Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Vow Charts: A Hidden Treasure

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Read the full transcript of this episode

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.

Vow charts are handwritten, often beautifully decorated sheets that each monk signs when he makes his monastic vows. A monk can create his own vow chart or seek help from someone more artistically inclined.

The monk signs a vow chart twice, each time at a ceremony held in the Archabbey Church. The "first vows" ceremony is when a novice professes vows for three years.

By the end of three years, he has decided whether monastic life is right for him and can ask the monastic community to allow him to make "final vows," which are for a lifetime.

At each vows ceremony, the monk reads and signs his vow chart. The chart then goes into the archives until the time of his death, when it is brought out and displayed on his casket - a symbol that he has lived up to his vows.

Br. Simon Herrmann, OSB, and Br. Nathaniel Szidik, OSB, (photo above) narrate this episode while the usual hosts, Br. Joel and Br. Kolbe, are on summer hiatus.

The photos posted here depict the vow charts mentioned in the podcast. Starting at the top, they are the charts of Archabbot Kurt Stasiak, Br. Martin Erspamer, Br. Lorenzo Penalosa and Br. Joel Blaize.

You can see photos of vow charts from other Saint Meinrad monks at this link: https://saint-meinrad.smugmug.com/Art/Monastic-Vow-Charts.

Our quarterly newsletter, On the Hill, features a story about vow charts in the summer issue. Find the PDF of that issue here: https://www.saintmeinrad.org/media/1754/oth-news-summer-2018.pdf.

As always, you can listen to this episode at the top of this page or go to iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts and download "Echoes from the Bell Tower." Thanks for listening!

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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.


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