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                      Christmas 2009  No. 96


Greetings to all our oblates and friends.  The season of Advent has arrived. It is time to make a new beginning, a fresh start and that I am hoping to accomplish which I failed to do last spring. As a result of that many people  did not know the date of Dedication Day in August and were disappointed. I am very sorry about that. It took place on Sunday, August 16th and we had a full house, thanks be to God!  The church was full for the Eucharist wherein we thanked God for his goodness and love for us during the past year and many years.  It was a pleasant day; not too hot ,as sometimes is the case.  The afternoon musical  event was delightful. Clare Smock and her friend, Jamie, played our two pianos together with brilliant skill and enthusiasm for more than an hour to the appreciation of all and a standing ovation!  Our thanks and appreciation to them for such a pleasant contribution to our celebration.  So, I am behind schedule with our news report unless you have checked our web site which Br. Pierre updates each month.  Christmas and the Mystery of the Incarnation were the highlight of the season, of course, and many guests came during that time.  We had some illness namely Br. William Uiting who came down with Parkinson's Disease but after a few months of treatment he was able to return home and gets around with a walker to most of whatever we are doing. Father Martin, now in retirement after 38 years of tending the flock and all its needs, is away resting and recuperating. He is 85 now and needs to slow down a bit. After a couple of falls which agitated some older back injuries, he needed a good  rest and some physio-therapy which is helping a great deal.January brought sad news with the death of Helen Siegl, a long time oblate, friend and renowned artist who peacefully ended her journey through this life on the 26th. Many friends joined her family and us for her funeral Mass on Feb. 7th.  In March another friend and unforgetable presence at M.S. died also, Uli Schiefer at age 93. She assisted us at St. Gertrude's guest house for many years with her cheerful and witty personality. After our annual ecumenical visit to Grace Church on Laetare Sunday for Vespers and Compline, Lent continued on into Holy Week when on Good Friday morning Brother John Brown was called into the next life having suffered for some time with Leukemia; and, was buried here in the community cemetery. Many will remember him as one of the earliest members of M.S. during the "growing pains" of the foundation.
Br. ThomasOur most joyful event was the solemn profession of Brother Thomas Colucci on Pentecost, May 31st. This took place during Mass with all the monks and the Colucci family and friends and oblates and with a reception afterwards. In the Fall, shortly afterwards, we sent him off to Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pa. to begin studies for the priesthood at their seminary which he is enjoying. During July and August this summer both Br. Pierre and Fr. James had cataracts removed from both eyes at Guthrie Clinic. The first discovery for both of us was that all colors were clearer and brighter than before.

And finally, in September, John Boler, Father Martin's brother died. He came to live here after retiring from his position as Head of the Philosophy Department at Washington State University. First he built a house on a neighboring hill and after several years came to live on our hill to be closer to his brother and us. John was a great help to us in many ways.  It is helpful to have a "wise man" (philosopher) near at hand when a crisis occurs. He suffered patiently with fibrosis of the lungs and passed quietly during the night of September 4th. 

Back to Spring:  after the climax of the Liturgical Year i.e. the Paschal Vigil, 4/12, 4:30am to 8:00am and the festive breakfast for all that followed it. Then came the birthing of the new lambs.  Br. Pierre, our shepherd, became very busy at his maternity ward set in the barn.  One of the most pleasant scenes then appears on the fresh green grass of our hillside pasture, i.e. from a distance, namely the road descending the opposite hill one sees  an increasing number of large white dots accompanied by two small white dots spreading out across the whole area.!!  Next on May 3rd, the Damasus Winzen Lecture, an annual event commemorating our beloved founder.  This year the lecture was given by Sr. Judith Kubicki C.S.S.F. Theologian-Liturgist from Fordham University and her theme was "The Presence of Christ in the Gathered Assembly"which was well received and appreciated as was the lively discussion which followed. The 2010 lecture, May 2nd will be given by Dr. Richard Gaillardetz, professor of theology at the University of Toledo.  Our community retreat was given by Fr. Dale Launderville of St. John's Abbey and was greatly appreciated.September saw the arrival of the current members of the first group of oblates which gathered around Fr. Damasus in New York City back in the early 1950's, headed by Douglas & Marie Gravel, for a weekend of retreat. In October the 8th annual meeting of the Emmaus Group came on Columbus Day weekend and was an exceptionally fine program. Finally, lest I forget again, Dedication Day in 2010 will be on August 15th, feast of the Assumption of Our Lady.  The general rule is to have it on the Sunday nearest the feast of the Assumption. This year therefore on the very day itself.

DDay concert
Dedication Day Concert  2009

This chronicle may reach you at about the middle of Advent, "Gaudete" or Rejoice and Be Glad Sunday when the theme begins to shift from the final Coming of the Risen Glorious Lord to the first coming of the Word in human flesh, Incarnation, called by St. Athanasius, the greatest act of God outside the Trinity. So great a gift  exceeds our comprehension and capacity to articulate it.  We need the final coming , our own divinisation, to help us grasp something of its greatness. 

 We are happy to report more improvements such as: in the boiler room, more followup details after the major change of boilers and burners of the preceeding year.  Also the installation of a new automatic door, the one which leads from the monastery toward the chapel across the outdoor link. This is especially helpful for Br William who uses a walker to go to and fro.  We have also begun to renovate the infirmary wing to improve accommodations there.  Also, to meet new requirements, we have had to remove some older oil supply tanks, which are under ground, for safety reasons.  In process right now is the repair and renewal of the fencing around our pastures, new fence posts and wiring ( quite extensive); this is a cost sharing arrangement with the Resource & Conservation & Development Program funded by NY State. We provide the work and they the materials. A three year grant now reduced for financial reasons to two years ending with December, 2009.  We will need some help to complete this project.  Another important project for the history of M.S. is that of making more permanent recordings of Father Damasus's homilies and conferences recorded, but on earlier quality tapes, now aging. We already have a quote for transfering them to permanent tapes. This will be rather expensive.  Then, there is a growing need for an elevator device which will allow easier access from the upper level to the crypt level of the chapel for aging monks and visitors.  Just one more, before Santa presses the delete button,  the West Casa is in need of a new sofa bed in the sitting room, especially for visitors with small families.

Before closing, I would like to tell about a very special event which took place Nov. 19. This was a  great celebration at Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe Pa. which I was invited to attend. This is the mother-house of the American Cassinese Benedictine Congregation.  It is the one to which we belong  founded in 1846 from the Abbey of Metten in Germany. The founder was the pioneering Fr. Boniface Wimmer who became Archabbot of a rapidly growing and expanding community of monasteries throughout this country,Canada, Central and South America as well as Taiwan and Japan.  The celebration was in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of this great man and in thanksgiving for his inspiration and tremendous zeal which has benefited so many people in so many places. The present successor of Archabbot Boniface at St. Vincent is Archabbot Douglas Nowicki who with his whole community prepared this marvelous celebration to honor and revere their beloved founder.  Many dignitaries attended; especially, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia who presided at the solemn celebration of the Eucharist in the great basilica, local bishops, abbots of the houses and priors( even I was invited to represent Mount Saviour!),  ecumenical guests and hundreds of the faithful. It was my first visit to this large monastery and I was much impressed by its exquisite Benedictine hospitality and dedication to the ideals and ideas of their esteemed founder.

May the Advent and Christmas seasons be cause and occasion of many blessings and joy for all of you.

Fr. James Cronen, osb



A cool, wet summer proved challenging for keeping fruit diseases under control (thanks go to Br. Bruno for the spraying) yet proved highly beneficial for other crops. The apple crop, helped by abundant moisture, came in at 12,700 lbs.. We sold over 1,300 lbs. of apples and froze over 500 gallons of cider. Students and staff from Cathedral Prep in Erie Pa. plus numerous other guests were a big help in completing the tasks in three and a half weeks. Because we escaped spring frosts other fruits were abundant as well.

From the garden we are still enjoying the over 400 lbs. of winter squash. We also continue to eat our way through 266 lbs. of potatoes, all from just the 5lbs. planted, for a ratio of better than 50:1! Although we didn’t have as many tomatoes as usual we were fortunate to have them at all as many gardeners in our area and along the East coast lost theirs to blight. Thanks to a mild November many much needed clean up and preparation works were completed including orchard site preparation for newer, more popular varieties of fruit trees soon to be ordered.

Web site:

For the past 12 years, we kept adding new features to our web site, www.msaviour.org  The most popular links are:

Archives: Showing the previous Chronicles and the monthly news.

Donation:  Credit cards can be used to make donations on our secure server.

Guest Brochure:  To find details about the guest houses.

Search:  A search engine that scans all our pages.

Vocations:  To find the requirements and procedures for monastic vocations.

Please remember us in prayer and, if possible,
 also in your estate planning and will. Our legal title is -

The Benedictine Foundation of New York State.

Our web site has fresh news and information every month
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Mount Saviour Monastery
231 Monastery Rd.            
Pine City NY 14871-9787
Phone: (607) 734-1688
Fax: (607) 734-1689