From 21 to 29 September, the Abbots and the Priors of independent monasteries gathered at Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. At this every-four-year event, we were 230 voting members. Twenty four representatives of nuns and sisters and five delegates from other Christian denominations were also present. Globalization was the theme of the Congress. Professor Norbert Walter of Deutsche Bank and Andrea Riccardi, founder of the St. Egidio Community, which is composed almost entirely of lay persons, gave the key-note addresses. Benedictines are spread throughout the world and have always adapted to the needs and culture of their environment, while conserving the continuity of their particular spiritual heritage. So Globalization as the theme of the Congress, was highly apposite.
At the Congress we even witnessed a certain monastic form of Globalization. Namely, through courage and foresight, the Benedictine sisters and nuns are bringing women Benedictines into a closer association with each other and the male Monastic Confederation. They have received and welcomed the encouragement and help of all the Abbot Primates beginning with Rembert Weakland. We received the encouragement and blessing of Pope John Paul II at a brief audience at Castel Gandolfo. He also urged us to draw closer to Protestant and Orthodox monks.
Back home, our biggest events occurred on 18 June, the Feast of the Sacred Heart and the 150th Anniversary of the American Cassinese Congregation, when Mount Saviour was received into that Congregation. We will include a brief account of the history of Congregations within the Benedictine tradition in a future Chronicle.
Br John Thompson was appointed Novice Master or Novice Brother as we prefer to say, and Br. Joseph Amendola made simple vows on September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
Vocation concerns: We can welcome 5 men ages 35-45 from Jan.6-9 who are considering a monastic vocation. Please send a brief family, education & work history with your reservation request. We welcome inquiries at any time. Visits require times when some of the monks are more available.
|Retreats: 2004-2005 A.D.
Although we are usually able to meet with those who ask to speak with one or other of the monks while on Retreat, an increasing number of people would like a conference or two during their stay with us. While they share the rhythm of the Monastery, Eucharist and Offices we will give week end Retreats on:
December 17-18-19 on the Mystery of Advent - Christmas- Epiphany.
This event is a special Christmas Gift by the monks to whomever can take advantage of it. We will welcome both Resident and Day Guests. Vespers with the beautiful ‘O’ Antiphons Friday the17th at 6:30 PM then a Conference and Compline. Saturday 9:00 AM Mass & Conference 10:30 AM a hot meal and a Conference at 2:00 PM, Sunday the Conference will be 10:30 AM. Please make the reservation by Tuesday 14 December. A free will offering can be made by Day Guests.
Retreats will be
given in 2005:
March 11-12-13 on the Passion of Christ.
April 29-1 May on Mary Our Mother.
May 20-21-22 on The Eucharist in our Lives.
June 24-25-26 on The Universal Love of Christ.
$150 resident guests, $200 couples, $60 Day guests.
We will begin with supper on the Fridays and end after a noon meal Sundays.
Reservations by Phone or FAX to Guest Brother 607 734 1688 or 1689.
Any questions can be sent by e-mail to <email@example.com>
Conferences will be given by Fr. Martin Boler, Prior, by other monks of Mt. Saviour and Sister Marie Julianne, SSMN, former Superior of the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. These dates will be limited to those making the Retreats.
News Notes since May 22, 2004
Br. James Cronen celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his Ordination in the company of the community, his three brothers, and a host of relatives, friends and admirers of all ages. We had a wonderful Bag Pipe serenade. The event was a serenade but Bag Pipes hardly qualify as serenade genre. It was a very joyful affair. Fr. Justin Matro OSB, who brought sunshine into our winter quarters by giving our Community Retreat in March and Fr. Thomas Acklin OSB both of St. Vincent’s Archabbey were also on hand. Shearing took place on 29 May . This year 126 ewes gave birth to 231 lambs: eight triplets, 89 twins, 29 singles.
Throughout the late Spring and summer the monastery buildings were painted or stained and both cottages were improved - yours and our dollars at work! 27 June Fr. Gerard Sloyan gave the Second Damasus Winzen Lecture and brought back memories of the late 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Nathan Mitchell will give # III on 5 June 2005. July 25-8 Sr. Lynn Levo of St. Luke’s Institute gave conferences on sexual maturity. 30 July to 4 August, Br. Pierre returned to Montreal and Three Rivers Canada for a family reunion. 1 August Fr.Donald Raila OSB of St. Vincent’s Archabbey gave a lovely Violin Concert and we hope some of his confreres will join him in the future. On August 6, Br James Cronen received a new knee. Fr. Nathan Munsch OSB and Br. Peter of Holy Trinity Ashram, South India were here a few days and just missed 15 August, a very joyful Dedication Day with music by the Friends and Students of Phil and Claire Smock. Fr. Martin joined in Blessing the new and beautiful Big Flats Community Center. Abbot Leo Ryska OSB joined us 17-20 August. Fr. Brian Daly SJ gave conferences at Our Lady of the Genesee 8-12 October and Fr. Martin, Br William and Br. Joseph were able to attend some or all the lectures. In sharing New Jersey stories, Fr. Daly realized that as a young boy he had served Br. James Cronen’s First Mass.. 8-11 October, we hosted a very successful third session on small communities or Emmaus III. Emmaus IV is being planned for the Columbus Week-End 2005. If interested please contact us.
Br. Gereon Reuter OSB spent a week with us after retiring from many years teaching sciences at Newark Abbey. We are most grateful for the ‘sweat equity’ help by friends whose expertise exceedes ours. Barbara Reiter and Claire Johnson and their sewing machines; Rev. Andy Armstrong and skilled carpenters and electricians from his congregation; Joe Manzi and his group from Long Island who are always a great help. October 16-18, Joan Pape, Br. Luke’s sister and his cousin Douglas Pape, celebrated his feast day with us. We were saddened by the death of Msgr. Benedict Tighe on 17 October and gladdened by the visits of Fr. Brian Karvelis and the many priests, laity and religious who come each year. Br. Gabriel was able to visit his family this month. It is a busy time for Br. Bruno taking lambs to Hackettstown N.J.
On 2 November, we rededicated the beautiful statue of the risen Christ in the monk’s cemetery which Paul DeMarco restored to its pristine glory. We want to do the same to the smaller roadside crucifix soon.
Thanks be to God and thanks to all of you who have enabled us to be here again this year!Fr. Martin
Orchard and garden report 2004This years’ cool, wet weather made growing crops more difficult than usual. Fortunately the weather was favorable just long enough when the apple blossoms were open to enable the bees to pollinate the crop, resulting in over 10,000 lbs of apples. Part of the yield went into making over 400 gallons of sweet cider. Due to the generally inclement conditions we had a meager harvest of plums, peaches and pears. We received a donation of five pear trees as we began to replant what was lost to the fire blight infection in 2000. Early in the spring we learned about voles and the damage they can do as they devoured over 700 plants in the garden. Along with the weather, moles were an additional problem to contend with. Despite the setbacks, the garden still produced over one ton of organic produce. Notable successes include potatoes, sweet corn and sweet potatoes. Thanks to Br. Bruno (and the sheep!) 22 loads of compost were dumped and rototilled into the garden in anticipation of starting the growing cycle again in the spring.
How can this be?
This was the question Mary asked the angel Gabriel. I didn’t have an angelic visitor but I did ask Our Lord and myself this question as I began the journey of becoming a Benedictine monk at Mount Saviour Monastery.
My life had been pretty basic with the usual ups and downs. For 30 years I owned businesses and was my own man so to speak. God did give me great joy when I married a woman with two small children and I experienced the wonderful joys of marriage and fatherhood. The marriage did not last but the children did and they have always kept me in their lives. It was a proud moment when I gave our daughter in marriage and a great joy when she graced us with a granddaughter.
After our divorce in 1992, I filled my time with friends, working, playing and dating but I was just not happy. Something was missing but I didn’t know what it was except for a lack of deep joy in whatever I did. For example, I had the kids on Christmas eve and I spent Christmas day with family and friends. In a way, Christmas was always about the birth of Our Lord and little children. In 1997, the children were 21 and 23 so not little anymore, so with their blessing I decided to go on a spiritual retreat and celebrate the Lord’s birth. I did go to Church, although not regularly, so I asked my pastor, Fr. Jim Nash about a place to go and he suggested Mount Saviour Monastery. I made a reservation
The place was unknown to me and I did not know what to expect although I was excited at the prospect of spiritually celebrating Christ’s birth. Upon arriving, I was struck by the peacefulness and setting and buildings. The Chapel was very plain and simple yet elegant and I could not get over how in such a strange environment for me, I felt at peace instantly. I decided to attend all the scheduled services which began at 4:45 AM and if I didn’t like them or wasn’t moved by them, I would just not go to them. After my four day Retreat, I ventured home somewhat changed. I drove in silence, which was unheard of for me, and I found myself taking more time in silence, reading the bible and other spiritual books. I was definitely moved but not towards a Monastic vocation which would have seemed bizarre at that time.
The retreat did give me everything I was looking for to make a Christmas pilgrimage a new tradition. About mid 1999, I found myself reading books on Monasticism and asked myself what I was doing. I began reading about other forms of religious life but without the least thought of ever entering a religious community. Sometime in 2001, I realized I was not giving 100% to anything but I still couldn’t understand what was bothering me. In time, I did start to muse about monastic life. I was really arguing with myself and I finally threw in the towel since merely having fun, which I was having, wasn’t the happiness I longed to have. I finally realized God would not think less of me if I did not like it.
So I came to Mount Saviour on 23 December 2002 and made Simple or Temporary Profession on 13 September 2004 I ask your prayers that I persevere in this School of the Lord’s service and you will always be in mine.
Brother Joseph Amendola
| Please remember us in prayer and, if
also in your estate planning and will. Our legal title is -
The Benedictine Foundation of New York State.
Mount Saviour Monastery
231 Monastery Rd.
Pine City NY 14871-9787
Phone: (607) 734-1688
Fax: (607) 734-1689