Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

February 2015 - Week 2

After I submitted the About the House last Friday, we had a unique development happen later in the evening. During recreation after dinner, Brother Peduru and Brother Antony (from Marmion Abbey) and Novices Jinu, Thomas and Timothy embarked on a journey of playing Jenga. We postponed the game toward the end of recreation in order to pray Compline. After Compline, we finished our Jenga game reaching 33 and 2/3 levels high. It was a remarkable feat that garnered a large audience to see its completion after Compline. It's the simple joys….

Last weekend Fr. Brendan led a retreat on the Hill for 45 men from St. Matthew's Parish in Indianapolis. The group continues to grow in number each year.

Several monks were involved in work with the Board of Overseers, who were also here last weekend. Their meeting took on a new format, which allowed for more conversation. On Friday night, they enjoyed a chili cook-off with the students at the UnStable. As part of their meeting, Bishop Charles Thompson of the Diocese of Evansville made a presentation to the Overseers on receiving international priests.

Fr. Joseph (our Mass Heb for the week) was the principal celebrant at our Mass on Sunday and seminarian Deacon Aaron Foshee from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City served as deacon.

Sunday afternoon brought on our open house. As part of the Year of Consecrated Life designated by Pope Francis, several monks were stationed at several areas around the Hill for an open house attended by an estimated 100 guests. Archabbot Justin, Frs. Barnabas and Christian, Br. Maurus and Nov. Jonathan greeted guests at the Guest House and then escorted them to the Monastery Entrance -- stationed by Fr. Adrian and Brs. James and William.

From there guests toured the Archabbey Church with Fr. Colman, Br. John Mark and Nov. Peter. A few steps away, they entered the monastery sacristy to view a wide array of chalices, croziers, miters and vestments displayed by Br. Kim and Nov. Jinu. Their last stop at the open house was in the Chapter Room with Fr. Thomas and Novs. John and Timothy. Guests enjoyed snacks and refreshments at the Guest House in addition to the library exhibit, and others stayed around for a concert in the Archabbey Church by the Choir School of First Presbyterian Church of Evansville, IN.

Each year we invite the formation houses in the seminary over for dinner on Sunday evenings. It's an opportunity for the monks to interact with the seminarians in our house. Fr. Julian, dean of the St. Paul Formation House, led his house over for dinner on Sunday. Deacon Michael Keucher of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is the prefect for the house.

On Monday evenings we enjoy our dessert during recreation between dinner and Compline in the calefactory. This Monday, Fr. Prior Kurt gave a brief update on the move out of the current monastery (in May) as we prepare to make major repairs to the monastery. He provided some tentative and concrete locations of the some of the main staples of the monastery rooms, such as the infirmary, refectory, calefactory, reading room, etc. Of course, these will only be temporary as the renovations take place in the monastery. He also fielded questions from the monastic community about the move.

Tuesday brought the Feast of St. Scholastica -- St. Benedict's twin sister. Fr. Joseph talked about the many facets, skills and talents of saints, and one of the most important traits of saints is their devotion to prayer, to praying up a storm. Your homework: research the story of St. Scholastica and St. Benedict, and you will understand his reference to "praying up a storm."

This week we also had a community meeting where we discussed our liturgical and spiritual life. It was an opportunity to review a survey the monks completed in 2012 about our liturgical and spiritual life. The discussion provided a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect on our liturgical and spiritual life and discern ways to continue building upon its firm foundation.

As in any organization, team or community, it's important for groups to reflect on their primary function and how they are flourishing or areas where they could grow. For the monastic community, because our primary function is to pray and work for the Church and seek God, it's important to touch base with one another as a community to see where we flourish and how we might grow. The community and a liturgy committee will continue to discuss the feedback.

Archabbot Justin and Br. Martin (our co-house prefect) returned this week from a brief trip to Conception Abbey, where the community there is undergoing a similar renovation and temporary housing relocation. The insight they gained will be useful as we continue to prepare for our transition.

With Lent approaching, we will continue praying up a storm for you for a fruitful and reflective Lent and the joyful anticipation of Easter. As always, please pray up a storm for us, too.

Each day the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey write another page in the long history of Benedictine monks throughout the world. Here are recent events chronicled at Saint Meinrad.