Advent is a time of preparation that involves making room in one’s heart for the coming of Christ. One way of approaching this discipline is by making a retreat. Here are six powerful reasons to make a retreat.

Gratias Agamus – Let us give thanks
Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Didache is a church order document going back to the first 100 years of the Church’s existence. It’s in our family history and parts of it have come down to us in the familiar Eucharistic liturgy...

Making Satisfaction
Thursday, November 14, 2019

When I was a seminarian, but not yet a monk, I would occasionally attend monastic services in the Archabbey Church. Back then, the community prayed Vespers at 7 p.m., so it was easy for me to take a study break to pray with the monks.

Deacons As First Responders
Thursday, November 7, 2019

Deacons are often called upon to be first responders for spiritual reasons. Sometimes a failing marriage, trouble with a teenager, or more serious things that involve addiction and depression might result in a call to a deacon. Ultimately, ministry to those who face death is part of our job description.

Workers in the Vineyard
Thursday, October 24, 2019

God told Abraham to leave the land of your ancestors and go to a land I will show you. All we are guaranteed in this life is an adventure. It is a wonderful thing to be guaranteed. When you were born, God said I am going to put you in a place where you do not know what is coming and you have the freedom and capacity to make choices to change your community and the world to make them better.

Understanding Our Christian Vocation
Thursday, October 17, 2019

Back when I was initially considering leaving the business world to pursue studies for the priesthood, I often framed it as deciding to follow Jesus. Of course, one doesn’t have to go off to a seminary to “follow Jesus.” One can do that in whatever circumstances or situation one finds oneself – the business world, family or farm life, serving as a teacher, a medical professional, or a beautician, for that matter.

Pure Prayer
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Monks are meant to be people of prayer. Prayer is so essential to Christian discipleship that, without it, a serious Christian life isn't really possible. To get to know Christ, we have to "sit at the feet of the Lord" and just listen.

Shrine of St. Meinrad
Thursday, October 3, 2019

A shrine honoring the patron of the Archabbey sits in the north niche of the Archabbey Church. Designed as a triptych, the seven-foot-high shrine is constructed of oak, walnut, and purple heart woods. It also contains a relic of the martyr Meinrad.

Fear Nothing
Thursday, September 26, 2019

"Day by day remind yourself that you are going to die." Rule of St. Benedict 4:47. The above text from the Rule of St. Benedict is sometimes more literally rendered, "Keep death daily before your eyes." Before thinking I've gotten morose and morbid in my middle years, let's think about how this admonition from the saint might be understood in a positive, Christian light.

Witness to the Goal of Life
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Since coming to Saint Meinrad in 1990 to study for the priesthood, I've learned a lot of new vocabulary! Words are important, and certain words are key to understanding the good news of Jesus Christ - his Gospel.

A New Way of Being Human
Thursday, September 12, 2019

One of St. Benedict's primary influences was an earlier writer in monastic spirituality and traditions: St. John Cassian (died in 420). In Cassian's conferences, he reminds monks, and by extension all who want to be more deliberate about following Christ "to your heavenly home," that we must do so by the process of conversion.

Saint Meinrad Professor Helps African Village Get Clean Water
Thursday, September 5, 2019

It’s interesting how a simple conversation can change lives. Dr. Kimberly Baker has experienced this firsthand.

Insights on Humility
Thursday, August 22, 2019

The chapter on humility is the lengthiest of all and plays an important role in the Rule as a summary statement of the chief "ingredients" to a monastic spirituality and an attitude to embrace that is truly Christ-like.

Meeting at Saint Meinrad
Friday, August 16, 2019

For Victor and Theresa (Parsons) Neff, the summers of 2006 and 2007 were full of memories, spiritual growth and life-long friendships.

Ascending by Descending
Thursday, August 8, 2019

There is no doubt that even a cursory reading of any of the four gospels gives the impression that humility is essential to following Jesus...

Former OBOC Intern Is Now a Dominican Sister
Thursday, August 1, 2019

Stacey Winterrowd was not thinking about a religious vocation when she joined a group of youth from her parish to attend the “One Bread, One Cup” (OBOC) conference at Saint Meinrad during the summer of 2007...

From Saint Meinrad to South Africa: The Journey of Archbishop Peter Wells
Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Ora et Labora, it’s not only for Benedictines, but prayer and work is for all of us who are in ministry.

From Monks To Marketing: My Content Creating Journey
Thursday, June 27, 2019

I remember grabbing a pad and a pen and going to remote areas of the campus that looked up at the Archabbey Church, I was never at a loss for inspiration there...

True Service
Thursday, May 16, 2019

By serving in the kitchen, refectory (dining room), church, or anywhere else, we express what Benedict calls "mutual obedience" by striving to address the needs of the community and thus solidify our mutual bond of fellowship...

Gospel - Poverty
Thursday, May 9, 2019

Blessed Columba Marmion, an Irish Benedictine monk and abbot of the 19th century, was a prolific writer on what it means to be a monk...

Easter Joy
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Easter joy to one and all!

Triduum: Memories and Mishaps
Friday, April 26, 2019

We have just finished the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter. If you haven't had a chance to listen to the previous episode of our podcast, "Echoes from the Bell Tower," it focuses on the Triduum liturgies celebrated here at Saint Meinrad...

Triduum: Walking in Jesus' Footsteps
Thursday, April 18, 2019

Today begins the celebration of the three most important days in the Christian faith - the Triduum. Triduum is Latin for "three days," and it refers to Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday...

What's Behind a Monk's Name, Part III
Thursday, April 11, 2019

If you were intrigued by some of the stories behind the new names that monks choose when they take their vows, we have a treat for you - another episode on monastic names!

What's Behind a Monk's Name, Part II
Thursday, April 4, 2019

In this week's podcast, we return to the topic of monastic names. Our third episode, which aired in 2016, was on how monks choose their religious names when they join the monastery...

Making Lent Count
Thursday, March 21, 2019

I'd like to reflect a bit on chapter 49 of the Rule of St. Benedict, entitled "On the Observance of Lent." The chapter begins with what many might consider a dreadful thing to say: Benedict writes that we are to live every day of the year as if it was Lent!

Absent Alleluia
Thursday, March 7, 2019

The whole of chapter 15 of St. Benedict's Rule is one verse. That's how short it is. The above excerpt amounts to a quarter of the entire chapter...

Peanut Brother: An Accidental Ministry
Thursday, February 14, 2019

A podcast about peanut butter? Yes, that's the topic of this week's episode of our "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast...

Witness to God's Love
Thursday, February 7, 2019

A couple weeks ago, we celebrated the solemn profession of four of our confreres. Joined by family and friends, the monastic community relished this awesome experience of final dedication to God...

Honor the Dignity of the Other
Thursday, January 24, 2019

There is a lot in the Holy Rule of St. Benedict about honoring the dignity of the other...

Set Out for the Loftier Summits
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Sometimes when we get caught up in the details of a project, or a process, we can miss the overarching goal or purpose...

It's All In the Family: Following God's Call
Thursday, December 13, 2018

In our last episode of the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast, we introduced you to Br. John Mark Falkenhain and his parents. This week, we continue the family theme with a conversation that Br. Kolbe recorded with his parents and two of his siblings...

It's All In the Family: Lifetime Commitment
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Like so many important decisions in life, joining a monastery has a ripple effect. Family and friends are touched by this life-changing choice...

Oblates: Ordinary People Seeking God
Thursday, November 15, 2018

What's an oblate? It's the topic of this week's podcast episode on "Echoes from the Bell Tower."

Upcoming Episodes: Saint Meinrad's Outreach
Thursday, November 8, 2018

We're excited to be releasing some new podcast episodes this fall! While many of the previous episodes of "Echoes from the Bell Tower" have focused on monastery life or life in the seminary, these new episodes will take you along as Saint Meinrad reaches out into the world...

One Bread, One Cup: The Young Church of Today
Thursday, July 26, 2018

Each summer, hundreds of teens spend five days here at Saint Meinrad as part of the "One Bread, One Cup" (OBOC) conferences...

Vow Charts: A Hidden Treasure
Thursday, July 12, 2018

In this latest podcast episode from "Echoes from the Bell Tower," we learn about a tradition of the Saint Meinrad monks that few people know about - and even fewer get to see...

Word With a Capital W
Thursday, June 21, 2018

In our newest episode from the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast, we look at some of the ways that "the Word" is important to life here at Saint Meinrad - both in the monastery and in the Seminary and School of Theology...

Keep Death Daily Before Your Eyes
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Welcome back to "Echoes from the Bell Tower," the third season of Saint Meinrad's podcast about life in a Benedictine monastery. We begin with an episode called "Keep Death Daily Before Your Eyes..."

Preview Episode - Remembering Fr. Rupert
Thursday, March 15, 2018

It's time for another season of the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast! The first episode, "Keep Death Daily Before Your Eyes," will be released on March 22...

Podcast Season 3
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Br. Joel and Br. Kolbe are here to tell you that "Echoes from the Bell Tower" is returning for Season 3! You can listen to our Season 3 trailer above...

What Brought You to Saint Meinrad? - Part 2
Thursday, December 14, 2017

As promised, here is the second episode of our "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast about "What Brought You to Saint Meinrad?"

What Brought You to Saint Meinrad? - Part 1
Thursday, November 30, 2017

When you have a connection to Saint Meinrad - whether as a monk, student, co-worker or oblate - one question often arises: What first brought you here?

Podcast Fall Trailer
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Echoes from the Bell Tower returns with new episodes on November 30! In this brief trailer, Br. Joel and Br. Kolbe get us ready for stories of what has brought people to Saint Meinrad over the years...

Composing Music: Bringing Prayers to Life
Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Before we take a break from our podcast schedule this summer, we've released another episode of "Echoes from the Bell Tower" about music...

Chant: Drinking God Straight
Thursday, June 22, 2017

This week's episode of our "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast focuses on Gregorian chant - the sung prayers that have been a tradition at Saint Meinrad since our beginning...

FAQs: Saint Meinrad Monks Have the Answers
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Saint Meinrad Archabbey has been around for more than 160 years, so we tend to hear the same questions again and again...

Abbot Kurt Explains His Coat of Arms
Thursday, May 25, 2017

This week's episode of the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast is a brief story from Archabbot Kurt Stasiak, OSB, about his coat of arms...

A Day in the Life...
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"What do you do all day?" That's not an uncommon question of monks and seminarians...

The Bells of Saint Meinrad - Again
Thursday, April 27, 2017

When we began our podcast, "Echoes from the Bell Tower," last year, the first episode was about the bells in the Archabbey Church...

Band of Brothers - Community Life, Part 2
Monday, April 10, 2017

Today's episode in the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast completes a two-part series on community life...

Season 2 of the ‘Echoes’ Podcast, and a Giveaway
Thursday, March 30, 2017

The podcast staff has been working hard to get the episodes for Season 2 ready...

Podcast Season 2
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Are you ready? Echoes from the Bell Tower is returning for Season 2!

O Advent, We Await Your Antiphons
Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gregorian chant has a long and rich history. This "preview" podcast episode, from our upcoming Season Two of Echoes from the Bell Tower, uncovers some of the chant tradition...

Preview Episode - Around the World Party
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The second season of our podcast, "Echoes from the Bell Tower," will officially kick off in March, but this week we've got a special preview episode to share...

Interview with Archabbot Kurt
Thursday, June 23, 2016

In a special episode of our podcast, Br. Joel and Novice Tony interview our new archabbot, the Right Reverend Kurt Stasiak, OSB.

It's Election Time...But No Campaigning Allowed
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This is the last episode in our first season of the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast...

Hobbies: What Monks Do Besides Pray and Work
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Brewing beer. Knitting. Beekeeping. Running. Collecting stamps...

Let's Get Personal - What's Your Name?
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Most of us don't get the chance to choose our name. Our parents took care of that for us when we were born...

St. Meinrad: The Man, The Martyr, The Place
Thursday, April 14, 2016

This week's podcast takes a look at the story behind our patron saint, Meinrad, a man who lived in what is now called Switzerland during the ninth century...

Episode 1 - The Bells of Saint Meinrad
Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The first episode of Saint Meinrad's new podcast, "Echoes from the Bell Tower," is now available!

3,2,1 - Podcast Launched
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

If you're a regular reader of this blog, this topic will be a digression from our regular writers...