Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

August 2011

(1) Candidate Anushka Fonseka began his retreat in preparation for entrance into the novitiate this evening. Br. Francis is leading and directing him over the next five days. 

+++  Father Cyprian continued the jubilee celebrations from yesterday in which he celebrated 60 years of monastic profession, and his confreres Brothers Dominic and Mario and Father Warren celebrated 50 years, and Fathers David and Edward 25 years. Today was the actual day of Father's profession 60 years ago, and so he followed our house custom of taking the main meal of the day at the abbot's table. We had colloquium in his honor. Ad multos annos to all our jubilarians!

(2) Father Columba is offering a weeklong chant workshop, "Bringing to Life the Word of God in Song," to 14 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center. 

+++  Father Augustine, who suffered a stroke on July 29, has been transferred to the in-house rehabilitation center at the Jasper hospital, where he is expected to spend the next several weeks. He receives several hours of speech, occupational and physical therapy each day.

(3) Thirty-three Catholic school teachers from Dayton, Ohio, who arrived on the hill August 1, concluded their St. Remy Pilgrimage today.

(4) Father Abbot Justin and Father Patrick left early this morning for the biennial meeting of the General Chapter of the Swiss American Congregation, held this year at Westminster Abbey in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, Canada. 

+++  We were expecting our Brother Luke and Einsiedeln's Brother Thomas Fassler to arrive from Switzerland early this evening. However, their flight to Charlotte made an emergency landing at Gander, Newfoundland, due to a passenger experiencing a serious health issue. They finally landed in Louisville around midnight. We look forward to their recovery from jet lag and full participation in our life!

(5) We clothed Anushka Fonseka in the monastic habit in a brief ceremony prior to Vespers this evening, thus welcoming him into our novitiate. As Father Abbot is away, Father Prior  Kurt presided at the ritual. Our celebration continued after Vespers, with colloquium during our evening meal and a reception for Novice Anushka's guests after Compline. Anushka is from Sri Lanka, and he was most pleased that his brother-in-law was able to travel from his home country to spend a few days with him and another week or so in what is his first visit to the United States.

(6) Father Prior Kurt presided and preached on this O.P.-ranked feast of the Transfiguration. As is our custom on such days, we had an abbreviated table reading and enjoyed conversation during our evening meal.

+++  A group of 15 members of the pastoral council of St. Raphael Parish, Louisville, concluded a two-day retreat on our hill this afternoon.

(7) Father Meinrad is our Mass Heb for this Nineteenth Sunday and week of Ordinary Time. 

+++  We delighted in an organ recital in the Archabbey Church this afternoon, enjoying the expert performances of organists Michael David, Raymond Henderson and George Hubbard.

(8) A workshop for "New Pastors," sponsored by our Institute for Priests and Presbyterates, began this morning and will run through Friday. Seven new pastors are taking advantage of this program, including alumni Father Jeremy Gries (Indianapolis, '09) and Father Aaron Jenkins (Indianapolis, '08). Presenters include Sr. Patty Lasher, OSB, from Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, who serves as associate director of counseling services in our seminary, and alumnus ( '99) Father Gary Padgett of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

(9) Father Columba is in the second day of offering the second session of "Bringing to Life the Word of God in Song," a retreat presented to 10 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(10) Father Augustine continues to recover from his stroke. At the In-House Rehabilitation Center in Jasper, he receives several hours of speech, physical and occupational therapy each day.

(11) At Vespers, we blessed Brother John who, this Sunday, will be departing to begin graduate studies at Fordham University. Brother John is one of four monks we have in graduate studies; in a few weeks Brother Matthew will become the fifth as he heads for the University of Toronto.

(12) A very quiet day on the hill-and, certainly, the most pleasant weather day that's come our way in quite a while. Lots of people took advantage of a cool wave-temperature only in the high 80s!-to stroll around the grounds.

(13) Two groups are spending a few days on the hill this weekend. About 20 pairs-candidates for the permanent diaconate class of 2016 for the Archdiocese of Louisville and their wives-are making a three-day retreat. And there are 15 guests participating in the Youth Ministry Certificate Program of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

(14) On this 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Father Eugene, our Mass Heb, presided and preached. 

+++  Father Tobias returned to the hill this evening, after a fine and certainly well-deserved three-month sabbatical. This coming school year holds both old and new responsibilities for him. Father is the director of "Together in One Place" (one of our seminary's premier formation programs), an instructor of English-as-Second-Language, and dean for the St. Luke Formation House.

(15) We celebrated today the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary-an O.A.-ranked feast, and so Father Abbot Justin presided and preached at the Conventual Mass. In honor of the feast we had "Sunday Schedule," which allowed many a bit of extra sleep-much appreciated on a Monday!

(16) Father Augustine continues to recover from the stroke he suffered at the end of July. If his progress continues, we'll welcome him back to the hill toward the end of this month.

(17) Father Brendan is offering a midweek retreat, "Leadership: Witnessing to the Humility and Humanity of God," to 88 "San Damiano Scholars" from Marian College at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(18) Father Richard had some outpatient eye surgery done in Evansville this morning; he's returned to the hill, seemingly in good shape, wearing an eye patch.

(19) Twenty members of the Parish Council of St. Patrick's, Louisville, are here for two days of meetings and reflection. 

+++  Father Eugene is offering a weekend retreat, "Reflections on the Miracle Stories of the Gospels," to 57 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(20) We have 54 lay degree students on the hill this weekend, taking one of several courses: "Ancient Philosophy," taught by Dr. Chris Lutz; "Servant Leadership in Action," taught by Chris Urbanowski; and "Canon Law for Ministry," taught by Linda Budney.

(21) Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. Father Patrick is our Mass Heb, presiding and preaching at our Eucharist this morning, at which many of our weekend students joined us. 

+++  We received the very sad and tragic news that early this morning alumnus Father Jorgé Gomez and seminarian Stanley Kariuki were killed in a car accident in Tulsa. Father Jorgé was the last of our 2011 graduates to be ordained to the priesthood-just this past July 1. Stanley was a seminarian for the Diocese of Tulsa, and was about to enter his third year of theological studies with us on the hill. They were struck by a car running a red light and were pronounced dead at the scene. Fr. Jorgé's father is in Mexico and seminarian Stanley is from Kenya, and so funeral arrangements are pending.

(22) Abbot Justin gave a conference to the monastic community after Compline.

(23) Father Vincent is offering the midweek retreat, "By the Finger of God: The Miracles of Jesus," to about 20 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(24) Eighteen permanent deacon candidates for the Diocese of Owensboro are halfway through their week-long "Homiletics Week." The week is directed by alumnus and Diocese of Owensboro priest Father John Thomas and taught by alumnus Father David Scotchie of the Diocese of Orlando.

(25) Father Rupert had a bad fall in our refectory this evening, just as we were preparing for the evening meal. We took him to Jasper Memorial Hospital. X-rays revealed, among other injuries, a fractured vertebra in his neck, and he was transferred later in the evening to St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville. 

+++  Brother Matthew will soon begin his graduate studies at the University of Toronto. In preparation for this, he received the special blessing from Father Abbot Justin and prayers from the community during Vespers this evening. 

+++  After Compline quite a few monks enjoyed a social with the new seminarians, held in the Alumni Commons.

(26) Father Augustine returned home, nearly a month after his stroke. He is in good spirits and will continue with his physical and occupation therapy. 

+++  Father Richard fell in his infirmary cell, and received quite a few bruises and lacerations on his head and face. He was taken to Jasper Memorial Hospital and then later transferred to St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville. Our Father Harold, who lives in Evansville, anointed both Father Rupert and Father Richard this afternoon.

(27) Father Noël is offering a weekend retreat, "Simplicity," to 54 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(28) Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time: Father German will preside and preach at our Masses this week. 

+++  Twenty-one priests from the Archdiocese of Louisville began a two-day meeting of the Priests' Council at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(29) First day of classes for our seminary. Once again, due to the renovation of Newman Hall, some classes are meeting in the library.

(30) Father Richard is having a rough recovery from his fall four days ago. He seemed to rally a bit yesterday, but today his condition is reported as "guarded." 

+++  Fathers Denis (president-rector) and Godfrey (vice rector) and a number of seminarians were in Tulsa for the rites of burial for Fr. Jorgé Gomez and seminarian Stanley Kariuki, who were killed in a car accident August 21.

+++  Today is also the first anniversary of death (actually transferred from yesterday) for Brother Charles DeSutter; the Conventual Mass was offered for him. May the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

(31) As we close out the month, our confreres Father Rupert and Father Richard remain at St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville. Father Rupert was scheduled to have surgery this afternoon, but his operation was postponed (for the second consecutive day) because his surgeon was called to emergencies. The procedure has been tentatively rescheduled for tomorrow morning. Father Richard will remain at St. Mary's at least another 24 hours.

Quote of the Month

We end our month's entries with a quote from the Rule of St. Benedict:

Brothers who are about to set out on a journey should commend themselves to the prayers of all the brethren and the abbot. A remembrance of all the absent members must always be made at the final prayer of the Divine Office.

Chapter 67, "Brothers who are sent on a journey"
Translation by Fr. Terence Kardong, OSB, monk of Assumption Abbey

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.