October 2015

Monk Praying in New Melleray Church


In an ecology of love, people can relate in trust and face the future without fear.

-- Jonathan Sacks

The Environment

Earlier this year Pope Francis issued his encyclical letter, Laudato si’, On the Care of our Common Home. Don’t think of an email letter. This letter is 180 pages in length. It is a fairly in depth study of the responsibility of the human race and of individual humans to care for our planet, its human populations, its plants and animals, its rivers and seas, its atmosphere. It is the planet that is “our common home.” In one sentence, Pope Francis tells us what the purpose of this letter is: “to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and this to discover what each of us can do about it” (19). The monks have read this letter together and have begun a communal reflection on it and its challenges. We realize that as a community blessed to be stewards of prime farm and wood land in eastern Iowa, we must be open to the challenges of the Pope’s letter and must be open to change the way we live and do things, especially in so far as how we live has an effect on our neighbors and on “our common home.” We would like our monastery, our farm land and forests, and our business Trappist Caskets to become models of a healing, sustainable relationship to the environment. Especially, we want for ourselves and for our stakeholders a real experience of solidarity with one another, with the broader community, and primarily with the poor and disposed. 

Fr. Mark

Blessing of a Trappist Casket


Selma(2014), is the first big-screen dramatic feature film with Martin Luther King, Jr., as the protagonist in the half-century since King’s assassination. Selma not only to liberates possibly the most iconic American figure of the 20th century from his own mythology, but also to captures a lively sense of the civil rights movement as a cause of many players with varying points of view. The film presents tactical nonviolence as a bid to provoke a crisis forcing the nation to face up to its problems. In Selma King is seen as a man with flaws and weaknesses, a man who at times lets down the people closest to him. A painful private moment between King and wife Coretta underscores the emotional fallout of King’s infidelities, domestic turmoil aggravated by harassment by the FBI. The film is shrewdly structured to cover a definite period of just a few months in Dr. King’s life, from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in December 1964 to passage of the Voting Rights Act in August 1965. Still, even in the triumphant final montage there are hints that the struggle against racism was far from over, and the opening words of the Oscar-winning song “Glory” over the end credits (“One day, when the glory comes”) is a somber reminder that we aren’t there yet. 

Author: Fr. Mark Scott

Tags: The Environment, Laudato Si, Selma

This simple communication is one way for me as abbot of New Melleray Abbey to communicate with the abbey’s employees and volunteers. My intention is to give our stakeholders some idea of the values and lifestyle of the monks and to share things that I have found worthwhile, thoughtful, and/or humorous. It is hoped that this sharing from the abbot will strengthen the bonds of partnership and collaboration between the monastic community and our extended community of employees and volunteers.

Fr. Mark