September 2015

New Melleray Candle Lighting

New Melleray Fence


Nothing will work unless you do.

-- Maya Angelou


In September the nation observes Labor Day. Labor Day is a day for us to recall that a human person is more than the work he or she does. That is why it is a holiday. It is also, then, a day for us to remember that however important our work might be, the world can get along without our work, at least for one day. We never reduce a person to his or her work or evaluate them on the basis of their work. Nevertheless, work contributes to a person’s dignity. Work is also an opportunity for her to contribute to the community and society she is part of. One of the features of the monks’ way of life is the positive emphasis they put on manual labor. In his Rule for Monasteries Saint Benedict said that “they are truly monks when the live by the work of their hands.” Saint Benedict’s teaching was scandalous in his own time. Then, only slaves or serfs did manual work, not priests or educated people. But many of the monks of that time were priests and educated people, and it was shocking to see them work like serfs.  The monks value work. We hope that people who work for New Melleray Abbey are affirmed in their dignity, respected for who they are as persons, derive some spiritual enrichment from what they do, and enjoy real leisure and recreation with family and friends on Labor Day and other holidays. 

Fr. Mark


Patty Enrado, A Village in the Fields, 2015. A retired Filipino farmworker looks back on his long and costly struggle for civil rights. Born in 1912, Fausto Empleo came to the United States in 1929, bent on pursuing some version of the American dream. Ready for hard work, Fausto was unprepared for the racism he encountered. He followed the harvest up and down California to cut, pick, and process crops. The labor was hard, wages low, conditions primitive. At the end of his life, Fausto learns some answers to long-held questions and gains a measure of peace. Enrado’s characterization is beautifully observed; she conveys the tactile, sensory quality of farmwork, the way a much-used tool fits a man’s hand, and how dirt seeps in to every wrinkle of clothes and body. Fausto’s culture, friendships, and inner life see rich expression. The novel’s tone of reconciliation is well-earned: as Fausto says, “nothing worth fighting for is easy.” Multilayered, empathetic, and touching account of a workingman’s life. Kirkus Review.

New Melleray Courtyard Fountain 

Author: Fr. Mark Scott

Tags: Work, Patty Enrado, A Village in the Fields

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