Meditation on Snow

Chapel by Bill StewartThey all come fluttering down from Him who is above all.  He sends them down to us to make a beautiful white covering of the earth.  It is wonderful how hee makes them all separate - each one like an individual.  And they're all of them different.  They've all got a beautiful patternwhich He has made specially, because there are no two of them the same.  And He  sends them down gently on the earth to make it look white and beautiful.
It's a bloody nuisance, just the same.

LogoMount Saviour Chronicle


 Fr. Martin and the monks of Mount Saviour.

Christmas 1998        No: 83
 (Please, read some of the texts while 11 pictures are loading)

Br. William Uiting made First Profession on September 14.  Br. Raphael Maley made Life Profession on 29th and Br. James Cronen celebrated 50 years as a Benedictine monk on the 11th.  We've asked them to reflect briefly on this time in their lives.

"Monastic life is giving me excellent opportunities to seriously seek God and has afforded the time and space to enter into a personal dialogue with Him.  Through this dialogue with our Lord
I hope to continually increase my knowledge of and hope for a greater acceptance of God, myself and others.

Br. WilliamDuring the two years I have lived in the monastic community of Mount Saviour, I have found that I am able to lead a balanced life of reading/lectio, study, work and recreation.  I have also come to realize the vital importance of the monastic community to the world community in God's plan to establish his kingdom.
Br William Uiting's simple profession pictured with Fr. Martin, Br. Luke and Br John Thompson in the Common Room.
I have found a true ecumenical spirit here at Mount Saviour where all who are seeking God are welcomed.  Because of this spirit, I have been inspired to pray attentively for Christian unity and for unity and reconciliation among all people.  I also feel I have a calling to pray for all men and women of good will who have dedicated their lives in alleviating the sufferings of others and who are seeking non-violent ways of solving the over-whelming and frustrating problems in the world."
                                           Br. William Uiting

Br. Raphael"Monastic life is a 'lived experience'.  People live it.  The many words written about monastics, about their life, and about their history, fail to convey the mystery at the heart of the monastic experience.  For those who pursue its wisdom, the meaning of monastic life becomes increasingly simple.  God calls and people respond, coming together to live under a master, following a rule.  As unwillingness gives way to willingness, the fictions of contemporary life yield before the demands of truth; and, sincerity welcome the influence of the spirit.
Br Raphael Maley on 9/29/98, the day of his Life Profession. Then something truly wonderful occurs.  Something unique begins to develop even in the presence of painful trials and many, many difficulties.  Not only does monastic life begin 'to happen', it feels more and more natural.  Clearly this is God's project, in God's time and with the strength of God's grace.  Five years after entering upon monastic life, I am convinced that God has done all of it.  What I thought was choice, my action, my strivings, my failures - all of that, all of me in everything - that 'lived' experience suddenly seems more like a received reality."
                                            Br. Raphael Maley

"To your eyes, a thousand years are like yesterday, come and gone. (Psalm 90,4). The psalmist is contrasting our human existence with the eternity of God.  At that rate, fifty years are but a few minutes.  Yet, fifty years in our human life span seem like quite a few even though they come and go very rapidly.

Anniversary BanquetOur tendency can be to relax now and coast a while; after all we are 'over the hill' and don't have to work so hard with the climb anymore. Red flags should go up at this point.  History is the great teacher in this regard with many examples of what has happened and can still happen. So, for instance, there are many stories in the Lives of the Fathers and elsewhere of old monks having persevered 50-60 years in an austere ascetic life, suddenly running back down to 'Alexandria' and thus loosing all they had gained.  But there are also other stories of those who patiently trusted in the mercy and grace of God, saying each day: Now I begin to be a monk!

For my part, I thank God for the gift of this calling and for all who helped foster it along the way.  Grandparents, parents, family, parish priests, teachers -religious and lay, and friends.  At the right moment, (kairos) the first monk I met, Fr. Boniface Cronen of St Paul's Abbey, acquainted me with monastic life and  I began my monastic journey there.  Also, Fr. Damasus Winzen, whose Pathways in leaflet form, kindled a deep interest in the Word of God and later in Benedictine monastic life, pure and simple, which helped draw me here.  I am confident this was all in accord with Divine Providence. With the help of your prayers and those of all the saints, I hope to begin anew each day to learn how to cherish Christ above all in union with all the members of his Body, the Church and this community of Mount Saviour."
Br. Jamews C. & Friends                        Br. James Cronen
On the 50th anniversary of Br. James Cronen's monastic profession, Barbara Reiter prepared and served the cuisine featured in the First Class Dining Room of the unsinkable Titanic.  Br. Luke and Br. Alexis in the foreground; Brs. Bruno, Martin, James Cronen & Gabriel against the bulkhead.  Rita Arns, Claire Johnson and Mary Skinner helped with the serving.


Br. Pierre has been appointed Cellarer, replacing Br. Sebastian, who has served with distinction for many years. Br. Sebastian's easing into semi-retirement was hastened by a fall which broke his other hip.  He is recovering well.

Guard DonkeysYou may have heard that two jackasses joined the community but don't believe it!  In early May we began to lose lambs to coyotes and maybe even a bob cat.  Bella, our Maremma guard dog, went into forced retirement since she is suspected of being an accomplice.  So we acquired two Jerusalem donkeys (their markings form a cross on their backs), known to keep predators away.  One is a jenny and the other her little boy, who is not a jackass yet, but is taking lessons from some in the community.

Visiting MonksWe have had a full share of guests this summer. It was a special joy to have six monks of the St. Ottilien Congregation here for their retreat.  Fr. Bede Classick, Denis Ndomba, Bruno Haule, Rudolph Stenglein with Brothers Godfrey Komba and Athanasius came from the Abbeys of Peramiho and Hanga in Africa, St. Ottilien in Germany, and St. Paul's in Newton, NJ.  They joined us as we attended the installation of Rev. Donald Matthews as Pastor of Grace Episcopal Church in Elmira.  Fr. Rudolph spoke to us on the situation of the Church and monastic life in Germany.

This topic was further explored by Dr. Harold Stahmer, Emeritus Professor of Religion and Philosophy, University of Florida, who has published the letters of Martin Buber and Fr. Caesarius of Maria Laach.  He spoke to the community and guests in September.
He discussed the development of Reichstheologie to which Fr. Damasus made a significant contribution.  All this is receiving much attention these days and his comments were very instructive.

Bishop Henry Mansell of Buffalo paid a surprise visit in August, a month that marked visits of Abbot Charles of Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside CA., Abbot Brian Clarke of St Mary's in Morristown N.J.  Fathers Daniel Sihersch, Altman Potsch and Maximillian Bergmayr of Kremsmunster Abbey added to our 'German Summer'.  It was good to see Fr. Nathan Munsch who took a breather from studies at Boston college to return for a few days.  He is completing his studies there and working on his dissertation.  It was also a delight to welcome again Fr. Emmanuele Bargellini, Prior General of the Camaldolese, who came with Sr. Jean Marie Pierce to Br. Raphael's profession.

Some of you will remember the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur used St James as a House of Prayer for many years.  In July, their General Chapter spent a weekend with us as a break in their meetings.  Fr. Martin was present in Buffalo as Sr. Julianne Farrington, Sr. Mary Hartley and Sr. Anna Gaffney celebrated their Golden Jubilee as Sisters of St Mary.

GardenBr John Thompson reports that our garden produced over 1100 lbs of tomatoes and the vegetable harvest saved us over $1300.  Special thanks and credit go to Andy Colucci and the others who planted and watered that the Lord could make the increase!  Neither the specific vegetables nor the gardeners are easily identifiable from this angle!
Neither the specific vegetables nor the gardeners are easily identifiable from this angle!

A report on the pilgrimage to Greece and the Holy Land from October 16-29 could take up several Chronicles.  Fr. James Kelly was our outstanding spiritual guide as was Diane Treveiler for the total care of 44 innocents abroad.  It was a memorable odyssey.

Roof RepairWork on the new Chapel roof is still in progress after a late start.  With luck it will be finished before the predicted severe winter intervenes.  Considerable work is yet to be done inside.  The roof and steeple in process....

Abbot Philip Lawrence of Christ in the Desert is with us as we go to press and we welcome his presence among us.  Do come yourself!

                                                   In Xto,
                                                  Fr. Martin

We ask your prayers for following deceased:
Abbot Hilary Draper of St Bernard's Abbey
Abbot Egbert Donovan of St Vincent's Archabbey
Arthur Richardson  .......   Arthur Rutty
Fr. Paul McCabe    .......   Anneliese Vietor
Eloise Spaeth      .......   Jean Stavrakas
Odilia Wilson     .......   Tom Donohue
Mary Bradley       .......   Kathryn Goetz

We are able to celebrate more  Mass requests than we receive. The Diocese suggests $10.  We will also accept less.

We are very pleased with the enthusiastic reception Madeleva Roarke's book on Father Damasus and the Founding of Mount Saviour has received.  It has been great to hear from so many whose memories have been jogged by the events recalled in the book.

As Andy Siegl's finger touched the key to send the manuscript for electronic demand printing, there was a major power failure in our entire region!  It almost sank the whole project.  The printer was able to retrieve and repair most of the damage.  A glitch not caught was that the final editing of several chapters was deleted.  A second edition is planned and the typo's now present... which drive Madeleva crazy, will be fixed.

MadelevaThe book is available from Mt. Saviour Shop with Master Card, Visa or check. $20.00 plus $2.00 postage and $1.40 sales tax for NY State residents.  Please make this a separate transaction with payment to the Shop.  Barbara Sekella, who runs our shop with grace & vigor, has offered to gift wrap and send a card with your greetings if you wish to send it as a gift for Christmas or any other occasion.  Just enclose your message.
 Georgia Crissy receives an autographed copy of the book on Fr. Damasus and the Founding of Mt. Saviour.

Our Oblate, Mary Skinner is offering a two week study tour for mature students of SUNY, Empire State College, on which she invites any interested friends of Mt. Saviour. The theme is "Monasteries, Cathedrals and Chateaux of Central France," an area in which Mary has researched women's and monastic history since 1968. The group (20 or less) will stay in modest, comfortable hotels in Paris and Tours.  By staying in monasteries in the Loire Valley and elsewhere, costs should be around $2,000 per person.
Contact Mary Skinner % Mt. Saviour or (607) 723 4552 or

Br. James & StudentsIn spite of some last minute cancellations, we carried on with the 9th Annual Study Program for men who intend to continue as Catholic laymen.  Br James, Valsin DuMontier II and Mark Navin share a teaching moment. 1 July thru 6 August 1999 will mark our 10 year. A limited number of places are still available for men 21-35 yrs of age.

Third Annual Adult Study Week,
June 6-10, 1999
ON DISCIPLESHIP.  Limited space available.
 $250 per person.

Please, remember us in your prayer and, if possible, also in your estate or will.
Our legal title is
The Benedictine Foundation of NY State.

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Published 11/18/98          with Netscape Composer 4.03