May 22 – The Juniors Are Here

Today fourteen “junior” professed monks and nuns from our Order arrived at New Melleray for the 2017 US Region Juniors Seminar. We are hosting this year’s program which annually brings together the simple/temporarily professed “juniors” of the OCSO monasteries in the United States for two weeks of formation and fellowship. The program continues and complements the formation they receive in their home communities and provides an opportunity for them to build relationships with their peers from the other houses in the United States.

The seminar officially begins Tuesday with tours of the monastery and of Trappist Caskets so that our visitors can become acquainted with our life. The deeper content of the seminar will begin on Wednesday when Dr. Kevin McClone, director of the Institute for Sexuality Studies at Catholic Theological Union, will present four days of conferences on “Psychosexual Human Development.” Next week our own abbot, Fr. Mark, will present conferences on the anthropology of desire rooted in our Cistercian tradition and supplemented by modern-day sources.

In addition to the conferences and discussions related to these two presentations, the juniors will have an opportunity to participate in the liturgy and labor of our life here at New Melleray. They will also have some relaxed social opportunities for connecting as we take them on outings to visit the National River Museum in Dubuque, the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Dyersville, and our sisters at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey.

from Constitutions and Statutes: of the Monks and Nuns of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance
C. 52 – Temporary Profession

1 – By temporary vows brothers undertake the obligations proper to monastic life either for a period of three years, or for three periods of one year.

C. 53 – Formation of the Temporarily Professed

Monastic formation is to be completed during the years of temporary profession . . . so that the newly professed may come to an ever greater knowledge of the Mystery of Christ and the Church, as well as the Cistercian patrimony, and strive to express it in their lives.

from Ratio Institutionis – Monasticate

37 – If there are several juniors, the relationships among them constitute a significant element in their formation . . . the juniors themselves are responsible for developing a good climate of friendship and support in the monasticate.