Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Our Benedictine Family

     Today the Church honors the memory and spirit of Saint Benedict of Nursia, who lived from 480 to 543 in what is Italy.  Benedict is known as the founder of western Monasticism, the founder of twelve communities before founding the great Abbey of Monte Casino, and is regarded as a patron of Europe and of Western civilization.  He is the giver of the great monastic Rule of Saint Benedict, which is the foundation of monastic life.

     On this feast of Saint Benedict, I reflect upon the gift of his family to my life and to the Church of Western Pennsylvania.  We are blessed in this Diocese to have Saint Vincent Archabbey, one of the largest Benedictine monastic communities anywhere, in our midst.  The members of this Community, under the pastoral leadership of Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, minister not only at the Abbey, with Monastery, College, Seminary, but through a multitude of other ministries throughout the world.  My ties to Saint Vincent go back to my High School days at the College Preparatory School and have continued through years of shared prayer, hospitality and ministry.  My memories are many and deeply cherished.

     Saint Vincent recently buried retired Archabbot Paul Maher on July 3rd.  Archabbot Paul was a very simple man of God who served with quiet zeal and spirituality.  He served as Archabbot from 1983 to 1990.  He was 91 years of age.  We offer our prayers to his family at Saint Vincent.

     Another part of the Benedictine Family are the Sisters of Saint Benedict at Saint Emma Monastery in Greensburg.  A small but dedicated group of women who pray with great intensity and offer Benedictine hospitality at their Retreat House and Bed and Breakfast, they are spirited by Mother Mary Ann, a real dynamo.  My priesthood retreat, and many subsequent retreats and days of recollection have brought me to their doorpost and to their hearts, and I am most grateful.

     There are another group of women of faith that I have worked with and befriended and they are found in the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh.  I served with them in Scottdale for a number of years, and have visited them at their new residence in Bakerstown, north of Pittsburgh.  Sister Karen Brink provides guidance to their leadership team.

     So, on this Feast of Saint Benedict of Nursia, I am grateful for the charisms that he brought to his family, and to the generous spirit that they have shared with me over the years.

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