May 26 – Dom Richard Purcell
Dom Richard Purcell, Abbot of Mount Melleray Abbey and our Father Immediate, is visiting us for a few days. Today he spoke to us in a special chapter session. As this is his first visit to New Melleray, he began by introducing himself and sharing his journey of growing up in Dublin and entering, at the age of 21, Mount Saint Joseph Abbey at Roscrea, Ireland. He then told us about the situation of the Church in Ireland and, particularly, of monastic life. He explained how, as abbot of Roscrea, he participated in the efforts to address the precipitous decline of the Cistercian monasteries in Ireland. These circumstances contributed to his election as abbot by the monks of Mount Melleray. (Constitutionally a monastery cannot elect the abbot of another monastery as abbot UNLESS he is the abbot of a daughter-house.) To close, Dom Richard assured us that Mount Melleray will remain our Father Immediate and that the delegation of those duties to Dom Peter McCarthy will only be in effect until the 2020 General Chapter.
from Constitutions and Statutes
Any brother who has made profession in the Order can be elected abbot, including the abbot of a daughter-house if this is necessary, but not the abbot of any other monastery.
C. 74 The Father Immediate
1. The Father Immediate is to watch over the progress of his daughter houses. While respecting the autonomy of the daughter house he is to help and support the abbot in the exercise of his pastoral charge and to foster concord in the community. If he notices there a violation of a precept of the Rule or of the Order, he is to try with humility and charity and having consulted the local abbot, to remedy the situation.