Some of the participants who enjoyed last year's Adult Study Week. Left to right: Dr.Kenneth Meyer, Betty Webb, Jutta Benfey, Dr.Bruno Benfey, Rev. David Scheider, Rev. Chuck Schmidt, Br Raphael.
MONASTIC STABILITY IN OUR CHANGING WORLD
As many of you know, monastics do not take
familiar vows of poverty, chastity and obedience but
rather stability, conversion of life and obedience
within a given monastic community. For us, this is
really one promise and not three. We promise the gift
of ourselves - our time, our talents and our energy - to
a specific community of monastics by sharing their lot
in life as they seek to respond to God's steadfast love.
For a moment I want to concentrate on the feature
of stability. It is an unfamiliar "vow" and may seem
or even alien. In fact, it can serve for all of us as a
basis for living this joyful season as we "look forward
to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing" as St
Benedict urges us in his remarks on the observance of
Monastic stability is often confused with the
cloister and enclosure. Stability relates primarily to
persons and not simply to place. St Benedict's
expression is "stabilitas in congregationem" that is
"stability in the community" rather than stability in a
certain place. Monastic stability is not an isolated
ascetic feat like forever holding one's breath under
water. It is rather that gradually acquired ability to
stay in relationship with a loving God and trying-to-be
loving confreres even though we are all sinners. Our
first parents, so the story goes, tried to hide from
God. Our spiritual ancestors at Sinai ran away when
they heard God's thunderous voice. The Apostles melted
away before the terror of the cross. And all of us at
one time or another, have joined in the rout!
Stability is compatible with confusion and
bewilderment -and with pain which is its not infrequent
companion. Stability allows us to hear the voice of the
Lord calling us to re-turn and not run away from God or
ourselves. Our personal trust in God and the members of
the community gift us with the desire to be plunged into
the life of the Risen Christ together with them. This
may sound a bit idealistic but it is of a piece with
what the Church means by sacramental marriage as well as
that immersion in a community we come to in baptism.
Courageous perseverance characterizes the promise
of stability and permeates our efforts of on-going
conversion and obedience to God's Word. Lifelong
stability thus enables our heart's desire to become very
real. Stability, understood in this way is not only for
monks. It is the gift of God's own steadfast loving
kindness all of us are meant to possess. It is what the
time of Lent-Easter-Ascension-Pentecost is all about.
this Chronicle goes to press, Madeleva Roarke is
completing the last chapter of her book: Father Damasus
and the Founding of Mount Saviour. Fr. Damasus was
working on his memoirs when he died in 1971. Madeleva
has used his outline and letters as a basis for this
biography. She traces Damasus' early
life, the circumstances of his arrival in America and
his struggle to establish a monastery in the tradition
of Maria Laach, but freed to introduce aspects of the
more ancient traditions of Benedictine monasticism.
Madeleva has commented
that the sub-title should be
"tales from the table." It is hard to believe that for
twenty years this fall, she has been answering questions
about the monastery during mealtimes at St Gertrude's.
These questions have also been used as a guide to this
Father Damasus and the
Founding of Mount Saviour
will be sold through the Mt. Saviour Shop and by mail.
It will cost $20.00, plus 7% tax for New York residents.
A $2.00 shipping fee per book will be charged for mail
orders. Our next mailing will contain an order form for
to right Br Pierre, Br James Cronen, Chuck Campbell, Br Gabriel and Joel
Ziff at a recent Development Committee meeting.
ADULT STUDY WEEK::
Vespers Sunday 7 June - 3 PM Thursday 11 June.
Topic: Discipleship in Scripture, Benedict's Rule & Daily Life.
The Guest Houses will be closed to enable participation
in the monastic prayer and life as much as possible.
Teaching and experience in the prayer of the Liturgy,
Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer. Limited space on a
first reservation first come basis. Cost $200 all
SUMMER PROGRAM for Catholic men age 21-35
This will be the 9th consecutive year of our live-in
program which gives the opportunity to learn and deepen
the Easter faith of the Church by living in a small monastic community.
(Click here for more details.)
THIS YEAR IN JERUSALEM October 16 - 28,
Includes Athens, Corinth and The Holy Land.
Fr James Kelly who has a Doctorate in Scripture and who
studied several years in the Holy Land and Fr Martin
plan to accompany the pilgrims. $2200. For details
write Holy Land Trip Mt Saviour 231 Monastery Road,
Pine City NY 114871-9787 or call us
(607) 734 1688. Fax 1689. e-mail email@example.com
Rochester NY date for the Conference is Saturday 2 May 98.
Sisters of St Joseph Motherhouse. Notices have not gone out as yet.
Hospitality, for St Benedict, is to be based on faith in the divine presence
encountered in the guest. He writes: "...one must adore Christ in
them, for he is in fact the one who is received.". Hospitality, properly
given or eceived, is an affirmation and proclamation of the person's union
with the Risen Christ. We do not
regard the guest as a window through whom we see Christ. Rather it is union with Christ that is acknowledged and proclaimed by both host and guest.
Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold with Fr. Martin and Br. Alexis on Retreat before his Installation as XXV Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA
The first on the list are ourselves! It is a rare
delight to a guest in one's own home. One Sunday there
were no guests at St. Gertrude's Guest House since
Madeleva was on vacation. Fr. Alfred LoPinto, a priest
of the Brooklyn diocese, ended his 6 month sabbatical
with us by cooking a 9 course Festive Roman Meal there.
Festive in part, because leisurely: we didn't inhale our
food in 15 minutes as we usually do. Fr. Al had been a
blessing to us in many ways and his was an especially
blessed leave taking!
A contemporary shot of Br James Cronen in the midst of
things. Pots and pans in this case. He is one of our
Sister Fidelina Monzalvo Rendon who recently retired as Superior General of the Mexican Missionary Sisters of Christ the King spoke to us at some length on the religious and political situations where they serve. It was no surprise when we heard a few weeks later of the massacre of 45 women and children while they were praying for peace in Chiapas. Brs. John, Daniel, and Kurt of Weston Priory accompanied her. They had visited the sisters' convent in Chiapas last year.
Fr. Alexis Foyo OSB of Prince of Peace Abbey in
Oceanside CA. arrived on December 11th for his
sabbatical with us.
A few days later, Fr. Matthew Ekpo, a diocesan
priest from Nigeria, came to experience monastic life.
He intends to return there where he has 4 candidates as
well as land and housing. His need is for a Benedictine
monk or sister to help with the foundation for 2 years
A Sunday 'Kitchen Supper'. Fr matthew, Fr Basil Pennington & Msgr. Ronald Richardson in the background and Br. William & Fr. Martin in front.
Our one winter storm so far caused the cancellation of a meeting Fr. Basil Pennington OCSO of St Joseph's Abbey was to attend here. Happily for us, Fr. Basil didn't know of the cancellation and spent several days with us. He gave conferences on Centering Prayer to the community and guests for which we are very grateful. More on Centering Prayer in a later Chronicle. I want to write about the hospitality some of the monks have received in just the past few months -and it is endless. It does prove that stability is not only about staying in one place.
Br. Luke's recent 1/2 day stay at St. Joseph's
Hospital for a successful cataract operation reminds us
of all their hospitality since they welcomed Fr. Placid
when he came to take possession of the land for the
monastery on 29 March 1951.
Oldie but questionably goodie is Br Sebastian who turned
80 last November. He was looking towards it when this
photo was taken.
Chuck and Connie Campbell welcomed Brs James Cronen
and Gabriel when they attended Fr Ray Carey's Workshop
in Philadelphia. Fr. Martin was warmly received at St
Anselm's in Washington D.C. where he gave some
conferences before the re-election of Abbot Aiden Shea.
Rogers & Judy Reinicke have been his hosts for years at
the Oblate meetings in NYC. Frank and Mary Ferrari
provided an important stop-over on his way to the
celebration of the election and installation of Richard
Iaquinto as Prior of Weston. Jim & Zoe Sitzman welcomed
him, Rev. Han van den Blink and Dr. Mary Skinner in
Potomac MD when they attended Rt. Rev. Frank Griswold's
installation as Primatial Bishop of the Episcopal Church
in the USA. Then it was the community of Prince of Peace
Abbey who welcomed Fr. Martin and 50+ Abbots and Priors
for the annual Benedictine Workshop. Tim and Maureen
Rafael and Tom Ragan continued the blessings in sunny
California. Last and by no means least, Alain and France Verley of Cazenovia cared for him so he could speak to James Krisher's class in Spirituality in Syracuse. To include all the welcomes Br. Bruno has received from family and friends order to deliver sheep products would take another edition of the Chronicle. Suffice it to say, we gratefully give our hospitality because we have received so much.
Welcomed as guests in our own home - this time by the Sisters of St Joseph of Rochester in our St Joseph's Guest House. At the table on the right: Sr. Joan McDowell, ssj, Fr. Matthew Ekpo, Fr. Timothy Brennan, Br. Kevin Finn, fsc, Br. Stephen & Br. Alexis on the left.
The 4th face from the right is that of Laszlo Ivanits. The Penn State students he and his wife, Linda, bring are the best prepared of the college groups who come on retreat each year.
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