Mount Saviour Monastery


Christmas Chronicle 2007
Guests & Monks 2006
Guests and monks singing Christmas carols on the feast of the Holy Innocents 2006.

He will bring you everlasting joy with your salvation, Alleluia
Benedictus Antiphon 1st Wednesday of Advent

The translation of Colossians 1:24 that I remembered when we were reading about Mother Teresa’s suffering was:  “Now I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church.”  Is it really the case that St. Paul, or we, can make up for a deficiency in Christ’s suffering?  Absolutely not!  In Chapter 2: 11, St. Paul says:  “In him, you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ, etc.”. That is not Christ’s circumcision but a metaphorical circumcision of Christ’s community, namely ourselves.   A clearer translation would be: “I complete what is needed of the Christian sufferings in my flesh for his body.”  The Greek word, thlipsis, is never used for Jesus’ suffering but is regularly used of the hardships of those proclaiming the gospel.  We don’t experience Christ’s actual suffering but the benefits of it. We share the blessings in union with him by reason of our Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist and the other sacraments.  It is impossible for us to accurately describe this sharing in human language.  In the narrative in Genesis about how sin originated, we humans were duped by Satan, someone created by God.  God wanted some one created being to accomplish our restoration.  That, of course, was Jesus in his humanity.  God also wanted us, as creatures, to share in Christ’s victory.  And so we are given a share in the struggle and victory of his suffering love.  This does not solve the total problem of suffering by any means, but it does open a window for us to the realization that Christ now welcomes our sufferings into his own.  “As Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow” (2 Cor: 1,5).

Advent, as we have said before, looks forward not only to the birth of Jesus but to all the events  and seasons of his time on earth including his  passion, death, resurrection and sending of the Spirit.  So it moves us to consider the span of our lives and our times and the seasons we have lived through.  In addition, here at Mount Saviour, we have just finished reading the lives of Albert Einstein and Mother Teresa.  Einstein, His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson and “Come Be My Light, The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta” edited and commentary by Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.  Einstein recognized that now that we have nuclear weapons, and if left to ourselves, our future is hopeless.  Mother Teresa recognized that what St. Paul wrote in the letter to the Colossians, namely “the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past….now, manifested to his holy ones to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles:  it is Christ in you, the hope for glory”.  Christ is in and among us now and our sure hope is that we will share Christ’s glory for all eternity. He is among us as Lord of the nations who was promised for the last period of time and in us in his intimate union through faith and love and the gift of the Spirit.

Suffering in itself has no value but suffering shared with Christ’s passion is his wonderful gift.  How can we describe this sharing?  It is impossible in human language. We participate in God’s redemptive work. 

That is how it gets accomplished.  But we can’t say:  “We did it”. And we’d better not say to God:  “Do it yourself!”.  In the Epistle to the Ephesians, the relationship between Christ and the Church is so close it can be portrayed in terms of a marriage and can even provide the model for intimacy between husbands and wives.   

<>I mention this connection of suffering and hope because of what Christ went through and what many people may have to go through in the days and years ahead. Our suffering won’t be any less difficult to bear but the knowledge that we can somehow share it with Christ can make our afflictions almost a joy. The message of Colossians is important because it manifests the mystery that Christ is in us, our hope for glory. Our courageous perseverance in this belief and the hope it brings will give us not only a Merry Christmas but the courage to persevere to the end and to encourage one another in same joyful hope.<>

I leave the last word to Paul Claudel:  “Jesus did not come to explain away suffering or remove it.  He came to fill it with his presence”.              

                                                                                    In Xto,

                                                                                    Father Martin

Mt. Saviour Extra Events

Dr. Patricia Schoelles, ssj

During the month of March, The Friends of Mount Saviour studied the book Called to Participate by Mark Searle.  Each Sunday, a guest lecturer made a presentation to enable fruitful discussions:  Fr. Martin, Rev. Han van den Blink and Dr. Patricia Schoelles, ssj, (pictured above) and John Boler.

Fr. Carl Arico & Centering Prayer

  • On April 29th Fr. Carl Arico gave a delightful presentation to a large crowd on Centering Prayer. Abbot John Densberger, OCSO, and 2 other monks of Our Lady of the Genesee Abbey were able to join us.
  • The 5th Annual Damasus Winson Memorial Lecture occurred on May 6th. given by Sister Mary Collins, OSB of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, KS. It was on Faith and Worship with an emphasis on Baptism.  Her conference on The Church In Prayer is in our book The Contributions of Monastic Life to the Church and the World.
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  • Autumn Rose LesterDedication Day was the 12th of August.  Again it was a joyful day.  Claire Smock’s Musicians were splendid.  Autumn-Rose Lester showed a lot of talent at her young age.
  • On Sept. 9th Msgr. Timothy Verdon of Florence, Italy gave a slide-lecture on Russia & the West, Identical Christian Values, Different Cultural Heritages. Sept. 14th –16th Msgr. Verdon also gave a series of slide-lectures titled And We Saw His Glory: Seeing, Believing & Living the Faith. Individual lectures & discussions were: The Word and Images, Communicating Faith Through Art, Monasticism & the Arts, the Eucharist & Art.
  • Emmaus Experience VI was held Oct. 5-8th with a theme of “The Parable of the Prodigal Son: Stories of Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation.” It was a very successful program with over 40 people in attendance.
  • From Nov.11th until Dec. 9th the Friends of Mt. Saviour’s Sunday morning fall program has been reading Albert Nolan’s Jesus Today: A Spirituality of Radical Freedom. Discussions were lead by Prof. Anthony Bartlett, Dr. John Boler, Fr. William Sneck, SJ, and Fr. Martin.
  • On the 19th of November we celebrated our 50th year as an independent Priory. Fr. Damasus was appointed our first Prior.
  • We had 3 meetings with the NYC Oblates, both in NYC and here.
  • We are extremely grateful for the financial and sweat equity help you give us throughout the year, which enables us to be here, have a guesthouse and various programs for all who wish to share our life.
Quick Brief Community News

      Br. John Thompson went to the Fr. Ray Cary’s Behavioral Workshop on April 20th.
    * The weekend of April 27th the Ithaca Loaves & Fishes Group had their annual retreat with us.
    * May 2nd we took a CPR course and training in the use of the defibrillator we have.
    * Sheep shearing was May 26th.  That is always a joyful event for people of all ages.  It seems the donkeys and the llama have picked up a mistaken notion of Benedictine hospitality because the coyotes have eliminated some 40 ewes and lambs.  St. Benedict has a test for guests which the donkeys & llama have not recently applied to the coyotes!
    * In June our computers were connected to satellite Internet service.
    * The 3rd week of June Fr. Martin & Br. Gabriel attended the Cassinese Congregation Mtg. in Atchison, KS.
    * Br. Pierre was a guide & translator to a some Elmira students for a trip to Montreal and Quebec City, Canada on the 28th of June.
    * Our hay harvest started July 1st. Greg Ripkin and Br. Thomas began some theological studies on the Church with Dr. Anthony Cernera.
    * Fr. Martin visited St. John’s Abbey on Collegeville, MN. from the 2nd to 7th of July.
    * Due to two lightening strikes we had to rewire portions of the Chapel and Monastery building.
    * Towards the end of August we began the asbestos removal and replacement of the boilers. We are very grateful for the financial help that has made this critical change possible.
    * 29th -31st Aug: We were privileged to receive five seminary students from St. John Fisher College who were with us for their retreat and who will be studying for the Rochester Diocese.
    * Roger Proulx began his postulancy with us on Sept. 3rd.
    * 10th Oct: Fr. Martin was invited to take part in a reflection/prayer service with the Dalai Lama in Ithaca.

2007 Orchard & Garden

This year’s garden was deliberately downsized but still produced 1500 lbs. of fresh organic vegetables for the monastery. The stellar producer was potatoes. From 10 lbs. of seed potatoes we reaped a bounty of over 450 lbs! Tomatoes, which we still had fresh until after Thanksgiving, added another 475lbs.

The orchard harvest was downsized this year too; not by us but by nature. We still had a respectfully moderate and manageable crop of almost 9,000 lbs. of apples which, thanks again to many volunteer guest helpers, was picked in a record time of less than two weeks. Working against record heat for early Oct. our cider team, Brs. John, Thomas and Roger, pressed over 400 gallons of cider. Because we didn’t raise any beef cattle this year the apple pomace was given to the sheep instead. Our flock quickly adjusted to the unexpected addition to their diet and came running to meet Br. Thomas whenever they heard the tractor coming with another load!

Future Events for 2008

<>5th Annual Knitters Retreat – this popular retreat will be held Jan. 18-21, 2008. Please contact Br. James Cronen for more information or to register by December 30th for this enjoyable retreat.  <>The Sundays of Lent beginning Sunday Feb 10th we will have Centering Prayer – 5:30 to 6:00 followed by Vespers at 6:00 pm. This will be open to the public. More information will be available closer to Lent.  For other events regarding Centering Prayer, contact Deacon George Welch at (607) 733-6541 

May 4th – Kevin Seasoltz will be giving the 6th Annual Damasus Winson Lecure series.

OBLATES: we may need to contact you in the future for upcoming oblate events.  If you would like to be contacted for these events, please send you email address to Fr. Martin at .

Please remember us in prayer and, if possible,
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The Benedictine Foundation of New York State.

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Mount Saviour Monastery
231 Monastery Rd.            
Pine City NY 14871-9787
Phone: (607) 734-1688
Fax: (607) 734-1689