Mark Scott returns
For the past year, Fr. Mark Scott has been dividing his time between serving as chaplain to the Trappestine sisters of Santa Rita in Arizona and his former community at New Clairvaux Abbey in California. During the time that he was our superior and abbot, he automatically assumed stability as a member of New Melleray. For a Benedictine and Cistercian monk, stability is more than merely a canonical and legal status in a community. It is an integral expression of the trusting commitment a monk makes to God through a localized community. From the day of his profession, he is counted as one of the community (RB, Chapter 58). Stability in a community is the embodiment of a desire for stability of heart. Our Constitutions state:
By the vow of stability within his community a brother obliges himself to make constant use of the means of the spiritual craft there, trusting in the providence of God who has called him to this place and to this group of brothers. (Const.#9).
The Constitutions provide for the situation of a monk who has served as abbot of a community and has come to the end of his term of office. The monk who left the community of his profession to exercise the abbatial ministry in another community of the Order can, within a year of resigning from office or completing his mandate, resume his first stability (St. 40.C). After this year of reflection and discernment, Fr. Mark has decided to resume his stability at New Clairvaux Abbey and therefore will not return to New Melleray. We respect his decision and are extremely grateful to him for his years of service as our superior and abbot. We have been enriched by his presence and many gifts and are sorry that he will not be returning. We offer him our prayerful and affectionate best wishes and will remain united with him in the bonds of the Cistercian family.
Back in 1989, the community purchased a small farm of 160 acres which was situated across the road from the monastery to the immediate south. Our primary concern was to preserve a natural seclusion around the monastery and prevent a possible development of some sort on the site. Although a truck stop or a casino was unlikely, we preferred to keep the land in agricultural use. There was a farm house which at one time had been the homestead of the McAndrew family. They have long been supportive friends and neighbors of the monastery. In the days when we still did not receive women visitors in the guest house, the McAndrews would offer over-night hospitality to the female members of monks’ families. The farm house was occupied by a Mrs. Giesman at the time of the purchase, and she desired to continue living there. The monastery continued to provide maintenance and repairs while she resided there.
The recent death of Mrs. Giesman has forced a decision about the future of the house. Some would have liked to see the house renovated and made available to someone with a low income. But a thorough examination of the house indicates that it would be less expensive to build something new than to satisfactorily rebuild it. So the decision has been made to demolish the house, rather than let it deteriorate and become subject to vandalism or other liabilities. We will maintain a water supply there so that cattle can pasture on the land and provide a bucolic bulwark against the stealthy incursions of urbanization.