Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

January 2015

First Ten Days of the New Year

Along with the Universal Church, we celebrated New Year's Day as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Father Prior Kurt presided and preached at the Conventual Mass. (Father Tobias was Mass Heb for most of the week.) Over the next few days, two special groups concluded brief stays at Saint Meinrad: four young men taking part in a "Monastic Observer's Workshop," and two men participating in a "Serious Discerner's Retreat."

We celebrated another solemnity on the first Sunday of the year: the Epiphany. Abbot Justin presided at the Conventual Mass, and Father Germain preached. Later in the week, Abbot Justin left for St. Joseph Abbey in Louisiana, where he spent several days at a meeting of the Abbot President's Council.

Father Christian was our Mass Heb on Sunday, January 11, the feast of the Baptism of our Lord (and throughout the following week). On Sunday our five candidates returned from a 10-day break toward the end of their candidacy. These five men have been approved by the monastic chapter and so will be clothed with the scapular and begin their year of novitiate on January 19. We-and they-and look forward to their taking the next step as they continue their discernment of a monastic vocation.

Second Week of January

The flu has hit the monastic community with little respect for age. A handful of confreres, ranging from the mid-20s to the mid-90s, are "down and out" in various degrees.

The Monastic Chapter-the monks in solemn vows-approved the plan to begin the upgrading project for the Monastery this May. The project consists mainly of the replacement of the HVAC and plumbing systems in the "new" monastery (we still call it that, although it was completed and we moved into it in 1982!), with renovation and additions to the infirmary corridor cells and hallway.

One of the things this involves is the monastic community moving into and residing in the "old" monastery-now St. Anselm Hall-for the 14 months the project will require. More details later!

Novice Charles had successful foot surgery at the Jasper hospital; he returned to the monastery after an overnight at the hospital, and will be residing in our infirmary for some time.

As noted above, Father Christian presided at our Conventual Mass this week.

Third Week of January

Father Thomas was our Mass Heb on the Second Sunday (and week) of Ordinary Time. It was an especially busy week for him, as he had also been directing the retreat of our five candidates.

Those five candidates concluded their retreat and, clothed with the habit, began their canonical novitiate at a brief ceremony in the monastery Monday evening, January 19. We congratulate our new novices: Timothy Herrmann, Jinu Thomas, Peter Szidik, Jonathan Blaize and Thomas Fish! They and our two "older" novices-John Avery and Charles PeƱalosa (who began their 12-month novitiate this past August)-certainly have our prayerful and fraternal support.

On Wednesday, while most of the Universal Church celebrated the feast of St. Agnes, we observed the solemnity of our patron. Father Abbot Justin preached and Father Anthony presided at the Conventual Mass. After our Midday Prayer, we enjoyed a social in our calefactory, pleased to have joining us six of the seminarians who were assisting us in our liturgies that day.

Fourth Week of January

Father Meinrad was our Mass Heb for most of the week, although he and next week's Heb, Father Guy, switched Sundays to accommodate other assignments.

We enjoyed a several-day visit from Abbot Mark Cooper of St. Anselm's Abbey in Manchester, New Hampshire. One of his monks, Brother Stephen Lawson, is in his second year of studies in our seminary. He (and six other "visiting Benedictines") reside in our monastery during their course of studies.

We congratulate the two of our seven novices who are "monastically older." Novices John and Charles began their novitiate this past August, and this week received Chapter approval to continue with the final six months of their novitiate.

We also welcome Father John McMullen officially into the community. Father John, a monk of the recently closed Blue Cloud Abbey in South Dakota (a foundation of Saint Meinrad), has been with us since December of 2013, undergoing a "probationary year" with a view to transferring his stability to Saint Meinrad. The Chapter approved his request, and so we congratulate a "newer/older" member.


The next edition of "About the House"will be brought to you by a new editor. Novice Timothy Herrmann will be keeping you up to date about what's going on in the monastery-and considering our plans to move the monastic community into the "old" monastery for 14 months to allow us to renovate the "new," there will be quite a lot going on!

Many of you will know Novice Timothy, as he is a former "One Bread, One Cup" participant and intern. In addition, in the three years prior to his beginning his candidacy in August (and his novitiate a few weeks ago), he worked in our Development Office. I look forward to reading the next edition of "About the House"!

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.