Voices From the Cloister - New Melleray's Recent History

In preparation for the 170th Anniversary of the founding of New Melleray Abbey on July 16, the community is reading about our history as recorded in various sources.   Our present refectory book is a thesis written by Benedict Julian Hussmann of the University of Iowa in 1989.  The author sets out to study the major facets of the recent history of New Melleray as related to him by monks at that time.  Hussmann is particularly interested in the changes in the monastic culture which came about under the influence of evolution in both church and secular culture following Vatican II.  The very substantial growth in the population of the monastery from the late 40's and through the 50's was a blessing with long term effects as the community undertook a major building project to accommodate the newcomers.  Among on-going challenges which followed in the years of the "big influx", was how to bring monks to agreement on how the vow of poverty should be lived individually and communally.  Concerning the departure of so many monks following Vatican II, Hussmann engages a complex reality.  Some monks left monastic life because they wanted to avail themselves of opportunities for personal development which the culture at that time greatly encouraged.  Others left because they regretted the mitigation of the rigorous ascetical practices of Trappist life prior to Vatican II.  This life represented to them the real possibility of giving one's whole self to God.  Life in the monastery after the reforms were introduced seemed not to give expression to their own highest aspirations as they understood them.  This reviewing of the long and complex history of our abbey is thought-provoking.  It also awakens prayer to God in thanksgiving for the mystery of this place and for the witness provided the church and the world by so many men who lived here.

 

 

 

 

 

Author: New Melleray Abbey

Tags: refectory reading, history, anniversary

Recent Articles
By Category

Around the Abbey

Formation

Liturgy

Refectory Book

Schedule

By Month

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