Prior's Journal: November - December 2010

Our monastic community, as any monastic community, takes special care to celebrate the memories of the past. In a world which sometimes moves too quickly we monks tend to remember and document as much as we can careful to chronicle the significant events of life. In the first years of our community it was Abbot Frowin’s diary which captured the significant happenings, the blessings and the losses of the every day experience. Now and then excerpts of that diary are read at meals which gives us a snapshot of what happened in those difficult days. Various monks over the years have taken up the work of keeping a written history updated on a regular basis. Sometimes death and change of assignments tend to disrupt the regular recording of daily events. Today of course the possibility of people writing a blog has taken over as the electronic diary in many cases. Fr. Kenneth’s blog is a good example of that. No matter what method is used for recording history the fact that we can recall it gives us reason to celebrate and rejoice in the Lord for the good things that have happened. On the other hand the ability to remember helps us through the hard times and gives us reason for a lively hope.

Thanksgiving in the monastery:

We continued our tradition again this year of remembering the many years of service of those celebrating their jubilees on Thanksgiving Day. Six of our monks marked special anniversaries of their monastic profession: Fr. Anthony marked 70 years of profession, Br. Blaise and Frs. Quentin, Allan, and Isaac marked 50 years of profession, and Fr. Timothy celebrated 25 years of vowed life. Abbot Gregory pointed out our gratitude for those many years of witness of vowed monastic life. Each monk brings a special combination of skills and gifts to community life and everyone is the beneficiary. For more information about Conception Abbey's 2010 Jubilarians click here.

This time of remembering and giving thanks followed four days of what is officially called the monastic visitation. Every four years in our congregation a visitation team arrives to listen to the concerns and observations of each monk in our community. It provides good feedback to both the community and the Abbot in their final report about how we’re doing. This year the team was made up of Abbot Justin Duvall of St. Meinrad’s Abbey, Fr. Matthew Clark of St. Joseph’s Abbey and Fr. Charles Reichenbacher of Marmion Abbey. The report was quite positive so we can feel relieved!

Advent, the season of waiting and preparing:

We finished the Thanksgiving events and gathering with a day of recollection leading us into the First Sunday of Advent. With the help of the Abbot’s opening conference on the meaning of John the Baptist and the meaning of Advent, we entered once again this season of hope and lasting values which are often lost in the secular world. Various monks have been appointed by the Abbot to give the weekly conference dealing with the theme of John the Baptist during Advent.

At the time of this journal entry the seminarians are busy cramming for their final exams which will unlock the flood gates allowing them to stream to their homes for the Christmas-New Years break. It’s always amusing to note that a raging blizzard is never enough to prevent them from venturing out on the roads to head for home, but even the threat of some snowflakes on the day of their return makes them pause, call the seminary, and wonder if it is safe to start out!! Human nature, twas ever thus!

We look forward to some days of peace and quiet around the monastery as Advent eventually leads us to the full celebration of the Solemnity of Christmas and the beautiful liturgical days in the following week. The blizzard of Christmas 2009 allowed only twelve people to be with us at Midnight Mass. We hope the weather will cooperate this year and the basilica will be filled as in years past for these beautiful liturgies.

May the Blessings of Christmas be abundant for all who are reading this.


You are here: Home News Prior's Journal Prior's Journal: November - December 2010