Mount Saviour Monastery
                                                                                                                                  May 2005
 Dear Friend of Mount Saviour,                                                                                                      

Dedication Day will be Sunday, August 14 with Mass 10 AM followed by a light brunch and music in the Chapter Room around 12:30 PM. 

I am writing this during the Conclave to elect the new Pope.  He will certainly be elected before you receive this letter.  Yet I prefer to write in this mood of awe at the out-pouring of reverence and respect for the person of John Paul II than to be plunged into the confusion and speculation that will accompany the election of his successor.  I will long ponder in amazement the crowds who filled the Piazza and streets around St. Peter’s.  More than anything else, the mourners gave evidence of the awe and deep reverence we are to have for each human person.  What aided and made it so acute for me was the recent encounter in Georgia between Ashley Smith and the man who killed a judge and several other people - Brian Nichols.  The regard for a person that brought the people to John Paul II’s funeral and the reverence that surfaced between the two people in Georgia were different in every way yet the dynamic was the same.  Brian Nichols said of Ashley Smith that she was an angel sent by God.  The Newsweek article began:  “Ashley Smith knew plenty about shame and despair, and about grace”.  So, of course did Brian Nichols who responded to her appeal. So, I think, in some way, did John Paul II, though I don’t want to get into that.  I wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds in either of their situations.  Each of them drew on their experience as human persons. At the end of the Pope’s life and as a result of their encounter in Augusta, all three will hear the joyful “Well done you good and faithful servant”.  The angels will be jumping up and down singing alleluias until they bust their harp strings.  The same is to be true of each one of us if we can admit our sins and faults, confess them to the Lord, and believe the great love God has for each of us.  “You have been told what to do and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness and to walk humbly with your God”(Micah 6,8).  Dedication Day has always been a special time when we thank God that we are here and we invite everyone to use this occasion to thank God for the blessings and benefits they too have received. 

Topical Retreats were introduced here in December on Advent; in March, on the Paschal Mystery of Jesus; in April; Mary Our Mother.  May 20-22 we will focus on the Eucharist and June 24-26, The Universal Love of Christ.  Call Br. James Cronen 607-734-1688 or e-mail for more information. Since this is the Year of the Eucharist, we hope to give a conference on the Eucharist each week during July and August if there is a sufficient number of guests.   
It is a special joy to announce that the Third Damasus Winzen Lecture will be given this year on Sunday, 12 June at 4 PM by Nathan Mitchell.  Professor Mitchell received his PhD in theology in 1978 from the University of Notre Dame where he is teaching currently in the Theology Department while serving as associate director of the N.D. Center for Liturgy.  He has written extensively on the liturgy, most recently in Real Presence: The Work of the Eucharist.  Since 1991, his column, “The Amen Corner,” has appeared regularly in Worship.  The title of Prof. Mitchell’s lecture is Sapienter Indoctus:  Worship as ‘Wise Ignorance’ in the Rule of St Benedict.  The phrase is taken from Gregory the Great’s description of St. Benedict as “expertly unlearned and wisely untaught.”       
In Gregory’s account of his final days, the “father of monks” envisioned the entire world in a ray of shimmering light.  Jean-Ives Lacoste has written: “The man to whom the world appears in its totality and from afar, within a new horizon, does not cease to be himself in the world.  Benedict is graced with his vision, not in some seventh heaven, but somewhere in Italy.”
     Professor Mitchell wrote:  “Benedict’s life and Rule have raised basic questions about our worship: What is it to “exist liturgically?”  How can worship be both “worldly” and “unworldly”?  How does our paradoxical  experience of worship place the world “inside a ray of light,” yet leave us, with Benedict, “somewhere in Italy,” where God’s good soil clings to our shoes? It is my hope that if this lecture does not provide answers, it may at least help us to love these questions.  That is our hope as well.
 The conference will be followed by Vespers, refreshments and Compline.
We have two new wonderful products. #1. The long awaited book of lectures in celebration of Mount Saviour Monastery’s 50th Anniversary.entitled  Monastic Contributions to Church and Society, is now ready.  The lectures in the first part of the book treat of the over-all contribution of Benedictines.  Next are pages of photographs taken at Mount Saviour since our beginning, and finally, lectures about Mount Saviour.$19.95 & $1.65 tax for N.Y. folk & $2.00 shipping/handling.

#2. Matt Kells, who took part in our Summer Program a few years back and Sean McGinn, have produced an excellent DVD and VCR of the Every Day Life at Mount Saviour

Some of the rams got out again so we had 100 lambs born in February who should have waited until mid April.  Br. Pierre did a masterful job of shepherding. We now have a llama.  Shearing will be Saturday 28 May.
We have several maintenance and renewal projects that have been completed and some that are in progress.  We thank you in advance for any help you can give to ease the financial burden of thse renovations and replacements: renewal of the monastery sewage system: $30,000: interior painting of the casas:$1500 each; new cookstoves for the casas: $600  each; painting in St.Joseph’s Guesthouse:$4700; painting in St. Gertrude’s: $1500; painting in St. Peter’s Conference Room:$800; additional chairs in Chapel and Chapter Room:$5000; replacement of cookstoves in the monastery kitchen: $7000.

We expect Tom Colucci to begin his Novitiate in May. We thank you for your prayers for vocations and are grateful your continual help in so many ways.
Please join us in prayer for the newest Benedict in Rome.
                                                                                                   In Xto,
                                                                                                 Fr. Martin