Director's Letter

August 6, 2016

Feast of the Transfiguration


Dear Oblates,


The Feast of the Transfiguration has always held a prominent place in monastic spirituality.  It speaks at once of the culmination of a contemplative life and of the central importance of placing ourselves in the heart of the paschal mystery—the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.  The fact that many of the monks of Marmion observe August 6 as the anniversary of their monastic profession lends added meaning to the Feast.  In the midst of an often troubled and contentious world, let us find time to go to the mountaintop with the apostles and Jesus and be given the comfort of his glorified presence.


There is a good deal of news from the Abbey that needs to be communicated.  As of August 1 Fr. Paul assumed the duties as Prior of the community.  Since July 12 he has also been serving as Vocation Director and will be teaching and helping to coach cross-country in the Academy for the coming school year.  Though he is no longer on active duty, he will continue to serve as chaplain for the Army Reserves. Br. Andre assumed duties as subprior on August 1.  He continues to serve as Infirmarian, Guest Master and House Prefect.  You can see that both Fr. Paul and Br. Andre have full plates!  Please keep them in your prayers as they enter into their new leadership positions in the community.


At the same time, a word of much deserved recognition is due for Fr. Basil and Fr. Kenneth.  Fr. Basil served faithfully as Prior from 2004-2016.  During the last year when his energy and mobility have been curtailed because of pulmonary fibrosis, he has edified us all with his devotion to duty and regularity.  However Fr. Basil will not be without tasks.  He is Secretary to the Abbey Chapter, the Abbey Liaison to Abbey Farms, the overseer of the Abbey grounds, and will be taking over Fr. Kenneth’s job of taking care of Mass intentions.


Fr. Kenneth is another example of unflagging devotion to duty.  He has served as subprior for the last twelve years and previous to that was Prior for eleven years.  He will continue to serve as an Instructor in the Academy and as overseer of financial accounts for the Abbey.  Your prayers are also requested for the health of Fr. Kenneth.  He received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in his joints this summer, a very painful condition, and is currently engaged in a program of physical therapy and medication to deal with it.


Another familiar face that will be around the Abbey more often in the coming academic year is Abbot Vincent.  He will no longer be in residence during the week at Mundelein.  He will be teaching a class in Theology to our Senior students at the Academy, as well as continuing his service as Abbot President of the Congregation.


We have a new member of the community since July 1.  He is Francisco Medrano, a young man of 20, who comes from St. Nicholas Parish in Aurora.  He is known as Postulant Francisco and I encourage you to get to know him.  He has blended in well with our community.


I want to thank heartily all the oblates who attended the solemn profession of Brothers Antony Maria and Theodor on July 11.  It was a very impressive ceremony.  I suggest you check out the photo gallery on the Marmion website for a visual posting of the ceremony.  Br. Antony and Theodore will be returning for studies at St. Meinrad School of Theology August 18.


Thanks are also in order for those who have contributed over the years to our Way of the Cross Fund.  Monies from that fund were used in the recent renovation of the Abbey Cemetery.  For those of you who have not yet seen the improvements made to the cemetery (taking down the hedges, removing weeds from the paved path, installation of pillars at the entrance), I encourage you to do so.  It is quite impressive.


On our prayer list, please remember Nancy Kucienski, the wife of Oblate and Abbey Affiliate Jim Kucienski, who underwent successful brain surgery for the removal of a benign tumor on July 27 and is in recovery.  Your prayers are requested as well for Oblate Wayne Harrison, who is preparing to undergo three months of chemotherapy for a cancerous growth in his right lung, for other oblates in declining health, Ginger Salis and Anne Fitzpatrick, as well as for the aged and infirm of the abbey.


May the remainder of the summer be for you a time of graced reflection on God’s creation and continued commitment to our Benedictine way of life.


In St. Benedict,

Fr. Joel