Mount Saviour Chronicle

Christmas 1999                      No: 86
Mount Saviour

In addressing the Christians in Rome, St. Paul wrote:  "I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers nor heights, nor depth, nor any other creatures will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord".  Could Y2K be one of the "future things" St. Paul was concerned about?  The crisis, of course, is not the year 2000, but the possible social chaos and financial disaster the malfunction of our computers could cause.  Would the social chaos and financial disaster be the worst  thing that could happen to us?  Or would it be our separation from the love God has for us in Christ Jesus?

In the same letter, St. Paul  also wrote:  "Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another...."To love one another sounds wonderful  but how might we do that beginning in the new millennium?

In the narrative of the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, human beings were created outside the garden and placed in it to hold sway over all the animals and plants,  till it and watch over it.  There is some evidence that we are 'fixing' to take that God-given employment seriously.  And there is some hope that this is a way out of our self-centered impasse.  If we learn to look down on the earth with  reverence and humility, as God looks down on it and us, we might re- discover our humanness and our vocation to ascend by humility from where we have descended by  arrogance and pride.  "You have been told what is good and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6,8)

The U.S. Bishops and  others in the Church have written that we need to acknowledge a certain Social Mortgage on our  land and legacy.  Although at Mount Saviour the land and buildings are legally ours, this private ownership is not absolute.  Not only do future generations of monks hold a certain  mortgage on the land and buildings, but there is a Social Mortgage held by our immediate neighbors, the local, State and Federal Governments, the Church; that is the non- resident faith community, and all  creatures large and small  who dwell here, along with  the vegetation  they and we enjoy.  In other words, we are in a web of relationships and God holds us responsible for how we deal with each of them.

As we become more convinced of our dependence upon God and more aware of our security  in  the love God has for us and the riches we possess in Christ Jesus, there will come that joy to the world of which the angels sang when the Word  appeared in our human estate at the first Christmas.  That joy is our Y2K wish for you!
                                                                    In Xto,
                                                                                                      Fr Martin

Br. John Thompson & mother
     The most important event for us and for him was the solemn profession of Br. John Thompson on November 1st.  It was a great day too, for his mother and the others who celebrated with him.  Br. John Thompson and his mother on his Solemn Profession Day.
      In a less public event, but also important for us and for him, was the entrance of Br. George Laliberte into the Novitiate as Br. Guerric on the 1st Sunday of Advent.  We ask your prayers for both of these men as they begin their different stages in the St. Benedict's 'School of the Lord's Service'.     We are encouraged by the work in the orchard that helped produce over 6 tons of  prize apples and lots of pears and plums.  Thanks to those who worked in the garden and kept us in fresh vegetables through most of the summer in spite of the drought.  The drought did diminish the hay harvest to record lows in spite of the efforts of Br. Bruno and the friends who help keep the farm equipment in working order.  Encouragement comes, too, from the skills of our cooks, Br. Raphael, Br. James Cronen and Br Gabriel.  We are happy that Piero Masia is back in the kitchen twice a week and for Br. Guerric's willingness to pitch in for Br James Cronen following his surgery.      The encouragement we experience from relationship with our families & friends also means much to us.  Br . Pierre attended the Annual Pratte family reunion in Montreal.  Fr. James Kelly represented all of us at the 40th anniversary of Msgr. Benedict Tighe's ordination.  Br Bruno managed some time with his family on Long Island and attended the installation of  Fr. Alfred Lo Pinto as Pastor of St. Therese of  Lisieux.       It was on 15 August 1978 that the altar and chapel were consecrated.  This year Dedication Day fell on Sunday 15 August and over 350     people attended the Mass and Brunch.     Our community  outing this year was at the home of Dr. & Mrs Calderone.  To be received graciously  inspires us to share our own gift of hospitality with  the many guests who visit us each year.       Br James Cronen had a third 'total hip' operation on 14 September and was back with us the 19th.  He is doing well and gearing up for the opposite hip!

Summer Students 1999The Mount Saviour Summer Experience
     Monastic life began as a response of lay Christians to the movements of the Holy Spirit.  It remains so today.  More and more of the laity  find that an association with a monastery anchors their faith and gives direction to their lives.  For the past 10 years we have offered men 21-35 yrs. of age the opportunity to spend 5 weeks from 1 July through 6 August in the monastery.  St. Benedict said the monastery was to be a 'School of the Lord's Service'.  That means to learn to be of service for God's kingdom and to learn to serve as the Lord serves.  These learned skills  are necessary whether one is a monk or not.  The participants in the Summer Experience carry and continue to develop these skills in whatever their calling in life. Summer Experience participants: James Piangozza, Robert Marco, Damon Williams, Andrew Hayward, Mark Chlapowski with Fr. William Sneck SJ
     We are now accepting applications for 1 July through 7 August for the year 2000.

Br. BrunoSpecial Presentations at Mount Saviour
     On 13 June, some 75 people attended a special  evening in honor of J. Madeleva Roarke entitled:  A Journey of Faith and Political Commitment.  It was sponsored by The Friends of Mt. Saviour, The Interfaith Hospitality Center at the Elmira Correctional Facility, The League of Women Voters, and the Southern Tier Interfaith Coalition.
     On 21 July, The Right Reverend Frank Griswold, Primate of the Episcopal Bishops of the USA, spoke to us about his meetings overseas with the hierarchy of the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches.
     In early August, Margit Kristensen, sister of our Fr. Ansgar who died in June of 1992, spoke to us of her experiences in Burkina Faso, Africa.  Margit is with the Danish Embassy and was able to bring us up to date on various situations in Denmark.
     On 14 October, Professor Brian Tierney, recently retired from the History Department of Cornell, gave us a brilliant lecture on the Development of the Notion of Rights in the West.
It is not John Glenn going into space but Br. Bruno going into bee space.

     In May,  Diane Treveiler helped organize another trip to Italy which included Br Bruno and Wes Kennison.  A trip which will follow  some of the Medieval Pilgrimage Routes to Compostela in Spain is being planned for September 2000.  One of the monks will be in the group.  Write us for information.
     In June, our oblate Mary Skinner led  a group of  oblates and friends of  Mount Saviour on a tour of monasteries and cathedrals  in France.  Br Pierre was the official translator.  The hospitality of  the various Benedictines  along the route, and especially that of the Trappistines of Laval and the Benedictine nuns of St. Croix de Poitiers, was as impressive as the famous sites.
     In October, Fr James Kelly  shepherded a group to the Holy Land and he intends to take another group there in October 2000.  Write him for information.

     We had a very fine Adult Study Week in June on Discipleship and the Cross.  Unfortunately we won't be able to have one in 2000.
     Also in June, Br John Thompson and Br William Uiting attended a Workshop for simply professed monks at St. Meinrad's Archabbey.  Abbot Primate Marcel Rooney and Fr.. Columba Stewart of St John's Abbey  directed the event which covered the Liturgy and a study of John Cassian's writings on monastic life.
     Br John also spent a month as a guest of Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside California.
In November, Fr. Martin attended  a conference in Westborough Mass. on the responsible care of  land and property.
     Our ecumenical Bible Study Group began the Fall & Winter session with the Acts of the Apostles.

     On Dedication Day, mentioned above, Clare Gonta, Daniel Paul and Mary Patricia Ciccariello entertained us with a two piano recital.  There is not much written for 2 pianos, but Clare was able to find some delightful music.
     Gina Russo, who helped at St. Gertrude's during the summer, gave a viola concert using the music of J.S. Bach and some improvisations of her own.
     Johannes Somary played  a CD of music he composed for  7 poems by Emily Dickinson and told us about  the creative process of setting words to music.  It made for a wonderful evening.
     Peter Calderone gave us a 'dress rehersal' for his piano concert which was a great success later at Elmira College.
     And from time to time we overhear the piano responding to the touch of our own James Kelly or Gabriel Duffee.  And that too is a joy.

                              The Mount Saviour Pilgrimage to Central  Italy
                                                  May 21 to June 3 1999

     It seems right that friends of a monastery would want to travel to Italy to trace the medieval roots of  monastic life.  Our journey through Lucca, Pisa, Florence, Cinque Terre, Siena, Assisi, Cortona and Frascati gave us a lot to see and ponder between meals.  Unexpectedly, we also had the opportunity to trace the roots of another medieval institution, which survives to the present day:  the hospital.  Hospitals were originally invented to care for sick and injured pilgrims.  Our group had both kinds.  But the illness and injury brought to us the grace of God as each traveler offered gifts of courage, knowledge, generosity, patience and good humor to overcome the obstacles and speed us on our way.
Sketch by Bob Ivers     Fortunately, our medieval pilgrimage wasn't too medieval.  The Villa Michela in Lucca kept us pretty comfortable napping by the pool as Brother Bruno planned our evening prayer (which met in our very own chapel).  At the Ristorante La Fortezza in Assisi, we ate a recipe that came to the chef one night in a dream.  Not even a heat wave could keep us from climbing to the Ristorante Cacciatore in Spello where lunch was served on a balcony overlooking the entire Spoleto Valley.  Sketch of Cella-Contona by Bob Ivers (5-31-99)
     As Giovanni, our bus driver, zigzagged us from Frascati to the airport, we all knew that we had experienced something more than just a vacation.  It had truly been an adventure of the Spirit, captured best in Giovanni's parting words, "Viva L'Amore!"
                                                                                                By Wes Kennison

Reflections on French Monasteries and Cathedrals:
Group to France Our oblate, Mary Skinner, arranged a trip  at the end of June, to learn more about Medieval Churches and monasteries.  I had the privilege to accompany a group of 19 friends of the monastery and interested people around central France.  It was my first visit in that country and I came back with two questions: "Why were so many churches built in the 13th century and why are they so large?"  Br. Pierre (lower right) with his group and the Benedictine nuns of Ste-Croix de Poitiers, France.  As I read my notes on the History of Spirituality, I could see the trend beginning with Cluny where the 200 monks practiced the "Laus Perennis" (continual prayer) to be ready to meet the Lord at the end of the first millennium.  They promoted the Liturgy as an anticipation of life eternal and they introduced the custom of offering masses for the dead.  The order of Cluny was very successful and they were able to build the largest church of Christendom until St. Peter's was completed in Rome.  Since the end of the world did not occur as expected in the 10th century, a reactionary movement took shape to avoid too much centralization; communities of hermits were founded: the Camaldolese and the Carthusians in the 11th century.  The solitude and the time for reflection enabled them to find new ways of thinking and doing things.  The 12th century is characterized by a return to the sources: Greek and Roman cultures are studied, the crusaders want to free the Holy Land, the Cistercians are founded to return to the Rule of St. Benedict, a new approach to apostolic life is seen with the regular canons (Augustinians and Premonstratensians), and cities are becoming larger.  Thousands of men and women are joining religious communities at that time.  In Romanesque churches, sculptures are not seen since the early Church avoided an art form that was reminiscent of Greek and Roman Antiquity.  We see paintings and frescoes and bas-reliefs.  Gradually, the figures come out of the walls and are self standing with the Gothic churches.  Since the newer type of architecture allowed more light with larger windows, artists were able to illustrate the bible with stained-glass windows.  It became the "literature of the illiterate".  Although there was competition between cities to show off their religious monuments and in spite of the publicity surrounding the relics of saints at those famous shrines, the zeal and the faith of the population to build God's house is obvious.  It is easy to sing: "How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts".
                                                                                                              Br. Pierre

Fr. James Kelly in Jerusalem
Fr. James Kelly and his flock on the Mount of Olives.

Special prayers are said several times a day for our Oblates and Benefactors.  They are also remembered at the daily Liturgy and at a special Mass each month.  We ask you to join us in prayer for all who died recently, especially:

Bishop Dennis Hickey of Rochester                     Joseph Glaeser
Fr. Boniface Cronin                                             James Lyons
Sister Margaret Adelaide SSJ                              Art Rohde
Br Aelred Shanley                                               Amelia Foyo
Maria Antoinette (Etta) Jerome                            Gwen Stinson Robinson
Susan Gonta                                                        Valsin Dumontier II

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

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