Director's Letter

February 10, 2017

Feast of St. Scholastica


Dear Oblates,


In monastic history we have an ample supply of stories about blood brothers and sisters who support one another in their vocation to the monastic life.  Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica are two who have a high profile.  While it is at times difficult to sort out legend and spiritual storytelling from fact, Gregory the Great’s account of the encounter between Scholastica and her brother in Book II of his Dialogues provides us with a trope that is familiar to spiritual life in the Church: the contemplative who achieves a rarified and edifying level of union with God and whose aura of sanctity is widely accepted.  In Scholastica’s case, the now famous episode of her prayer causing a storm to counter her brother’s wish to go back to the monastery exemplifies a solid spiritual truth: “she was able to do more because she loved more.”  Her brother’s drive to observe the law is trumped by Scholastica’s desire to prolong the grace of spiritual conversation.  On this Feast of St. Scholastica we would do well to call to mind the model of Scholastica and give thanks for the many Benedictine women who have followed in her path.


This segues neatly into the subject matter for our next Oblate Meeting on Sunday, Feb. 19.  For our 2:30 session that afternoon in the day room, I intent to go over the only biographical account we have of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica, Book II of Pope Gregory the Great’s Dialogues.  Then, during the Oblate Meeting in the library, we will have a dramatization of Scholastica written and performed by Isabel Chavez. I hope you can attend this meeting.


At the Feb. 19 Oblate Meeting I will have Bona Opera forms for Lent available. I can also e-mail an electronic copy of that form to whoever requests a copy.  I will also remind oblates that our March meeting on Sunday, the 19th, will coincide with a Lenten Day of Recollection at the Abbey.  I will be asking for numbers of those who intend to take part in the March Recollection Day at our February meeting. For those oblates who intend to come to the March Recollection Day and cannot make the February meeting, please let me know. I will have a schedule for the Day of Recollection in our March letter.


As I speak of events this March, I want to mention that our oblate Tom Mulligan is being honored at an all-school Mass on March 21, the Feast of the Transitus or Passing of St. Benedict, with the Ad Regnum Dei award from Marmion Academy for the year 2017.  This award honors Marmion alumni (Tom is in the class of ’67) whose life and work have given a consistent witness to Gospel values.  For those of you who may not know Tom, he has been an oblate for several decades and has been heavily involved with the work of the Knights of Malta.  Now that he is retired from his business, Tom’s work with the many charitable arms of the Order of the Knights is very evident.  In fact, he is helping to sponsor a trip to Lourdes in early May for our Fr. Kenneth. He did the same some years ago for Fr. Andrew.

We congratulate Tom on his honor.


As I thank those oblates who were present for the Visitation and Funeral of Br. Jude last month, I want to commend to your prayers Carol Lee Dresmal, the wife of Oblate Bob Dresmal, who died on January 12.  May she rest in peace.  Prayers are also requested for Fr. Patrick, monk of the Abbey and Pastor at Annunciation Parish, who underwent an emergency appendectomy on Feb. 7.  Fr. Patrick is resting after the surgery and hopes to be “back to work” soon.  Please continue to pray for those monks and oblates who are coping with aging and serious health issues.


I want to encourage all the oblates to give serious thought to taking part in one of the meetings/retreats of oblates and directors in upcoming months.  There are meetings in Duluth, Minnesota and Atchison, Canada, as well as an international one in Rome, that are taking place this summer and fall.  I have information on them for those who are interested.


I pray that all will use these extended weeks of Ordinary Time to cultivate your spiritual practices and prepare for the season of Lent that begins on March 1.



In Christ,

Fr. Joel, O.S.B.

Oblate Director