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Echoes from the Bell Tower, a podcast devoted to stories of wit and wisdom from the monks of Saint Meinrad.

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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.

Time Again to Honor Your Inner Monk
Thursday, September 17, 2020

It’s difficult to say anything nice about living during a pandemic, but this time of canceled events and upended schedules did allow us to complete a project that we’ve been wanting to do for some time...

Our Faith Clothes Us
Friday, September 4, 2020

The Rule of St. Benedict contains a lengthy chapter that is essentially a list of good works. RB 4 is meant to be an inventory of the "tools of the spiritual craft" (4:75) that monks/nuns utilize in the monastic "workshop," the enclosure of the monastery (4:78), as they shape their lives in the image of Christ...

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Graffiti isn’t hard to find. We see it on the boxcars that roll through our countryside...

Powers That Be
Friday, August 21, 2020

All forms of media are devoted to people in search of power. Countries are at war, politicians wrestle for the upper hand and criminals are caught trying to take what they want while celebrities crowd each other out for the sake of publicity...

The Spirit of Silence
Friday, August 14, 2020

This idea of the spirit of silence caught my attention when I first came to read the Rule of St. Benedict several years ago...

Servant Leadership
Thursday, August 6, 2020

In Chapter 3 of the Rule of St. Benedict, we read that every monk, from the novices (beginners in monastic life) to the abbot (who holds the place of Christ in the community), is subject to the holy Rule...

No Answers
Thursday, July 30, 2020

A friend said, 'St. Monica had nothing on me.' I knew she had been praying for the conversion of her husband far longer than the years St. Monica prayed for the salvation of her son St. Augustine...

Seeds of Hope
Thursday, July 23, 2020

There is a story about Duke Godfrey of Bouillon, one of the leaders of the First Crusade. As Duke Godfrey lay dying in Jerusalem, he summoned one of his knights. The story goes that Godfrey gave this knight a small casket and instructed him not to open it until he completed the return journey to Godfrey's Château Bouillon in Belgium...

Benedictine Patience
Thursday, July 2, 2020

A word I associate most with Benedictine life is "patience." St. Benedict did not include a chapter on patience in his Rule, but the term seems to rise and fall throughout the text like the refrain of a song or a hymn...

Some Theological Reflection
Thursday, June 25, 2020

As the months of summer wear on, there are many questions that all of us are continuing to ask about how, when, where and what our coming months will be like, particularly as we move toward the fall formation term...

These Priests are Brothers, Too
Thursday, June 18, 2020

It’s interesting to hear what family members think when one of their own decides to study for the priesthood. Are the parents disappointed that there will be fewer grandchildren? Are siblings worried that their brother will no longer have time for them?

Fr. Cyprian Davis Pledge
Thursday, June 11, 2020

As I have watched in horror and sadness the many recent manifestations of the deep-seated racism of our country, I find myself asking what is asked of me at this time. I'm sure I'm not alone in that...

For the Scriptures Rouse Us
Thursday, June 4, 2020

These are difficult times. Our nation is engulfed (again) with outrage over the unjust use of deadly force on a black man...

Where Is God?
Thursday, May 28, 2020

All of us experience periods of spiritual dryness or desolation, times when God seems distant or absent altogether...

Unforgotten Brothers in Christ
Thursday, May 21, 2020

This week’s episode of “Echoes from the Bell Tower” takes you inside a men’s prison, so to speak. One of the state prisons in Indiana is located in the county next door to Saint Meinrad Archabbey...

Mutual Obedience
Thursday, May 14, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is, at least for the time being, our reality, and it is a real nuisance! One of the tensions that many feel after so many weeks of social distancing is the itch to "reopen," to "return to normal." That's to be expected, but we have to be cautious about scratching that itch too quickly...

Seminarian Studies Outside the Books
Thursday, May 7, 2020

Priesthood students learn a lot in their classes. They learn about the sacraments, they figure out how to prepare a homily, and they undertake serious study of Catholic teachings...

Chasing the Holy Grail
Thursday, April 30, 2020

In the Dark Ages following the disintegration of the Roman Empire, people struggled with war, poverty and disease...

How A Historian Made History
Thursday, April 23, 2020

In this week’s episode of the “Echoes from the Bell Tower” podcast, we look at how the monks’ work can have a far-reaching impact. One of those ways is by forming the Church’s ministers. Through their teaching, the monks have made significant contributions to the larger Church – and to the world at large...

Deliberate Care
Thursday, April 16, 2020

In his chapter on humility (RB 7), St. Benedict acknowledges that as persons we are both physical and spiritual. We have bodies (made of the same stuff as everything else), and we have an interior, psychic landscape of thoughts, emotions, affections, memories and knowledge, understanding and wisdom, all of which make us more than merely material beings, they make us personal beings...

A Monk Away from Home
Thursday, April 9, 2020

We start our fifth season of the “Echoes from the Bell Tower” podcast with an episode about a Saint Meinrad monk who is living out his vows away from the monastery.

Good News and Bad
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Most of us probably are paying a little more attention to the news these days than we ordinarily might. Probably a lot more. I know I am.

Stay Calm and Carry On…Your Work
Thursday, April 2, 2020

When your mission is focused on prayer and ministry, but you’re living in a “stay-at-home/lockdown” world, you need to reimagine the ways you can pray with and minister to others...

‘Echoes’ Podcast Returns for Season 5
Thursday, March 26, 2020

We’re back – almost! Season 5 of the “Echoes from the Bell Tower” podcast is ready to launch on Thursday, April 9.

Homily for the Solemnity of St. Benedict
Monday, March 23, 2020

Ordinarily, on this 21st day of March, this church would be packed. Our seminarians would be joining us for the Eucharist. This year most of them have been sent home.

Oh, How Our Plans Have Changed
Friday, March 20, 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about this passage from the 4th chapter of the Letter of St. James these past few weeks...

Give Up Yourself
Thursday, March 5, 2020

Lent is more than a season for "giving up" sweets and soft drinks; it is a time for Christians to "take stock" of the whole of our lives.

Make Way for Silence This Lent
Thursday, February 27, 2020

While searching for some direction for Lent, we read through St. Benedict's Rule. We found much good wisdom for those living the monastic life, but what about the rest of us?

Equals Before God
Thursday, February 20, 2020

When guests attend the monastic liturgies that involve the monks processing into the church...

Praise is God's Gift to Us
Friday, February 7, 2020

Looking at the nooks and crannies of the Holy Rule of St. Benedict in an attempt to find little gems of spiritual insight, I find this little verse that I quote above from Chapter 9...

Organizing Youth Ministry
Thursday, January 30, 2020

This winter, I cleared out all the extra “stuff” from my home closets. It’s such a great feeling to have that one area of my life in such order! I was reflecting in my prayer over the weekend about how easy it would be to accomplish all my tasks if my entire life were so organized!

Are We Dying To Be Like Him?
Thursday, January 16, 2020

How quickly things can change. A good day begins, but turns sour before noon...

An Epiphany People
Thursday, January 9, 2020

Epiphany , like Christmas, is more than just a day in the liturgical calendar. In my view, Epiphany is a time for us to focus our attention in a particular way on the Incarnation of God as Jesus Christ.

Year In Pictures: 2019
Thursday, January 2, 2020

To sum up a whole year in a couple pictures and a handful of words is nearly impossible. It is a challenge we, the Saint Meinrad communications office, accept every year.

Stained Glass Windows
Thursday, December 19, 2019

During Advent we like to open the treasure chest of our faith and admire some of the beautiful things inside. Among the many things we view with a deep sense of gratitude are stained glass windows.

Stay Awake
Thursday, December 12, 2019

After studying the Rule of St. Benedict for some years now, I find it evident that some of the most critical components of what we call "monastic spirituality" are those items that Benedict spends the most ink on. The liturgical service of vigils, which was referred to as the "night office," is one of them.

6 Reasons to Make a Retreat
Friday, December 6, 2019

Advent is a time of preparation that involves making room in one’s heart for the coming of Christ. One way of approaching this discipline is by making a retreat. Here are six powerful reasons to make a retreat.

Gratias Agamus – Let us give thanks
Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Didache is a church order document going back to the first 100 years of the Church’s existence. It’s in our family history and parts of it have come down to us in the familiar Eucharistic liturgy...

Making Satisfaction
Thursday, November 14, 2019

When I was a seminarian, but not yet a monk, I would occasionally attend monastic services in the Archabbey Church. Back then, the community prayed Vespers at 7 p.m., so it was easy for me to take a study break to pray with the monks.

Deacons As First Responders
Thursday, November 7, 2019

Deacons are often called upon to be first responders for spiritual reasons. Sometimes a failing marriage, trouble with a teenager, or more serious things that involve addiction and depression might result in a call to a deacon. Ultimately, ministry to those who face death is part of our job description.

Workers in the Vineyard
Thursday, October 24, 2019

God told Abraham to leave the land of your ancestors and go to a land I will show you. All we are guaranteed in this life is an adventure. It is a wonderful thing to be guaranteed. When you were born, God said I am going to put you in a place where you do not know what is coming and you have the freedom and capacity to make choices to change your community and the world to make them better.

Understanding Our Christian Vocation
Thursday, October 17, 2019

Back when I was initially considering leaving the business world to pursue studies for the priesthood, I often framed it as deciding to follow Jesus. Of course, one doesn’t have to go off to a seminary to “follow Jesus.” One can do that in whatever circumstances or situation one finds oneself – the business world, family or farm life, serving as a teacher, a medical professional, or a beautician, for that matter.

Pure Prayer
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Monks are meant to be people of prayer. Prayer is so essential to Christian discipleship that, without it, a serious Christian life isn't really possible. To get to know Christ, we have to "sit at the feet of the Lord" and just listen.

Shrine of St. Meinrad
Thursday, October 3, 2019

A shrine honoring the patron of the Archabbey sits in the north niche of the Archabbey Church. Designed as a triptych, the seven-foot-high shrine is constructed of oak, walnut, and purple heart woods. It also contains a relic of the martyr Meinrad.

Fear Nothing
Thursday, September 26, 2019

"Day by day remind yourself that you are going to die." Rule of St. Benedict 4:47. The above text from the Rule of St. Benedict is sometimes more literally rendered, "Keep death daily before your eyes." Before thinking I've gotten morose and morbid in my middle years, let's think about how this admonition from the saint might be understood in a positive, Christian light.

Witness to the Goal of Life
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Since coming to Saint Meinrad in 1990 to study for the priesthood, I've learned a lot of new vocabulary! Words are important, and certain words are key to understanding the good news of Jesus Christ - his Gospel.

A New Way of Being Human
Thursday, September 12, 2019

One of St. Benedict's primary influences was an earlier writer in monastic spirituality and traditions: St. John Cassian (died in 420). In Cassian's conferences, he reminds monks, and by extension all who want to be more deliberate about following Christ "to your heavenly home," that we must do so by the process of conversion.

Saint Meinrad Professor Helps African Village Get Clean Water
Thursday, September 5, 2019

It’s interesting how a simple conversation can change lives. Dr. Kimberly Baker has experienced this firsthand.

Insights on Humility
Thursday, August 22, 2019

The chapter on humility is the lengthiest of all and plays an important role in the Rule as a summary statement of the chief "ingredients" to a monastic spirituality and an attitude to embrace that is truly Christ-like.

Meeting at Saint Meinrad
Friday, August 16, 2019

For Victor and Theresa (Parsons) Neff, the summers of 2006 and 2007 were full of memories, spiritual growth and life-long friendships.

Ascending by Descending
Thursday, August 8, 2019

There is no doubt that even a cursory reading of any of the four gospels gives the impression that humility is essential to following Jesus...

Former OBOC Intern Is Now a Dominican Sister
Thursday, August 1, 2019

Stacey Winterrowd was not thinking about a religious vocation when she joined a group of youth from her parish to attend the “One Bread, One Cup” (OBOC) conference at Saint Meinrad during the summer of 2007...

From Saint Meinrad to South Africa: The Journey of Archbishop Peter Wells
Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Ora et Labora, it’s not only for Benedictines, but prayer and work is for all of us who are in ministry.

From Monks To Marketing: My Content Creating Journey
Thursday, June 27, 2019

I remember grabbing a pad and a pen and going to remote areas of the campus that looked up at the Archabbey Church, I was never at a loss for inspiration there...

True Service
Thursday, May 16, 2019

By serving in the kitchen, refectory (dining room), church, or anywhere else, we express what Benedict calls "mutual obedience" by striving to address the needs of the community and thus solidify our mutual bond of fellowship...

Gospel - Poverty
Thursday, May 9, 2019

Blessed Columba Marmion, an Irish Benedictine monk and abbot of the 19th century, was a prolific writer on what it means to be a monk...

Easter Joy
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Easter joy to one and all!

Triduum: Memories and Mishaps
Friday, April 26, 2019

We have just finished the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter. If you haven't had a chance to listen to the previous episode of our podcast, "Echoes from the Bell Tower," it focuses on the Triduum liturgies celebrated here at Saint Meinrad...

Triduum: Walking in Jesus' Footsteps
Thursday, April 18, 2019

Today begins the celebration of the three most important days in the Christian faith - the Triduum. Triduum is Latin for "three days," and it refers to Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday...

What's Behind a Monk's Name, Part III
Thursday, April 11, 2019

If you were intrigued by some of the stories behind the new names that monks choose when they take their vows, we have a treat for you - another episode on monastic names!

What's Behind a Monk's Name, Part II
Thursday, April 4, 2019

In this week's podcast, we return to the topic of monastic names. Our third episode, which aired in 2016, was on how monks choose their religious names when they join the monastery...

Making Lent Count
Thursday, March 21, 2019

I'd like to reflect a bit on chapter 49 of the Rule of St. Benedict, entitled "On the Observance of Lent." The chapter begins with what many might consider a dreadful thing to say: Benedict writes that we are to live every day of the year as if it was Lent!

Absent Alleluia
Thursday, March 7, 2019

The whole of chapter 15 of St. Benedict's Rule is one verse. That's how short it is. The above excerpt amounts to a quarter of the entire chapter...

Peanut Brother: An Accidental Ministry
Thursday, February 14, 2019

A podcast about peanut butter? Yes, that's the topic of this week's episode of our "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast...

Witness to God's Love
Thursday, February 7, 2019

A couple weeks ago, we celebrated the solemn profession of four of our confreres. Joined by family and friends, the monastic community relished this awesome experience of final dedication to God...

Honor the Dignity of the Other
Thursday, January 24, 2019

There is a lot in the Holy Rule of St. Benedict about honoring the dignity of the other...

Set Out for the Loftier Summits
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Sometimes when we get caught up in the details of a project, or a process, we can miss the overarching goal or purpose...

It's All In the Family: Following God's Call
Thursday, December 13, 2018

In our last episode of the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast, we introduced you to Br. John Mark Falkenhain and his parents. This week, we continue the family theme with a conversation that Br. Kolbe recorded with his parents and two of his siblings...

It's All In the Family: Lifetime Commitment
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Like so many important decisions in life, joining a monastery has a ripple effect. Family and friends are touched by this life-changing choice...

Oblates: Ordinary People Seeking God
Thursday, November 15, 2018

What's an oblate? It's the topic of this week's podcast episode on "Echoes from the Bell Tower."

Upcoming Episodes: Saint Meinrad's Outreach
Thursday, November 8, 2018

We're excited to be releasing some new podcast episodes this fall! While many of the previous episodes of "Echoes from the Bell Tower" have focused on monastery life or life in the seminary, these new episodes will take you along as Saint Meinrad reaches out into the world...

One Bread, One Cup: The Young Church of Today
Thursday, July 26, 2018

Each summer, hundreds of teens spend five days here at Saint Meinrad as part of the "One Bread, One Cup" (OBOC) conferences...

Vow Charts: A Hidden Treasure
Thursday, July 12, 2018

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...

Word With a Capital W
Thursday, June 21, 2018

In our newest episode from the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast, we look at some of the ways that "the Word" is important to life here at Saint Meinrad - both in the monastery and in the Seminary and School of Theology...

Keep Death Daily Before Your Eyes
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Welcome back to "Echoes from the Bell Tower," the third season of Saint Meinrad's podcast about life in a Benedictine monastery. We begin with an episode called "Keep Death Daily Before Your Eyes..."

Preview Episode - Remembering Fr. Rupert
Thursday, March 15, 2018

It's time for another season of the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast! The first episode, "Keep Death Daily Before Your Eyes," will be released on March 22...

Podcast Season 3
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Br. Joel and Br. Kolbe are here to tell you that "Echoes from the Bell Tower" is returning for Season 3! You can listen to our Season 3 trailer above...

What Brought You to Saint Meinrad? - Part 2
Thursday, December 14, 2017

As promised, here is the second episode of our "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast about "What Brought You to Saint Meinrad?"

What Brought You to Saint Meinrad? - Part 1
Thursday, November 30, 2017

When you have a connection to Saint Meinrad - whether as a monk, student, co-worker or oblate - one question often arises: What first brought you here?

Podcast Fall Trailer
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Echoes from the Bell Tower returns with new episodes on November 30! In this brief trailer, Br. Joel and Br. Kolbe get us ready for stories of what has brought people to Saint Meinrad over the years...

Composing Music: Bringing Prayers to Life
Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Before we take a break from our podcast schedule this summer, we've released another episode of "Echoes from the Bell Tower" about music...

Chant: Drinking God Straight
Thursday, June 22, 2017

This week's episode of our "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast focuses on Gregorian chant - the sung prayers that have been a tradition at Saint Meinrad since our beginning...

FAQs: Saint Meinrad Monks Have the Answers
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Saint Meinrad Archabbey has been around for more than 160 years, so we tend to hear the same questions again and again...

Abbot Kurt Explains His Coat of Arms
Thursday, May 25, 2017

This week's episode of the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast is a brief story from Archabbot Kurt Stasiak, OSB, about his coat of arms...

A Day in the Life...
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"What do you do all day?" That's not an uncommon question of monks and seminarians...

The Bells of Saint Meinrad - Again
Thursday, April 27, 2017

When we began our podcast, "Echoes from the Bell Tower," last year, the first episode was about the bells in the Archabbey Church...

Band of Brothers - Community Life, Part 2
Monday, April 10, 2017

Today's episode in the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast completes a two-part series on community life...

Season 2 of the ‘Echoes’ Podcast, and a Giveaway
Thursday, March 30, 2017

The podcast staff has been working hard to get the episodes for Season 2 ready...

Podcast Season 2
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Are you ready? Echoes from the Bell Tower is returning for Season 2!

O Advent, We Await Your Antiphons
Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gregorian chant has a long and rich history. This "preview" podcast episode, from our upcoming Season Two of Echoes from the Bell Tower, uncovers some of the chant tradition...

Preview Episode - Around the World Party
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The second season of our podcast, "Echoes from the Bell Tower," will officially kick off in March, but this week we've got a special preview episode to share...

Interview with Archabbot Kurt
Thursday, June 23, 2016

In a special episode of our podcast, Br. Joel and Novice Tony interview our new archabbot, the Right Reverend Kurt Stasiak, OSB.

It's Election Time...But No Campaigning Allowed
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This is the last episode in our first season of the "Echoes from the Bell Tower" podcast...

Hobbies: What Monks Do Besides Pray and Work
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Brewing beer. Knitting. Beekeeping. Running. Collecting stamps...

Let's Get Personal - What's Your Name?
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Most of us don't get the chance to choose our name. Our parents took care of that for us when we were born...

St. Meinrad: The Man, The Martyr, The Place
Thursday, April 14, 2016

This week's podcast takes a look at the story behind our patron saint, Meinrad, a man who lived in what is now called Switzerland during the ninth century...

Episode 1 - The Bells of Saint Meinrad
Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The first episode of Saint Meinrad's new podcast, "Echoes from the Bell Tower," is now available!

3,2,1 - Podcast Launched
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

If you're a regular reader of this blog, this topic will be a digression from our regular writers...