February News

With a bonus day for the month of February, we were able to schedule an Information Forum and catch up on local occurrences. Not everything merits the title of an event. We will be losing two visiting monks, who will be departing on the morning of March 1st. Fr. Donal Davis will be returning to Mount Melleray in Ireland after a temporary visit begun last November. And Fr. Alberic Maisog will be returning to Assumption Abbey in Ava, Missouri after having spent a month with us. Fr. Alberic is officially a member of our community, but he chose to remain at Assumption Abbey after it was transferred to the Cistercians of the Common Observance. He agreed to divide his time between the two monasteries by coming to New Melleray four times a year to help us with pastoral ministry by celebrating the Eucharist here and over at Mississippi Abbey. The addition of their services added variety and depth to our liturgy, and we are grateful to them.

We also hosted three sisters from Mississippi Abbey from February 20th – 26th. They shared our life and liturgy, adding their presence and energy by increasing a sense of mutuality in living Cistercian life. They greatly helped to bring order to our novitiate library which had fallen into some neglect. And they took advantage of pleasant weather by pruning some apple and walnut trees. We have been moving into a greater level of cooperation with our sisters, especially in the areas of initial and ongoing formation.

On February 6th, we held our annual Board of Directors meeting for Trappist Caskets. The community is the legal owner of Trappist Caskets and is required by law to meet each year, elect officers and pass official motions. The meeting was very efficiently run by one of our lawyers and included representatives of the management of Trappist Caskets. It has now been in operation for 25 years and continues to be a successful venture.

We are planning a meeting of the liturgy committee this week to make preparations for Holy Week. Visitors are already asking about our schedule for Holy Week. Other than the fact that it will be like last year, no specific schedule as been determined. Stay tuned.

Several men have recently expressed interest in pursuing vocations at the Abbey, and they are scheduled for visits in the next months. We still have two men here as long term guests, and another is expected next month. The A.I.C. (Associates of Iowa Contemplative) continues to be a dedicated group, meeting here once a month. About 25 persons normally come for these sessions.

The superior gave a report on the contributions the community has made to needs in the church. One of the largest was a gift to the sisters who had been forced from Nicaragua to refound their community in Panama. Major renovation work was completed in our Guest House kitchen, including new ovens and air conditioning. Some new washers and driers are now available in our laundry and a new car (hybrid) was purchased to replace an older model. Over 40,000 new trees were planted last year, topping an average planting of 10,000.