Five men were received by Abbot Cletus Meagher, O.S.B. as postulants at St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, AL during Vespers: Fr. Matthew Simmons (Jackson), Christian Peterson (Birmingham), Nicholas Valle (Nashville), Gregory Wilson (Charleston) and Anthony Visintainer (Savannah).


Annual Synod

Abbot Primate Gregory Polan, O.S.B. convoked the annual Synod of Abbots President of the Benedictine Confederation at the Archabbey of Montecassino in Italy from September 10-14, 2018. Abbot President Elias Lorenzo, O.S.B. was present to represent our own monastic Congregation. On the agenda were reports from Rector Stefano Visintin, O.S.B. (Praglia), Prior Mauritius Wilde, O.S.B. (Münsterschwarzach) and Treasurer Geraldo Gonzalez y Lima, O.S.B. (São Paolo). There was a lively discussion on an increase to the solidarity and subsidium fees paid by the nineteen monastic Congregations annually to S. Anselmo, which will begin with the new Catalogus 2020.   The synod fathers also elected three members to the Permanent Synod which acts as the council of the Abbot Primate. Elected were Abbot General Giuseppe Casetta, O.S.B form the Vallombrosian Congregation, Abbot President Guillermo Leon Arboleda Tamayo O.S.B. of the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation and Abbot President Jeremias Schröder, O.S.B. of the St. Ottilien Congregation, who was also elected as Vicar to the Abbot Primate.

Hallmark Anniversary

Today Abbot Melvin J. Valvano, O.S.B. celebrates the 45th anniversary of his election as the Abbot of Newark Abbey in New Jersey. This makes him the longest serving abbot in the Congregation, having also served as Abbot President of the Congregation from 1989-2001. Our very best wishes and prayers to this dedicated and humble servant. Ad multos annos! 

ICBE in Sydney, Australia

In his role as the President of the International Commission on Benedictine Education (ICBE), Abbot President Elias Lorenzo, O.S.B. visited schools sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters of the Good Samaritan in Sydney, Australia. Joining Abbot Elias was ICBE Treasurer, Al Zappelli of Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, California and ICBE Secretary, Crístóbal Valdéz of Manquehue Apostolic Movement in Santiago, Chile.  The ICBE executive committee was hosted by Sr. Meg Kahler, S.G.S. and ICBE Delegate for the Pacific. The primary purpose for this visit was planning with the Good Samaritan Education leadership team for the next international conference of the Benedictine Educators’ Network (BENet) which will be held at St. Scholastica’s College in Glebe Point, Australia on September 30-October 4, 2019. During this visit to Sydney, the ICBE executive committee also visited several Good Samaritan Education schools, including Mater Dei School in Camden, St. Patrick’s College in Campbelltown, Rosebank College in Five Dock and St. Scholastica’s College in Glebe Point.

New Financial Advisers

In a letter to the abbots of the Congregation, Abbot President Elias Lorenzo, O.S.B., announced the appointment of two new laymen as financial advisers. According to D120.2, these advisers are ‘normally’ monks, which admits the possibility of appointing laymen, when needed.  That time has come, and the President’s council has unanimously approved two new lay members:

Mr. Harry Haslam, CPA and retired Partner at Hancock Askew & Co, LLP with more than 40 years’ experience in accounting.  He currently serves as chairman of the St. Benedict Education Foundation and has been associated with our military school in Savannah, GA.    He and his wife Kim have their home in Bluffton, SC.

Mr. Daniel Meehan, CPA and retired Partner at CohnReznick, LLP, with more than 40 years’ experience in accounting, many of which were at Ernst & Young.  He currently serves as vice-chairman of the Delbarton School Board of Trustees and worships regularly at the abbey church in Morristown, NJ.  He and his wife June have their home in Convent Station, NJ.

Together with Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B. (Manchester), Father Martin Bartle, O.S.B. (Latrobe), Father Isaiah Fredericks, O.S.B. (Collegeville) and Father Michael Tidd, O.S.B. (Morristown) who serves as chairman, the Congregation now has six financial advisers for the work of reviewing and analyzing the annual audits of our monasteries and their apostolates.


Conference of Major Superiors of Men

More than 100 major superiors of religious institutes and societies of apostolic life met in St. Louis, MO on August 1-3, 2018 for the annual assembly of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, entitled, Youth & Religious Leaders Together: Discerning in Missionary Discipleship. The keynote presenters were the Most Rev. David Kondera, Bishop of Tulsa who had worked for many years in university campus ministry and Curtis Martin, founder and CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. The assembly concluded with an open forum covering the newest data on vocations, social media, and evangelization was lead by Bro. Sean Sammon, FMS together with Father Tom Gaunt, SJ, Brother Javier Hansen, FSC, Dr. Mary Hess, Brian Miller and Andrew Paulsen, all of whom have done ministry in and/or research about youth and young adult ministry in the USA. A separate and parallel track has held for vocation and youth ministry directors. Archbishop Robert Carlson concluded the assembly with a festive liturgy. Among those present at this year’s assembly were Abbot President Elias Lorenzo, O.S.B., Abbot John Klassen, O.S.B. (Collegeville), Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen, O.S.B. (Shawnee), Brother Paul-Vincent Niebauer, O.S.B. and Mr. Jason Ziegler (Collegeville).