Return of the Native

Our community had the opportunity to welcome the visit of its former abbot, Brendan Freeman, on May 22nd.  He had been unable to make a return visit for the past three years.  Since 2018, he has been serving as superior of Mellifont Abbey in Ireland.  He was back in the States to participate in the annual meeting of the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Each year, this Institute sponsors a presentation in the area of contemplation and  social consciousness.  Fr. Brendan has been arranging for a Cistercian to offer this conference for the past ten years.  This year's presentation was given by Dom  Bernardus Peeters, OCSO , the abbot of Tilburg (Netherlands).  His topic  was the Cistercian theme of "Lovers of the Place"  which he developed through ecological reflections.  A panel discussion in the afternoon expanded on the contents  of the paper.

The loosening of restrictions created by the pandemic allowed Fr. Brendan to spend a week's  visit with us and give us a  Chapter presentation on his experience at Mellifont Abbey, as well as informal personal interactions in the community.  He was given a royal  reception during a day's visit to Mississippi Abbey, the details of which have not been made publicly available.  He was also able to visit his surviving sister in Des Moines .

Fr. Brendan will also pay a visit to the five remaining monks of Holy Trinity Abbey in Utah.   He had been appointed superior there from 2013 until its closing in 2018.  These last monks chose to remain together at St. Joseph's Villa in Salt Lake City. rather than relocate to another monastery.  It is a pastoral visit to give them support and assurance of the care of the Cistercian family.

On the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, we celebrated a communal anointing of the sick in our Chapter Room.  Fr. Stephen gave a brief   exposition and catechesis on this sacrament as the grace of God's mercy touching our desire to be cleansed and healed of all effects of sin and to be comforted in the sufferings caused by illness and advanced aging. We are all helped to accept in faith our movement through death into new life. Eight monks received the anointing and blessing  administered by Fr. Ephrem, surrounded by the prayers and support of the rest of the community.  

On an even more down-to-earth topic:  repair on the culverts draining the north wing of the monastery was completed without the need to dig up the road in front of the monastery.



Recent Articles
By Category

Around the Abbey



Refectory Book


The Annual Mass of Remembrance

By Month

December 2021

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

October 2020

August 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016