June 30, 2014

Our three monks in temporary vows — Brs. Isaiah Lord, Samuel Springuel, and Bernard Marra—recently participated in a program at St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. This was held from June 14-28 and attended by about thirty other monks at the same stage of formation from monasteries all across our country. The overall theme was “Building a Dynamic and Joyful Community Spirit: Unity in the Midst of Diversity and Diversity in the Midst of Unity.” On most mornings, a talk was given by one or another member of the faculty at St. Vincent College or Seminary on such topics as unity and diversity in the European Roots of Monasticism, in Benedictine Community Life, and in Benedictine Spirituality. There were also outings to Pittsburgh, to the Benedictine Sisters community of St. Emma’s Monastery in nearby Greensburg, and to the St. Vincent retreat house at Chestnut Ridge. There was also ample opportunity for the participants to get to know one another as well as members of the St. Vincent community. Our three monks returned with high praise for how well the program was put together and will be writing about it for our next abbey newsletter. Something of “diversity” is evident in the three accompanying photographs: the one that is sepia-toned was intended to mimic the photographs of a century or more ago, when people were normally expected to look very serious when their picture was taken; the second photo gave the participants a chance to do a bit of clowning; and the third is the traditional, more formal group photo taken at the end of the two weeks.