Director's Letter


June 12, 2015

The Sacred Heart of Jesus


In the triad of liturgical feasts after Pentecost, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the third and culminating one, after Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi.  The devotion to the Sacred Heart took on increased weight during the 1800s, thanks to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the popes, and many spiritual writers in Europe.  The first Benedictine foundations in this country carried that devotion with them and it was quite common to see outdoor statuary of the Sacred Heart and windows and altars in monastic churches dedicated to the Sacred Heart.  On our own Abbey grounds, a statue of the Sacred Heart graces the entrance to our cemetery. Today, in an age of algorithms and impersonalized technology, the appeal of the Sacred Heart of Jesus maintains a very pronounced attraction.  It reflects the affective and intimate access that each of us has as Christians to the love of Christ that combines elements of a doting parent, a grief counselor and a personal trainer in the spiritual life.  May we give thanks for the presence of the Sacred Heart as a reality in our lives and recognize along with Directory on Popular Piety that “devotion to the Sacred Heart is a wonderful historical expression of the Church’s piety for Christ.”


Prayer requests are numerous.  Among the abbey sick, I want to commend in a special way Fr. Prior Basil to your prayers.  On May 25 he entered Rush-Copley Hospital, feeling very weak.  The initial diagnosis was pneumonia.  After almost a week with more persistent coughing and discomfort the doctors did a surgical probe of his right lung to take biopsies.  The results of the biopsies came back on June 11 and revealed a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis.  His plan is to return to the abbey soon and begin treatment for the condition.  Br. Jude returned to the Abbey on June 1 after an extended time in the hospital and McAuley Manor.


Among the oblates, I commend to your prayers Antoinette Santucci, mother of Oblate Rosemary Bagan.  She died on May 30 at the age of 102!  Extend your sympathy to Oblate Anne Fitzpatrick as well on the death of her son Charles this last week.  Anne is scheduled to undergo heart surgery later this month and would appreciate your prayers for the success of that surgery.  


I want to remind those oblates who plan to be part of our “Aurora pilgrimage” on Tuesday, June 16, that we have the following listed as “signed up” for our tour: Jean Cibulskis, Julie Dresser, Jim Fox, Nick Gordon, Antoinette and Wayne Harrison, Jim L’Allier, Millie Lober, Ed Kunitz, Vicky McGuire, John McCullough, Michael Mattio, Richard Phelan, Martha Piorkowski, Ginger Salis and Laura Warzecha.  If I have missed someone on this list please contact me as soon as possible and let me add to or edit the list.  The planned itinerary for the day is as follows:


8:15 am: Meeting in the Abbey parking lot.  We will then decide on car arrangements.

8:30 am: Tour of cemetery at Annunciation, followed by tour of the church and Mass.

10:00 am: Tour of St. George’s Church.

11:00 am: Walking tour for those who wish of the Lake St. property.

Noon: For those who wish, lunch at the home of Jean Cibulskis in Stonebridge (1540 Woodcrest Court, Aurora).


I expect to have directions for drivers.  We will deal with weather as needs be.  


Thanks are in store one more time to Debbie Hutchison and Jeanine Williams for the fine job on the Oblate Brochures.  Anyone who would like to have one or more copies of the brochure should contact me.  Thanks go out at the same time for Martha Piorkowski and her willingness to provide added signage to our outdoor Way of the Cross and also to those oblates who pledged continued work on the Way of the Cross this summer.  Those who made the Way of the Cross at our May meeting can testify to the beauty of the site.  Ahead of time, I extend thanks to those attending the Jubilee Mass on June 11 for Abbot Vincent, Father Michael and Father Frederick.


There will be quite a bit of travel for monks this summer.  Fr. Thomas is already in Kiev, Ukraine, studying.  Fr. Marcos is scheduled to return in another ten days from his formation classes in Italy.  For the last three weeks of June, Brothers Antony, Theodore and Novice Eric plan to spend two weeks at the Junior Formation School at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, KS.  Abbot John, Abbot Vincent and Fr. Charles will accompany about forty Marmion Trustees and friends for a trip to Guatemala in July.  It will commemorate the 50th anniversary of our foundation in that country.  Abbot John will also spend time in Guatemala in June with our student group from the Academy.  


We will have our next oblate meeting on Sunday, Sept. 20.  One of the things suggested for presentation at our last meeting is to watch some of the DVDs our Oblate Jim L’Allier has made and archived of early  Marmion history.  I am open to hearing of other suggestions as well. A last reminder is to send to me any changes you may have of mailing or e-mail addresses and phone numbers.


May you enjoy to the full these days of summer.


In Christ,


Fr. Joel, OSB

Oblate Director



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