Director's Letter

May 8, 2016

Feast of the Ascension


Dear Oblates,


This last week of the Easter Season is one that can easily be neglected in the rush of so many events that occupy May’s calendar.  Pentecost is not only the culmination of the Easter season.  It is the pivot around the monastery’s liturgical cycle.  We return to Ordinary Time.  We also sense how dependent we are upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit and his guidance as we go about our work of the Lord. So as you brace for another cycle of First Communions and Marriages and Graduations, know that we need to stay open to the gifts of the Spirit and promote the those gifts in others as we go about God’s work.


Congratulations are in order for a number of oblates.  We recognize the five oblates who made their profession on April 17: Donald and Bonita Devale, Julie Dresser, Michael Murschel and Anne Stanfa.  We also applaud Don Arndt and Jim Kucienski as they were named affiliates of the Abbey at the annual Salute to Youth Dinner on April 24.


At the same time, your prayers are requested for a number of our oblates who are ailing.  Ginger Salis has had continuing deterioration of her lung and breathing capacity and is at home.  Anne Schaeffer is facing yet another surgery for her leg and remains in considerable pain.  Al Wegman and Anne Fitzpatrick are also in precarious health and would like the support of your prayers.  Please include Abbot David, Fr. Basil and Br. Jude as well.


Your prayers for our April Visitations in Guatemala and at Marmion were welcome.  Both communities are now working on implementing some of the recommendations from the Visitation.


A number of transitions are upcoming for the Abbey.  Abbot Vincent will be leaving his post as “CAM director” at Mundelein this month.  Though he will still occasionally go to Mundelein to do spiritual direction, he will now be able to be at the Abbey during the weeks of the school year.  Fr. Paul will be returning from his Active Duty tour with the Army in July.  He will still remain as chaplain for Reserve Units, but will be involved in the Academy and the Abbey after August 1. Fr. Marcos has just returned from several weeks at the Abbey of Einsiedeln in Switzerland, where he was at work on his thesis for his Licentiate Degree in Theology.  After August 1, Fr. Marcos is looking to spend some time in a parish in the Chicago Archdiocese as he discerns whether he is called to diocesan life.  Please pray for him in that discernment process.  Brothers Antony Maria and Theodore will be considered shortly by the Abbey Council for their petition to make solemn vows.  If they receive the approval of the Council and Chapter, their vow ceremony will be on July 11.  They would then both return to St. Meinrad for their studies in the upcoming school year.


Our next meeting of the Oblates will be on Sunday, May 15.  We will meet in the Day Room at 2:30.  At that meeting we will discuss the evolution of the Divine Office at Marmon Abbey, from its beginnings to the present day, with an emphasis on the development from Latin to English and the process of renewal.  We will have a Business Meeting at 3:30 in the Abbey Library.  We need to discuss the specifics of a possible June “pilgrimage day” to visit the Holy Doors of churches in the area.  We will also continue to discuss the plans for the cemetery and oblate assistance in helping with that project.  The topic for presentation and discussion for the 3:30 meeting will be the various forms of new monasticism in the Church today.  I will also speak a bit about the paper I gave at Mount Saviour Monastery last week on Thomas Merton and Damasus Winzen.


It may help to provide you with a number of dates for the summer and the months ahead.  The Community retreat will be from June 5-8.  There is a meeting of the American Benedictine Academy in Beech Grove (Indianapolis) Indiana July 21-23.  October 2-4 there is a meeting in St. Meinrad on “Shared Leadership in Oblate Communities.”  I would very much like to some of our oblates attend this meeting.  Please contact me if you are interested.


I need to have you contact me as well with any changes you may have in your mailing addresses or new/revised phone numbers and e-mail addresses.


A final word is my wish for a joyous and peaceful Mother’s Day for all of our Oblate mothers.  You give us a fine model of Christ-like motherhood and we pray that the Lord will continue to bless you for your call and example. 


Fr. Joel,

Oblate Director