Abbatial Election at New Melleray
Monday, July 29, 2013 - 11:09

Following the retirement of Dom Brendan Freeman, who has served as abbot since 1984, the monks of New Melleray Abbey will elect a new abbot on August 3.


Junior Directors' Meeting
Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 09:45

The junior directors, those monks and nuns who oversee the continuing formation of those who have made simple profession, met at Gethsemani Abbey from June 10 thorug June 17. Eleven communities were represented.

They shared ideas about their work by reflecting together on a recent book by Michael Casey, OCSO.

July 11: Feast of St. Benedict
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 16:13

The Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance has its origin in that monastic tradition of evangelical life that found expression in the Rule for Monasteries of Saint Benedict of Nursia. The founders of Cîteaux gave this tradition a particular form and the monasteries of the Strict Observance strongly defended certain of its principles. In 1892 the three congregations of the Strict Observance combined to form a single order, now called the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance.

This Order is a monastic institute wholly ordered to contemplation. The nuns / monks dedicate themselves to the worship of God in a hidden life within the monastery under the Rule of St Benedict


Maggie Ross on Santa Rita Abbey
Monday, July 8, 2013 - 07:15

Maggie Ross has this on her blog Voice in the Wilderness:

To recognize our own emptiness so as to receive the gift of wisdom: this is the task entrusted to the theologian. It is to be like the nuns at Santa Rita Abbey who wait in quiet—just standing there in choir doing nothing—anticipating the ringing of the bell that summons to psalmody.
God does not fill in the gaps where human reason fails. Nor does God like a divine Superman vanquish intolerable suffering. God does not erase human longing and want, but is present amidst it. There is in us a wide open space—a gap—from which we dare to speak the question "Who is God?" In the very asking we are making room for some small manifestation of who God is. Whatever answer may come it too must remain unsaid so that we might make a space fitting for the silence that is the contemplative's home and the theologian's workplace.

Like the Cistercian contemplative life, theology is a discipline of learning how to see, how to read, how to recognize the presence of God amidst our own brokenness and weakness as the region not only of wound but of wisdom, a wisdom that is to become in us a balm for the wounds of the world. At the conclusion of Lauds on my last morning at Santa Rita, the Prioress brought us into the Our Father with these words: "Father of peace, increase in us your peace so that we might be peace in the world for which we live." Words to live by even as we give testimony to unsaying with the one and only life we have to live.  — Michael Downey

Mepkin Abbey offers Contemplative Aging Retreats
Sunday, June 30, 2013 - 14:57

Mepkin Abbey, a Cistercian monastery, provides a serene place of natural beauty and quiet – the perfect setting - to help participants find the contemplative practice best suited for them. During the Contemplative Aging Retreat various contemplative practices are explored as a way to welcome the inner life of self development and spiritual growth as we move into elder-hood. Through contemplative dialogue and sharing common experiences and fears of aging, participants have an opportunity to view aging as a gift. In companionship with fellow elders, the retreat is an opportunity to harvest the wisdom aging brings and to find spiritual ways to navigate its stages.

The retreat begins Friday evening and lasts until the noon meal on Monday. It is conducted by one of the monks with a qualified team. Twenty participants can be accommodated. A limited number of rooms are available at the Abbey for those who may wish to join the monks for their times of prayer. Others will be housed off-campus but meals are provided on campus.

The next scheduled retreat is October 4 - 7, 2013. You can find out more information by visiting this web site.

Sr. Cathy makes her solemn profession at Santa Rita
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 13:58

Sr. Cathy will profess her solemn vows on June 8 at Santa Rita in Arizona.

A native of South Korea, Sr. Cathy was a member of a missionary community before she transferred to Santa Rita in 2009.  She holds a degree in theology and was active as a member of the formation team in her former congregation.  Sr. Cathy LOVES the Cistercian life and lives it with much faith and joy. 

Mother Vicki of Santa Rita writes, "All of us here are delighted that she will be a permanent member of our community.  Her mother and sister will be coming for her solemn profession – from Korea!  It will be a joyful day for us all!"

Junior Monks and Nuns Gather for Junior Seminar
Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 17:13

On Monday, May 20, the American region begins a seminar for Juniors, those monks and nuns who have made profession for a limited time. On that day our juniors will gather at Mount St. Mary Abbey in Wrentham, MA.

The first week will feature conferences by Mother Maureen McCabe, the abbess of Mount St. Mary. She will "work with several themes dear to the Cistercian heart by means of the commentary on the Song of Songs begun by Bernard of Clairvaux, continued by Gilbert of Hoyland and completed by John of Forde." Some of these themes include love of God and neighbor, monastic observances as a means to contemplative prayer and perfect love, continual mindfulness, and the alternation of experience.

The second week will feature conferences by Dom Augustine Roberts, formerly abbot at Spencer, on Cistercian Profession today, background, content and meaning. He will speak of new life under the law of grace, conversatio morum, poverty, chastity, dimensions of obedience and stability, among other topics.

The visiting juniors will be able to participate in the liturgical life of Mount St. Mary; they will have time to get to know other monks and nuns from other houses in the region. One day they will journey to St. Joseph's Abbey in near-by Spencer, MA.  A volleyball tournament is likely!


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