Christmas 2001 No: 88
The most interesting news of the year would be summaries of the 50th Anniversary lecture series and CD’s of the concerts. With the limited space in the Chronicle, it seems best just to send you to our web site for a fuller report. www.msaviour.org and click <schedule> and <monthly news>.We intend to publish most of the lectures as a book in the not too distant future. Do pray for that!
The lectures were open to the public and all but two were on Sunday afternoons. The format was the lecture in the Chapel followed by a question and answer period, Vespers, light refreshments in our Refectory and we closed with Compline. Most of the guest lecturers were able to share something of their expertise with just the monastic community previous to their public address. That was an especial blessing for us.Another blessing was the help, physically and financially, by friends so that preparation of food and serving were not a burden for the community.
Certainly the most interesting news concerning our daily life is that we are still here together in the Body of Christ and in that quiet joy, the gift of the unity, which the Spirit gives. We also continue to grow slowly in the conviction that God’s love for us is active in the midst of the ambiguities and difficulties we share with all creation.We do owe a large debt to the men and women who have given the community retreats over the years. Abbot Jerome Kodell of Subiaco Abbey, who led us this year, made it even greater.His theme was The Way with all its rich meanings.Among themes of hope and confidence, he presented the narrative of Jacob to demonstrate that God doesn’t necessarily call the qualified but God does qualify the called.
On the first day of February, Br. Luke turned 91 and he gave us the gift of a lovely painting of the geraniums and other flowers in the entrance to the monastery. Fr. Martin attended the Abbots and Priors meeting at Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside CA. to learn about Generation X and their vocational aspirations. In March, we received another memorable gift. This time from the Company at Kirkridge who gave us as an anniversary gift a sculpture by the Dutch-American artist, Frederick Frank entitled Death and Resurrection. They also presented us with his transparencies of the Way of he Cross which we displayed on the Chapel windows during Lent. Fr. Martin went to Regina Laudis Monastery for the blessing of Abbess David Cerna OSB. It was while he was there as chaplain in 1950 that Fr. Damasus obtained permission to found Mount Saviour.
A very personal gift was the presence of Robert Renehan who offered his services to make some much needed monastic habits for the community and work blouses for ourselves and the use of those in the Summer Experience.Bob was with us from December until mid May and we can highly recommend him and his skills as a tailor.He can be reached at his home on 83 Washington St. #106,Penacook N.H. 03303.On the 26th of May, 191 lambs were given their final inoculations while their mothers and fathers were sheared. It is always a great family day for us and the guests as well as for the sheep and especially for the children. The Yellow Brick Road between the monastery and St. Gertrude’s guest house was opened on the 29th .Yellow brick was too expensive so we used asphalt. Anyway, there is something more wonderful than the city of Oz at either end of this road!
The visit of Abbot Timothy Kelly OSB and the Weston brothers in June included a tour of the new Corning Glass Museum under the expert guidance of Mary Ellen Ivers and Robert Cassetti. The last day of the month, Br. Pierre left to take part in the meeting of Benedictine musicians hosted this year by the sisters of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph MN.On 1 July we began the 12th annual Summer Experience for men 21-35 who wish to deepen their Catholic Christian life. They live with us until 7 August and are a great help in our daily tasks and a rewarding challenge to our experience as monks.
The Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6th marked 50 years to the day when ground was broken for the first structure to be built at the new monastery, namely the chapel. We welcomed some of our former monks to celebrate this day since they also share the credit for Mount Saviour being 50 years old. Bishop Matthew Clark was the main celebrant and homilist. A picnic followed in the rose garden with a number of other guests including Abbot Charles Wright of Prince of Peace Abbey, Oceanside CA. and Abbot Joel Macul, Newton NJ. Bishop Joseph Gerry, osb, former abbot of St. Anselm’s Abbey, Manchester NH and presently bishop of Portland ME was with us for the annual Dedication Day, August 19th. We had a delightful smorgasbord of music with Claire Gonta-Smock and friends.
On the fifth of September, Fr. James Kelly returned to the Army base in Germany where he had served a few years ago to replace the chaplain who would be away for three weeks. The events of the 11th had the base on a degree of security far stricter than that during the Gulf War. Happily he is now back at Mount Saviour. Br. Bruno made three trips to an auction in New Jersey with the lambs, rams and some ewes.At the moment this is better for us than selling to individuals. Coyotes are still a problem.
Br. William Uiting made his life profession (solemn vows) on 13 September.A number of friends and neighbors joined us for this most important occasion and the festive meal that followed. Br. William first learned about Mount Saviour while with Tom and Monica Cornell at the Catholic Worker Farm in Marlboro N.Y.. So it was a special delight to have them with us. Brother William had this to say about his present situation: “ I praise and thank God for the grace of my monastic vocation and now my life profession. I was grateful for the warm hospitality of the community when a guest and the experience continues even to this day. My experience with the Catholic Worker and the time at Peter Maurin Farm certainly helped prepare me for monastic life here. The ecumenical spirit, the liturgy, and some contact with our guests has also helped keep a balance in the life for which I am very grateful. Making final profession during the 50th anniversary year is an added blessing. A sense of peace and joy has stayed with me and, of course, solemn profession strengthens it. The generosity of the many friends in our extended community continues to amaze and gladden me. The conviction of God’s steadfast love in spite of so many faults and failings is something I am only beginning to realize. I ask your prayers that what God has begun in me, may reach a degree of completion by the day the Lord comes.”
In October, we received a quite unexpected gift not given to us directly, but we will benefit greatly from it. Someone purchased the 800 acres bordering us on the north and gave it to the Finger Lakes Land Trust.We have been trying for years to trade some of our property for some of that land which comes within some 50 yards of the monastery buildings. There will be no hunting and no development under the new owners. Finally, we want to thank all of you for your great generosity this Anniversary Year and for your generosity in so many ways that sustained us and carried us these 50 years!
So much has been said and written about the events of September 11th that I don’t want to add more words. I do urge heartfelt prayer for every human being on the planet. We pray to the God who can change hearts and to the Spirit who holds all persons and things together. We pray for the peace Christ is and has, his own unique peace, which he gives us. Then as St. Paul writes, we must not be overcome by evil whether our own or that of anyone else.As we acquire that ability, we can begin the long and arduous task of overcoming evil with good.St. Benedict’s last recorded words are that ‘under God’s protection, you can do it.’ He was addressing one person who wanted to enter the school of the Lord’s service while St. Paul was writing to many people and so am I. So the Christmas Message and the Good News from both of them and the Risen Lord and all of us at Mount Saviour is: “Together we can make it, I know we can!”
Lecturers and Special Guests for our 50th Anniversary
Top Row:Repr. Amo Houghton, Sr. Mary Collins osb, Professor Brian Tierney, Bishop Frank Griswold
2nd. Row: Abbot Timothy Kelly osb, Dr. Anthony Cernera, Judge John Noonan, Sr. Marie Julianne ssmn
3rd. Row: Dr.Sidney Callahan, Fr. Jeremy Driscoll osb, Bishop Joseph Gerry osb,Artist-Designer Bob Ivers4th Row: Fr. David Burrell csc,Sr. Camille D’Arienzo rsm
And New York State’s only producing banana tree, we think.
Here it is December and we are still harvesting vegetables from our small garden in the orchard. Thanks be to God.This year’s yield was 2,500 lbs of produce, from asparagus to zucchini, with a heavy emphasis on tomatoes and salad greens.Fortunately we have plenty of well-rotted manure on hand for future crops (with more in production) however we could use more laborers….
In addition, we were blessed with 9,000 lbs. of fresh fruit from the orchard. Unlike last year, this year’s apple crop was exceptionally good and free of disease.Br. Bruno excavated the stumps of the fruit trees that were cut down last year due to fire blight disease so now the process of replacing apple and pear trees can go forward. Because of a very generous gift of a new apple cider press we processed our own apples this year and squeezed out 355 gal. of cider, enough to supply guests and community until next fall. And yes, we have no ripe bananas – yet…however seven hands have formed on the 16 foot tree in our large (unheated) refectory and will have to hang in there and wait patiently, like us, for the warmth of the spring sun before they resume growth.Please remember us in prayer and, if possible, also in your estate planning and will. Our legal title is -