Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

September 2011

(1) We're expecting Fathers Richard and Rupert to be dismissed from the hospital within a few days. When they arrive and take up residence in our infirmary, it will be the first time in almost six years that all 10 infirmary cells are occupied. We are fortunate to be able to care for our ill and aging confreres at home, and we are certainly blessed to have such a dedicated and professional nursing staff caring for them.

(2) Father Richard home has returned home. He's moving a bit slow, but he's obviously grateful to be in familiar surroundings. 

+++  Father Abbot Justin, Father Prior Kurt, Father Godfrey and Father Patrick, along with II year theology seminarian Tim Wyciskalla from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, were the judges in a "Pizza Cook-off" at The UnStable this evening. (Seminarian Tim merited the position by winning the "Chili Cook-off" at last year's Super Bowl party.) There were six contestants, one of whom was a monk and, somewhat embarrassingly-perhaps suspiciously?-the monk won. Congratulations to Father Brendan.

(3) Br. Maurus is offering the weekend retreat, "Pray Your Way to Happiness," to 22 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center. 

+++  We received word that Dr. Bill Gillespie, a former teacher in our College, died yesterday. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, know the embrace of our Loving Father in heaven.

(4) Father Jeremy is our Mass Heb on this Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

+++  Father Boniface had a stroke at his home in Indianapolis this afternoon. He was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and is now in observation in the ICU.

(5) Father Rupert returned from the hospital this afternoon and has taken up residence in one of our infirmary cells. 

+++  No classes in our seminary on this Labor Day, and so faculty, staff and students are enjoying a long weekend. 

+++  The monastic chapter gathered in the Chapter Room for a culpa service after Compline this evening; Father Abbot Justin presided and offered the reflection on Chapter 72 of the Rule, "The Good Zeal that Monks Ought to Have."

(6) Although we usually don't celebrate birthdays in the monastery (at least not officially), there are exceptions, and today was certainly one of those. Father Archabbot Bonaventure turned an energetic 93 today, and so we had colloquium and cake in his honor at our evening meal. Ad multos annos, Father Abbot Bonaventure!

(7) Father Boniface remains in the hospital under the watchful care of the medical staff. Father Matthias, living in Indianapolis, visited him today.

(8) Brother Romain, from the monastery of the Incarnation in Togo, West Africa, has been studying in our seminary for the past three years. He was ordained to the diaconate this past spring and today, on this feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Mother, he preached in our Archabbey Church for the first time. It was a busy day for him, as he also served as deacon and preached at the late morning Mass in our seminary! 

+++  Father Abbot visited Father Boniface at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis this morning. Father's left side remains paralyzed and his speech is somewhat slurred, although he has shown some improvement over the past few days. We continue our prayers, and he continues to be grateful for them.

(9) We have always considered the generosity of our many benefactors and friends as among our greatest blessings. Today we are again humbled, and most grateful, as it was announced that Catherine (Kay) Gaither, a longtime benefactor of Saint Meinrad who recently died, left a substantial bequest to Saint Meinrad Archabbey and our Seminary and School of Theology. Kay is the wife of Jack Gaither, who was formerly the principal of the accounting firm that once did our institutional audit. The endowment is expected to be worth about $5 million and will be used to create the John F. Gaither and Catherine W. Gaither Endowment Fund. Grateful for their generosity, we pledge to use their gift wisely and well.

(10) Eighty lay degree students are on the hill this weekend, taking courses offered by Father Denis, OSB (Foundational Theology), Father Tom Richstatter, OFM (Liturgical Year), Dr. Ryan LaMothe (Contexts of Care), Dr. Tom Walters (Catechetical Ministry), Father Harry, OSB (Introduction to New Testament Greek), and Father Eugene, OSB (Letters and Theology of Paul).

(11) On this Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Father Harry is our Mass Heb. 

+++  Today is also the tenth anniversary of 9-11. In addition to our personal recollections and thoughts, we tolled the death bell for three minutes beginning at 8:45 (the time the first aircraft impacted the World Trade Center), followed by pealing all the bells for two minutes. Representing the monastic community, Father Abbot Justin also offered a prayer and participated in a memorial service held at the American Legion in downtown St. Meinrad, as part of the town's commemoration of the 9-11 tragedy.

(12) Father Denis experienced chest pains this morning and so went to Jasper Memorial Hospital. The doctors determined that his heart did indeed "suffer an insult," and so some stent procedures are scheduled for tomorrow. Needless to say, the President-Rector's report to the monastic community on the "State of the School" has been postponed a bit. We keep Father Denis in our prayers.

(13) Father Denis' surgery went well; he'll likely remain in the hospital until Thursday. 

+++  Bernard Gunar Gruenke, president of Conrad Schmitt Studios Inc. of New Berlin, WI, presented the annual Dolle Lecture on Art and Architecture in the evening to many seminarians, monks, and off-the-hill guests. His address: "Build My Church: A Journey through Planning, Funding and Managing a Church Restoration or Building Project."

(14) On this Feast of the Holy Cross, an O.P.-ranked celebration, Father Prior Kurt presided at the Conventual Mass and Father Harry, our Mass Heb, preached.

(15) Father Denis returned to the hill this morning, full of energy once again, but promising to take things "a bit" easier.

(16) Brother Zachary is giving a midweek retreat, "Forgiven and Forgiving," to 10 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(17) Young people from St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Utica, Kentucky, are making a short retreat on the hill in preparation for their confirmation. Also on the hill are 18 men from St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis, making their annual retreat. God's blessings on all who come to the hill to seek Him!

(18) On this Twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Father Timothy is our Mass Heb.

+++  Father Abbot Justin left the hill early this morning, headed for the Dakota Territories. More about that tomorrow!

(19) Father Abbot Justin presided and preached at the opening liturgy of the year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota. Today is, in fact, the actual 115th anniversary of the death of Bishop Martin Marty, first abbot of Saint Meinrad (1870-1879) and, later, bishop of Dakota (1880-1889), bishop of Sioux Falls (1889-1895), and bishop of St. Cloud (1895-1896.)

+++  This evening, Mr. Kyle Kramer, director of our Lay Degree Programs, speaking as a representative of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, offered the monastic community a presentation on "Catholics, Climate, and the Common Concern."

(21) It was announced this morning that the Holy Father has accepted the resignation of our confrere, Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, OSB, due to the archbishop's health. Archbishop Daniel is 73 years old, and he was ordained as bishop of Memphis in 1987. He was installed as archbishop of Indianapolis in 1992. Archbishop Daniel has expressed his desire to return to the monastery. We thank him for his years of service, pray that God may strengthen and sustain him, and look forward to his return to us! 

+++  On this feast of St. Matthew, Brother Guerric Letter, OSB, a monk from Conception Abbey in Missouri, who is with us for his fourth and final year of seminary studies, preached at the Conventual Mass.

(22) We began preparations for Archbishop Daniel's return to us. Two adjacent cells on our first floor will be converted into a large bedroom/sitting room suite, and another cell has been designated to provide some office space.

(23) This evening, Father Pat Beidelman, an alumnus ('98) and director of liturgy in the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese, gave the first of two presentations to us on the new translation of the Roman Missal, which all Catholics in the United States will begin using on the First Sunday of Advent.

(24) This morning Father Pat gave his second presentation on the new translation, this session tailored especially for the priests of the monastery.

+++  Father Adrian is giving a weekend retreat, "Practical Christianity," to 29 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(25) Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and Father Subprior Guerric is our Mass Heb. Brother Anthony Baker, a fellow Benedictine from Assumption Abbey in North Dakota, who has been studying with us for the past six years, preached at our Conventual Mass. 

+++  Father Abbot Justin began a 10-day absence today: his agenda includes some meetings and visits and, fortunately, even a bit of vacation time. 

+++  This evening, the 35 students in our seminary's St. Luke Formation House joined the monastic community for Vespers in the Archabbey Church and the evening meal in our refectory. For many of our seminarians it was, of course, their first quick look inside the "mysterious monastery"!

(26) Father Abbot Justin left the hill yesterday morning to enjoy what I'm sure is an all-too-brief vacation! 

+++  This evening, the annual Gardner Lecture consisted of a one-man show on G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton was portrayed by John "Chuck" Chalberg, PhD, an actor and historian who has taught at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota.

(27) The "Gearing Up to Be a Pastor" Workshop, sponsored by our Institute for Priests and Presbyterates, is taking place this week. Eight participants, including five recent alumni, are taking part in the program.

(28) Father Severin Messick died this morning at the hospital in Greenfield, Indiana, where he had been for the past few weeks. Father was diagnosed with cancer in January; just last week he decided to discontinue the extensive chemotherapy he had been undergoing. May he, and all the faithful departed, rest in peace. 

+++  Father Louis Hacker went to Jasper Hospital this morning, and was transported by ambulance this afternoon to St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis. They are running tests and preparing him for possible heart surgery. We keep him, and all our ill and aging confreres, in our prayers.

(29) On this feast of the Holy Angels, Father Subprior Guerric presided and preached at our Eucharist. 

+++  Later this afternoon, he and other theology faculty and administrators headed out to New Harmony, Indiana, for the annual Faculty Study Day.

(30) Today we celebrate the 14th anniversary of the dedication of the Archabbey Church. As Father Abbot is away, Father Prior Kurt presided and preached at this O.A.-ranked feast. Our Archabbey Church is under the patronage of Mary, Our Lady of Einsiedeln. We ask her intercession, as we thank the many friends of Saint Meinrad who support us in our prayer and work. 

+++  Father Louis Hacker's possible heart surgery has been postponed once again. He remains in the hospital in Indianapolis.

Quote of the Month

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

When we wish to propose something to powerful people, we do not presume to do so without humility and reverence. How much more should we petition the Lord God of the universe with great humility and total devotion.

Chapter 20, "Reverence in Prayer"
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.