FALL 2015 • VOL. 10/ NO. 2
THE EDITORIAL BOARD
E D I T O R / DIRECTOR, ABBEY ADVANCEMENT
Br. Guy Jelinek, O.S.B. Fr. David Turner, O.S.B. Fr. Philip Timko, O.S.B Fr. James Flint, O.S.B.
Benedictine University Peter Hoffman Br. Guy Jelinek, O.S.B. Mr. Keith Ward, ROOT Studios/HR Imaging Mary Kay Wolf
The Rt. Rev. Austin G. Murphy, O.S.B.
ST. PROCOPIUS ABBEY
5601 College Road Lisle, Illinois 60532-4463 (630) 969-6410 PROCOPIUS.WEBS.COM
Fr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B. (630) 829-9253 [email protected]
Wolf Design , Inc. /Mary Kay Wolf [email protected]
ADV ANCEMENT ASSISTANT
Mrs. Joyce Schultz (630) 969-6410, ext. 252 [email protected]
Cover Art: Sadao Wantanabe, Adoration by the Magi, 1981, 4/100, color dye stencil print, 31-3/4" x 27-1/2"
FROM THE EDITOR Once again, the National Catholic Development Conference, Washington, D.C., awarded to St. Procopius Abbey and Wolf Design their third Lumen Award, in the category, “Best Publication with a Gift Envelope.” Many things and many people make possible an award-winning magazine. Among the many positive factors are: THE ABBOT AND THE EDITORIAL BOARD: proof-reading, submitting articles and nominating topics and ideas for future issues. THE DESIGNER: after she receives all the copy, Mary Kay Wolf whips up her magic to design a quite beautiful publication. She, too, is named on the plaque of the award. THE READERSHIP: close to 13,000 readers receive our magazine. In December it will be exactly ten years since we began publishing The Clerestory. Thank you to then junior monk, Br. Eric Pohlman (now Br. Eric at St. John’s Abbey), for suggesting the title of the magazine. Thank you, Mary Kay, for a wonderful relationship and for all your God-given skills. In this issue we highlight some of the abbey’s art and connect it with the exhortation of Pope St. John Paul II to artists who reflect the creativity and beauty of the Creator. Take some time to absorb the artwork and the words of a creative pope. Happy Anniversary! Rejoice with us!
Fr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B. Director, Abbey Advancement FIND US ON FACEBOOK The Clerestory Magazine of the Monks of St. Procopius Abbey
You can assist the monks in their great venture of Christian discipleship! If you are interested in giving to the monastic community there are many options! They include: • Cash gifts — You can make out a check to St. Procopius Abbey. • Stock gifts — In making a gift of stock you may be eligible for a tax benefit.
• Tribute or memorial gifts — These honor loved ones, living or deceased; their names will be submitted to the abbey prayer ministry. • Matching gifts — Many companies match or even double your charity. • Planned gifts — You can make a bequest in your will or trust.
• IRA Rollover — A charitable rollover from your IRA may be a convenient way to make a gift to the Abbey. Please call to receive more information about the potential benefits of this type of giving.
St. Procopius Abbey 5601 College Road, Lisle, IL., 60532-4463 Our (Federal ID#) F.E.I.N. is 36-2169184. We are a tax-exempt institution and listed in the Official Catholic Directory under the diocese of Joliet, Illinois. Bequests, etc., are deductible for federal estate and gift tax purposes. Call the office of Abbey Advancement for assistance with a donation or for more information at (630) 829-9253.
Online Giving is now available on the abbey website —procopius.webs.com/giving.
THE RIGHT REVEREND AUSTIN G. MURPHY, O.S.B., ABBOT
Dear Friends “We know where you live.” Those words usually have ominous overtones! But you could say it as a simple matter of fact about the Benedictine monks of St. Procopius Abbey. Benedictines take a vow of stability, which means that they belong to one monastery their whole lives. So, while there are other Benedictine monasteries in the country, and even in the State of Illinois, I do not belong to them and I am not going to be transferred to one of them. Rather, I belong to the monastery here on College Road in Lisle, Illinois. This is where I and the other monks of St. Procopius Abbey work out our salvation with the help of God’s grace. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” — Genesis 1:31
St. Benedict did not want his monks wondering around; instead, he wanted them to stay put, in order to do the hard work of interior conversion. This stability stands in contrast to our very mobile society. To be sure, in today’s world there are legitimate reasons why many must regularly move from place to place. Yet, St. Benedict calls for his monks to be rooted in a single place, living in a single community, and committed to the day-in-dayout work of conversion. Hence the third word in our motto: Prayer, Work, Stability. So, here we are. You know where we live. And we are not going anywhere. In the life of a community, as in the life of an individual person, there are ups and downs, challenges and triumphs. We stay put, trusting in God’s guidance through it all. And He will guide us, if we remain faithful to Him. Staying put and sticking it out is, to use the phrase on the cover of this magazine, the “Great venture of Christian discipleship.” And in this venture we have the hope that Christ will “bring us all together to everlasting life” (Rule of St. Benedict chap. 72, v. 12). Peace in Christ,
Abbot Austin G. Murphy, O.S.B.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK Abbot Austin G. Murphy, O.S.B.
The Clerestory • FALL 2015 ONE
...all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece. — Pope John Paul II Letter to Artists
The Church Needs
The artist, image of God the Creator The opening page of the Bible presents God as a kind of exemplar of everyone who produces a work: the human craftsman mirrors the image of God as Creator.
The artistic vocation in the service of beauty Artist unknown, The Apostle, Sgrafitto on cardboard, before 1970, 24" x 17"
A noted Polish poet, Cyprian Norwid, wrote that “beauty is to enthuse us for work, and work is to raise us up.” The theme of beauty is decisive for a discourse on art. It was already present when I stressed God's delighted gaze upon creation. In perceiving that all he had created was good, God saw that it was beautiful as well. The link between good and beautiful stirs fruitful reflection. In a certain sense, beauty is the visible form of the good, just as the good is the metaphysical condition of beauty. This was well understood by the Greeks who, by fusing the two concepts, coined a term which embraces both: kalokagathía, or beauty-goodness. On this point Plato writes: “The power of the Good has taken refuge in the nature of the Beautiful.”
Excerpts from the Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists • 1999
To all who are passionately dedicated to the search for new “epiphanies” of beauty so that through their creative work as artists they may offer these as gifts to the world. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gn 1:31) ST. PROCOPIUS ABBEY TWO
The artist has a special relationship to beauty. In a very true sense it can be said that beauty is the vocation bestowed on him by the Creator in the gift of “artistic talent.” And, certainly, this too is a talent which ought to be made to bear fruit, in keeping with the sense of the Gospel parable of the talents (cf. Mt 25:14-30).
In becoming man, the Son of God has introduced into human history all the evangelical wealth of the true and the good, and with this he has also unveiled a new dimension of beauty, of which the Gospel message is filled to the brim.
Georges Rouault, Aimex-Vous Les Uns Les Autres (Love One Another), from the Miserere Series, 1948, aquatint, dry point and etching, 25-7/8" x 19-7/8"
Sacred Scripture has thus become a sort of “immense vocabulary” (Paul Claudel) and “iconographic atlas” (Marc Chagall), from which both Christian culture and art have drawn. The Old Testament, read in the light of the New, has provided endless streams of inspiration. From the stories of the Creation and sin, the Flood, the cycle of the Patriarchs, the events of the Exodus to so many other episodes and characters in the history of salvation, the biblical text has fired the imagination of painters, poets, musicians, playwrights and film-makers. …And what should we say of the New Testament? From the Nativity to Golgotha, from the Transfiguration to the Resurrection, from the miracles to the teachings of Christ, and on to the events recounted in the Acts of the Apostles or foreseen by the Apocalypse in an eschatological key, on countless occasions the biblical word has become image, music and poetry, evoking the mystery of “the Word made flesh” in the language of art. In the history of human culture, all of this is a rich chapter of faith and beauty. Believers above all have gained from it in their experience of prayer and Christian living. Indeed for many of them, in times when few could read or write, representations of the Bible were a concrete mode of catechesis. But for everyone, believers or not, the works of art inspired by Scripture remain a reflection of the unfathomable mystery which engulfs and inhabits the world.
The artist, image of God the Creator
Marc Chagall (signed), Moise et les Tables de la Loi (Moses and the Tables of the Law), 1962, color lithograph, 25-1/2" x 19-1/2"
Sadao Watanabe, The Calming of the Sea, 1981, 19/100, stencil print, 23" x 21"
Art and the mystery of the Word made flesh
The Clerestory • FALL 2015 THREE
Vytas Ignas, Lemaitija — Christ in the Village, 1977, relief print, 7/66, 31-3/4" x 25-3/4"
The artistic vocation in the service of beauty
the church needs art In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself ineffable. Art has a unique capacity to take one or other facet of the message and translate it into colours, shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look or listen. It does so without emptying the message itself of its transcendent value and its aura of mystery.
ST. PROCOPIUS ABBEY FOUR
The Church also needs musicians. How many sacred works have been composed through the centuries by people deeply imbued with the sense of the mystery! The faith of countless believers has been nourished by melodies flowing from the hearts of other believers, either introduced into the liturgy or used as an aid to dignified worship. In song, faith is experienced as vibrant joy, love, and confident expectation of the saving intervention of God.
The Church needs architects, because she needs spaces to bring the Christian people together and celebrate the mysteries of salvation. After the terrible destruction of the last World War and the growth of great cities, a new generation of architects showed themselves adept at responding to the exigencies of Christian worship, confirming that the religious theme can still inspire architectural design in our own day. Not infrequently these architects have constructed churches which are both places of prayer and true works of art.
Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence. It is an invitation to savour life and to dream of the future. That is why the beauty of created things can never fully satisfy. It stirs that hidden nostalgia for God which a lover of beauty like Saint Augustine could express in incomparable terms: “Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you!” Artists of the world, may your many different paths all lead to that infinite Ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy.
The artist and the common good
Source: http://w2.vatican.va/ content/john-paul-ii/en/letters/1999/ documents/hf_jp-ii_let_23041999_ artists.html
Robert Hodgel (signed), Peace Be to You, Christ with the Eleven Apostles after the Resurrection, 1965, relief, 23" x 31-1/8"
Sharon Gill, Icon of St. George, Date Unknown, Byzantine style, tempera on gesso on baltic birch panel, gold and silver leaf, 37" x 28"
the “Beauty” that saves
The Clerestory • FALL 2015 FIVE
or our re f co m
ho me A Benedictine commentary on Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter by Fr. Philip
Art and the mystery of the Word made flesh
On care for our common home— that’s the subtitle of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato si’. The biblical story of creation, which shows the close interconnection and interrelatedness of all living things, is abundantly confirmed and illustrated by science. Since we are part of nature and constantly interact with it, the current ecological crisis does not just affect our physical environment, it has human and social dimensions as well. Chapter 3 of the encyclical describes the human roots of the ecological crisis. Industrialized nations have become so enthralled by the power of technology to dominate and control, that nature itself is reduced to a resource to be exploited for profit. People in the industrialized world are encouraged to believe that advances in technology and the expansion of unregulated markets will solve all the planet’s human and environmental ills.
ST. PROCOPIUS ABBEY SIX
Pope Francis rejects such claims: “The environment is one of those goods that cannot be adequately safeguarded or promoted by market forces. … Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage which they will leave behind for future generations? Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention. Moreover, biodiversity is considered at most a deposit of economic resources available for exploitation, with no serious thought for the real value of things, their significance for persons and cultures, or the concerns and needs of the poor” (190).
Pope Francis calls for an ‘integral ecology’ that takes account of all dimensions of the global crisis. The pope envisions the need to reexamine deeply the presuppositions of our Western life-style, our place in the world, and our approach to reality. In his own words he says: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? … When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind, we think in the first place of its general direction, its meaning and its values. Unless we struggle with these deeper issues, I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results. But if these issues are courageously faced, we are led inexorably to ask other pointed questions: What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us? It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn” (160).
Catholic Social Teaching flows from two starting points: the worth and dignity of each person and the common destination of the goods of the earth. The first problem the pope tackles in Chapter 6 is the compulsive consumerism of our society, the extreme individualism and self-centeredness that result in a lack of concern for others. To combat these tendencies he urges us to cultivate and practice “ecological citizenship”— living at peace within ourselves, with others, with nature and other living creatures, and with God (210). We need to cultivate humility and simplicity, gratitude for the things and opportunities we have, rather than being sad for what we lack or being driven by a desire to accumulate more; repentance for the harm we have caused, even unwittingly, to other persons and to the environment by our wasteful consumption; a sense of solidarity and responsibility with and for all living things; an appreciation of each moment as a gift of God to be lived to the full; and a contemplative wonder at the beauty of creation which nourishes the human spirit.
A fruitful alliance between the Gospel and art
“It is not enough to balance, in the medium term, the protection of nature with financial gain, or the preservation of the environment with progress. Halfway measures simply delay the inevitable disaster. Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress. Frequently, in fact, people’s quality of life actually diminishes — by the deterioration of the environment, the low quality of food or the depletion of resources — in the midst of economic growth. In this context, talk of sustainable growth usually becomes a way of distracting attention and offering excuses. It absorbs the language and values of ecology into the categories of finance and technocracy, and the social and environmental responsibility of businesses often gets reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures” (194).
iStock © Neneos
Pope Francis also rejects half-measures that bring no real change:
Much of what Pope Francis describes as ecological spirituality will be familiar and welcome to those who know the Benedictine tradition of humility, simplicity, stewardship, and respectful care for the goods and products of earth. Pope Francis does not imagine that the practice of such virtues by individuals will be sufficient to heal the planet. That will require societal effort and political will. But the conscious practice of ecological spirituality will change minds and hearts, increase awareness, and promote a more wholesome way of life. _____________________________________________ Would you like to know more? Laudato Si’ is available on the Vatican website (http://w2.vatican. va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papafrancesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html) and can be read online or downloaded as a pdf. It is also available from various publishers in hardback, paperback, and ebook formats.
The challenges facing ‘our common home’ call for cultural and spiritual reeducation and an individual and collective conversion. That is the subject of Chapter 6 of the encyclical.
The Clerestory • FALL 2015 SEVEN
Dear friends of the Abbey, we want to inform you of an important development. Please see the summer press release below, and keep all involved in your prayers.
Monks Ask Court to Clarify the By-Laws of Benedictine University Members of Benedictine University File Suit Against Institution’s Trustees for Denying Rights Guaranteed in By-laws Monks of St. Procopius Abbey Seek Resolution of Dispute About Interpretation and Application of Longstanding Governance Principles June 22, 2015, Wheaton, IL — Seven monks of St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, IL, today filed suit against Benedictine University’s Board of Trustees and the institution’s current president William J. Carroll in Illinois’ 18th Judicial Circuit Court in DuPage County. The Complaint asserts that the Trustees and President have denied and continue to deny the monks their rights as Members of the University, including the right to approve the election of Trustees, the right to amend and/or approve parts of the University’s By-Laws, the right to approve the University’s new president, and the right to have any conflict of interest disclosed to the University’s Board of Trustees. The monks are represented in the matter by John R. Wiktor, M. David Short and David A. Maas, attorneys in the Chicago office of Reed Smith LLP. Today’s filing comes on the heels of the Benedictine Trustees’ June 10 announcement that Michael A. Brophy, Ph.D., president of Marymount California University, had been selected as the University’s next president, replacing Carroll, who announced in January he was leaving the school’s top leadership role after 20 years.
Humanism and the Renaissance
“Our monastic community has a long tradition of participating in the governance of Benedictine,” said St. Procopius’ Abbot Austin Murphy, who is also Benedictine University’s Chancellor. “The Members’ rights to participate in and to be informed about significant matters affecting this institution are detailed in the By-Laws of the University, which is an Illinois nonprofit organization. Unfortunately, the Trustees have recently ignored these rights and made key decisions without involving us. Although for more than three years, we have tried in good faith to resolve these issues, the present impasse leaves no viable option other than to resolve these ongoing disputes with this legal action.” Benedictine University was founded in 1887 as St. Procopius College by St. Procopius Abbey’s Benedictine monks. The institution changed its name to Illinois Benedictine College in 1971, and to Benedictine University in 1996. The plaintiffs — Abbot Murphy, Prior Guy Jelinek, Subprior Gregory Perron, Father Thomas Chisholm, Father James Flint, Father Philip Timko, and Brother Kevin Coffey — are the Members of
ST. PROCOPIUS ABBEY EIGHT
Benedictine University, as well as the members of the Board of Directors of St. Procopius Abbey’s nonprofit corporation. According to the Complaint, although the Members have significant legal rights and an oversight role in the University’s leadership and governance, including the election of trustees and changes to the University’s By-Laws, they were also denied their right to approve the most recent Trustee re-election in April, and were prevented from interviewing candidates and voting in the recent presidential selection process. “I do not object to the selection of Dr. Brophy as the next president, but we do strongly object to the process by which he was chosen. The members were not even allowed to interview the candidates for the position,” said Abbot Murphy. “The exclusion of the Members from this important process is contrary to our governance policies and this pattern of behavior by the current Board of Trustees must be remedied immediately.” “The Members are perplexed by this situation because twenty some years ago, our current president, Dr. Carroll, was elected in accordance with the procedures set out in the bylaws as we interpret them,” said Brother Guy. “We’re not sure why the change in process has taken place.” The Declaratory Judgment Action asks the Court for a finding that the monks, in their roles as Members of the University, have certain rights provided by the By-Laws which need to be followed and enforced. Those rights include approving the re-election of Trustees; approving new Trustees; approving the election and appointment of the University’s president; the unilateral right to amend Articles III and IV of the By-Laws and to approve other amendments to the By-Laws initiated by the Trustees; and that current Trustees must disclose to the Board possible conflicts of interest and past or present conflicts of interest not previously disclosed. “We are confident the best interests of Benedictine University will be served by a court clarifying the rights and obligations of the monks of St. Procopius as Members in the governance structure of the University,” said Short of Reed Smith. “A decision will provide firmer ground upon which to build a solid relationship between the Members and Trustees as this great University moves forward.”
THE PROCOPIAN OBLATE Abbey Oblate, Christine M. Fletcher, Publishes Two Books
The Artist and the Trinity: Dorothy L. Sayers’ Theology of Work Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2013 hile best known for detective fiction featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957) was a serious and accomplished religious thinker within the Anglican tradition. Exploring Sayers’ life and thought as part of her own intellectual project — “What is woman’s work?”— Dr. Christine Fletcher, oblate of St. Procopius Abbey and Associate Professor of Theology at Benedictine University, offers here a short but packed study of Sayers’ significance for modern Christians. In regard to woman’s work — really, human work as a whole — one articulation of the answer to which Dr. Fletcher, making use of Sayers thought, arrives at is as follows: Sayers sees our vocation in work. Man is homo faber; he bears the image of God in his ability and desire to create. This desire is frustrated in the modern industrial system in which work becomes work to escape work. We should look to the artists (and others such as scientists and craftsmen) for work that fits human nature, which is work that the worker lives to
do. . . . Work should suit the talents of the worker whether male or female. A right kind of work must be related not only to the right understanding of the needs of man but also a willingness to serve and love the material body of God’s universe. [55-56]
We need beauty so that we do not sink into despair
Elsewhere, she notes Sayers’ criteria for what makes work good: “that it makes a product worth making; that it provides an opportunity for individual initiative and creativity; that however laborious it may be in detail, it allows the workers to view with satisfaction the final results of their labour; and finally that it is of a kind that fits in with the natural rhythm of human mind and body.”  Along with insights on Peter Wimsey and much else, Dr. Fletcher provides studies of Sayers’ understanding of the Trinity in regard to human work and of the relationship of Sayers’ thought to that of Alasdair MacIntyre. The reader is left in no doubt about the power and penetration of her subject’s mind – yet more important, is left with the desire to know more about, and read more of, the remarkable Dorothy Sayers.
by Fr. James
24/7 Christian: The Secular Vocation of the Laity Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2015
hristine Fletcher’s 24/7 Christian: The Secular Vocation of the Laity explores the sacredness in everyday life. Fletcher’s 24/7 is written for Christians who want to live out their faith all day, every day, in all the different contexts in which they find themselves. After examining the dichotomy that developed historically between religious and secular life, she finds a basis for a new understanding of lay vocation in the gospels and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. To assist Christians in finding their own unique vocations, Fletcher suggests examining their own personalities, talents, values, goals, and stages in life. She puts searching for and living out vocation into the context of the Benedictine traditions of community and prayer. Fletcher’s book brings together a number of different sources into one fairly short accessible book, helpful for those reflecting on Christian lives in the context of contemporary
ecclesiology. The book is at its best when the author uses concrete examples from her life to illustrate specific values. In discussing the importance of Sabbath, a day of rest, she speaks of the need she discovered, as a parent, for family time in each other’s presence: Each of us made a commitment to accept no more than two evening engagements a week. So what did we do when we were home? Not much really — we were just there. Our presence — being in the same room with the kids even if we are all reading different books or paying attention to different things — had a different feel than our absence. Her emphasis is clear throughout —Christians are not just called to service in their parishes or on Sundays; Christians are called to service every day in their workplaces, their communities, their families, and, of course, their parishes. by Maureen Beyer Moser CatholicBooksReview.org
The Clerestory • FALL 2015 NINE
REV. ODILO F. CRKVA, O.S.B. BORN: February 23, 1926 PROFESSED A MONK: July 11, 1947 ORDAINED A PRIEST: July 26, 1953 DIED: September 29, 2015
The Church needs art
Our confrere, Fr. Odilo Crkva, died of cancer at St. Patrick’s Residence, Naperville, IL, late on the evening of Tuesday, September 29. Born in Brtnice, Czechoslovakia, Francis Crkva was one of three children in the family of a poor bricklayer. Though from childhood he desired to become a priest, the expense of studying would have put his ambition out of reach had not Emaus Abbey, in Prague, offered a scholarship to his parish so that a devout young man might be sent to secondary school. Francis was chosen, but his studies were complicated by the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia in 1939 and, soon after, the start of World War II. Toward the end of 1944, the eighteenyear-old was conscripted for forced labor in a paramilitary organization. The last months of the war were spent in construction work as well as clean-up after raids on Prague and other towns by Allied bombers. Since the Russian front was approaching and there were rumors that young Czechs would be obliged to join the Red Army, Francis slipped away from his unit and back to his village. In the last days of the war, he helped direct German military traffic westwards, in a successful effort to prevent a full-scale battle from being fought in Brtnice. With the end of the war, the young man could complete his studies and then join the revived Abbey of Emaus, professing his monastic vows on July 11, 1947. Sent to Sant’Anselmo for theological studies, Fr. Odilo avoided the imprisonment that most Emaus monks suffered when their monastery was suppressed by the Communist dictatorship, but he found himself stranded in Rome without a community of his own. With the help of the Holy See and the Benedictine confederation, he was able to remain at Sant’Anselmo for more than a decade. Following his ordination to the priesthood by Bishop Secondo Chiocca at the cathedral of Foligno on July 26, 1953, Fr. Odilo worked on licentiates in theology, Gregorian chant and sacred composition, all the while guiding
ST. PROCOPIUS ABBEY TEN
the development of an orchestra at Sant’Anselmo itself. From 1957-59, he served as the chaplain of the Benedictine sisters at Montefiolo. He then accepted the invitation of Abbot Ambrose Ondrak to cross the Atlantic and come to St. Procopius Abbey, where he was immediately put to work as an organist for the Divine Office and also taught such subjects as Latin, Greek, and Gregorian Chant. In 1968, he officially transferred his stability to St. Procopius. Fr. Odilo’s life here was characterized, in all he did, by regularity and reliability. What he was assigned to do, whatever tasks he took on himself, he was there at the prescribed time, rarely early, never late. This precision, I must confess, was insufficiently appreciated. As a young monk teaching at Benet, I frequently took the 7:00 a.m. run of the shuttle bus over to the Academy. A few of us did, a rather stable number. We might all have arrived at the “Van,” as Fr. Odilo termed his conveyance, well before he did, at about 6:58 or maybe 6:59 and ten seconds. All there, ready to go. But we went nowhere, it was unthinkable that we should, until the signal on the radio, an unforgettable beep, announced the top of the hour. Then we went, and went we did even on occasions when a certain tardy monk was chasing us down the driveway. The Van was scheduled at 7:00 a.m., what is there hard to understand about that? But think not that the Adventures of the Van concluded with the radio beep. They had but begun. Fr. Odilo had a gift for speeding up when dull-witted Americans might slow down, and the reverse was just as true. Indeed, the Van would slow to a crawl whenever a topic compelled his intervention and he had a remark or experience to share. What might have been a boring, commonplace three-minute commute could easily turn into a ten-minute roller-coaster with thrilling moments wondering just how good are the brakes on a Mack truck. But we always made it through — today is the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels and I wish to extend full credit — we made it through and exited the van, some with undue haste,
In July, 2007, Fr. Odilo traveled to the Czech Republic and spent time in his hometown of Brtnice where he visited with family friends and his niece, Maria (with dog). He had the honor of celebrating the solemnity of St. Procopius Abbey on Sunday, July 8, at the public celebration. Seated at Mass in the Church of St. Procopius (left to right) are Fr. Odilo, the Most Rev. Diego Causero, apostolic nuncio to the Czech Republic, and the pastor of the church, Fr. Frantisek.
as Fr. Odilo wished us well with a cheery remark such as, “Well, Brothers, this is as far as I can take you.” Fr. Odilo continued with his Van driving for more than thirty years, bringing all the mail of the Abbey and the schools to and from the Lisle post office. Some days this meant carrying quite a few boxes and bins of mailings. I don’t think I ever heard him complain. “I like my job,” he told me more than once. He pointed out the importance of getting the mail to the schools on time, or else all the secretaries would have nothing to do. He said much the same about some of the monks, awaiting his delivery of the newspapers. Almost never late. I still remember the morning when an enormous amount of snow and wind had made the roads totally impassible: Fr. Odilo came into choir, knelt before the Prior, and in an exact application of Chapter 68 of the Holy Rule, when a monk is commanded to do impossible things, he humbly begged permission not to attempt any trips with the Van.
May he rest in peace!
I have no doubt he made that request with tears in his eyes. He liked his job and was relentlessly conscientious in carrying it out, for a quarter of a century on his own and then with Br. Sebastian riding shotgun. I can only imagine the conversations those two must have had. Not until 2006, in his eighty-first year, were the keys to the Van pried from Fr. Odilo’s hands and an era came to a close. Even afterwards, he continued his labors as associate organist and secretary to the Abbot for Czech and German correspondence. Ever an exemplar of regular attendance at all community functions, Father “O” (as he would sign his name in memos on the bulletin board) to the end of his life much enjoyed pinochle during community recreation. Cancer was discovered about three weeks before his death and his health deteriorated rapidly in his final days. Fr. Odilo is survived by his monastic community and one niece, Marie Navratilová, who resides in the Czech Republic. The Abbot and Community received his body on the evening of Friday, October 2, at a vigil service. On Saturday, October 3, the community celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial. Interment followed in the abbey cemetery on the grounds of Benedictine University. In memoriam for one month, a lighted candle burns at his place at table. Each of his confreres will perform the necessary suffrages celebrating three masses for the repose of his soul. We appreciate your prayers for the repose of the soul of our confrere, Fr. Odilo.
by Fr. James
This past August, the Abbey was invaded by high-school men from two Dominican-run parishes in Ohio. I won’t deny that I was a bit apprehensive as to the impact of several dozen youngsters upon the peace of the cloister! But the day turned out to be a pleasure for all involved. After a very prayerful Mass in the Abbey Church, they joined the monks for noon prayer and lunch. Interestingly for me, many of these fellows were homeschooled, and to judge from them the notion of poor “socialization” among such students can be consigned to the realm of fiction. Very comfortable were they talking to monks, and many of the tables had monks and students chatting until close to 1:00 p.m. I subsequently took them on a tour of the Abbey building and grounds, and it was good to see their interest in how a monastery operates in this day and age, how we continue to maintain even in suburbia such traditional monastic works as a vineyard, an orchard, and a vegetable garden. Since Abbot Hugh, our head gardener, was present when we stopped by, they were delighted to try to assist him by chasing down and expelling a pesky (and voracious) rabbit within the wire fence enclosing the area. They did their best, a dozen of the more energetic youngsters running tirelessly in every direction as the bunny scampered — indeed, there ended up being three rabbits momentarily smoked out of their hiding (and lunching) spots. At the end of the day, alas, the rabbits had all evaded expulsion from the garden! The students were more successful, no doubt, with the ultimate Frisbee on the front hill with which they finished their time with us. Occasions such as this are for me ones of great hope, in regard to the future of the Church in our land. As to what particular vocation these young minds have in life, it’s way too early to say, probably for them, certainly for me! But the joy they clearly have and show in their Catholicism is grand to experience. You are welcome to write or call me at: [email protected]
or (630) 829-9279.
See the St. Procopius Abbey Video on our website at procoiups.com or scan this code for a direct link. FIND US ON FACEBOOK Fr. James Flint, O.S.B.
Come and See Vocation Discernment Retreat Men between 18 and 45 years old are invited to visit St. Procopius Abbey Fri., Nov. 20 (4:00 p.m.) to Sun., Nov. 22 (1:00 p.m.), 2015.
The Creator Spirit and artistic inspiration
in memoriam monachorum a lighted candle burned brightly in front of a standing crucifix at his place at table in the refectory.
This is an opportunity to share the life of the monks and prayerfully consider whether God is calling you to the Benedictine way of life. Participating in the retreat is free, but space is limited. Contact Fr. James Flint to reserve a spot [email protected]
~Fr. James The Clerestory • FALL 2015 ELEVEN
Abbey Adventures o u r
g r e a t
v e n t u r e
C h r i s t i a n
d i s c i p l e s h i p .
Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
C h r o n i c l i n g
n On September 8, Abbot Austin (far right) concelebrated the ordination Mass for Bishop Robert Barron, an alumnus of Benet Academy, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.
60 YEARS OF MONASTIC PROFESSION ABBOT DISMAS (back row, right) “He credits his military service for direction, stability and sense of purpose.” ~Fr. Edward
Art must make perceptible…the world of the spirit
BR. RAPHAEL (front row, right) “Brother has always remained faithful and committed to his vows.” ~Fr. Anthony
50 YEARS OF ORDINATION ABBOT HUGH (back row, left) “Service is the word that captures the life of this grand old man…” ~Fr. Becket
n This year, Fr. James seemed to be everywhere. From March 4-7, Abbot Hugh and Fr. James spent time at Abadia di San Antonio Abad, Puerto Rico, for the spring meeting of the President's Council of the American Cassinese Congregation. From August 17-21, he preached the annual retreat at Saint Anselm’s Abbey in Washington, D.C. And, from October 11-15, he was part of the visitation team at St. Anselm’s Abbey in Manchester, New Hampshire. n On the solemnity of St. Procopius, July 4, with his parents in attendance, the abbot and community invested Mark Dicosola as a novice. Abbot Austin gave him the name Br. Elias. You can view his investiture at http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=ABiBHA-3rL8.
FR. ANTHONY (front row, left) “For your steadfast monastic observance, gentle humor, and perseverance in the face of physical challenges, we are grateful.” ~Fr. James
40 YEARS OF MONASTIC PROFESSION FR. JAMES (back row, center) “I could always count on his efficiency and thoroughness.” ~Abbot Hugh All comments were spoken at the abbey’s jubilee dinner on June 11, 2015.
ST. PROCOPIUS ABBEY TWELVE
Pictured (from left), Abbot Austin, Fr. Julian and Br. Elias. n As a member of the steering committee, Fr. Becket participated in the Benedictine Development Symposium at St. Benedict’s Retreat Center, Schuyler, Nebraska, July 19-24. Advancement directors from Benedictine schools and monasteries gather every two years to network
and reflect on topics pertaining to development. Among the many speakers were Sr. Georgette Lehmuth, O.S.F., President and CEO of the National Catholic Development Conference, Brian Doyle, Editor, Portland Magazine, University of Portland, Oregon, and Lee Aase, Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. n In August, Br. Gregory began his doctoral studies in the department of Religion at Rice University, Houston, Texas. n Abbot Austin was a visitator at Belmont Abbey in Belmont, North Carolina, from Sept. 13-17. n We “lost” a monk in early September. Since 1936, our monastery had sponsored a “Benedictine Chinese Mission.” We had a house on the mainland, but the monks were first interned by the Japanese during the war, and then were uprooted again in 1948, as the Communist armies overran most of the country. Some of our missionaries remained in the Far East for awhile, to see what might develop, and in 1965 we decided to set up a house on Taiwan. The one native vocation who came and persevered in the following decades was Br. Pius Chen, who proved a hard worker. He visited us in Lisle several times in the following decades, making a positive impression notwithstanding an understandably imperfect command of English. When our Fr. Alban died in 2009, we shut down the priory in Taiwan, putting into effect a plan
ADVENT at the Abbey
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of all of our confreres, relatives,
9:00 a.m. Doors Open 9:30 a.m. Lauds 10:00 a.m. Lectio Divina 11:00 a.m. Sacrament of Reconciliation 12:00 p.m. Eucharist 12:30 p.m. Lunch 1:30 p.m. Presentation 2:30 p.m. Closing Prayer and Blessing
friends and benefactors
To help us plan the catering arrangements, please contact Fr. Becket at (630) 829-9253 or [email protected]
to let us know that you plan to attend.
worked out previously to turn over the land to the Sisters of Our Lady of China, who had already built what might be the finest hospital on the island. We could accept our failure to establish a Benedictine abbey much easier, knowing that the good work of the Sisters would be assisted by the use of our property. Our plan had included bringing Br. Pius to the States. However, we did not account for the finer points of American immigration law! In trying to obtain a permanent residence visa, we ran into an insuperable barrier in the shape of incomprehension as to how Br. Pius could be considered other than indigent, since he had earned no income for decades. “But he was a monk, living in a monastery with a vow of poverty!” So we tried to explain, but all that came across was “poverty,” another way of saying indigent.
+ Fr. Odilo Crkva, O.S.B. + John McConnell, oblate
Abbey Prayer & Worship The monks invite you to join them for morning and evening prayer, especially solemn vespers
+ Robert Vilimek, friend of the abbey
on Sundays. These are the usual
+ Henry L. Vesely, cousin of Br. Raphael and friend of the abbey
switchboard at (630) 969-6410
Mass times please call the abbey or visit procopius.webs.com to confirm Saturday or Solemnity times or any other schedules.
So Br. Pius decided to seek to transfer his stability to a Trappist house in Taiwan, where he would also be able to pray and work in his native tongue. That process was completed this September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. Quite possibly in God’s Providence the best solution, no matter what our frustration with bureaucracy. We certainly wish Br. Pius a full measure of God’s grace in his new community!
Mass will always be celebrated in the abbey church. But all community daily prayer is held in the Lady Chapel.
Monday thru Friday Lauds.............................6:00 a.m. Mid-day Prayer..............12:00 noon The Conventual Mass......4:50 p.m. Vespers..........................7:00 p.m.
The “Beauty” that saves
Saturday, December 12, 2015 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Lauds.............................6:25 a.m. The Conventual Mass......7:00 a.m. Mid-day Prayer..............12:00 noon Vespers..........................5:00 p.m. Compline........................7:00 p.m.
Sunday Lauds.............................6:25 a.m. The Conventual Mass....11:00 a.m.
n Abbot Austin and a few of the monks assisted in the blessing of the new Daniel L. Goodwin Halll of Business on Saturday, October 17, on the campus of Benedictine University.
Solemn Vespers..............5:00 p.m. Compline........................7:00 p.m.
The Clerestory • FALL 2015 THIRTEEN
2 The Church Needs Art
6 A Benedictine Commentary on Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si 8 Monks Ask Court to Clarify the By-Laws of Benedictine University 9 The Procopian Oblate 10 In Memoriam Monachorum 11 Vocations Ministry 12 Abbey Adventures 13 Abbey Prayer and Worship
Sadao Wantanabe, Adoration by the Shepherds, 1984, stencil print, 31-3/4" x 27-1/23"
5601 College Road Lisle, Illinois 60532-4463
Georges Rouault, En Ces Temps Noirs De Jactance Et D'Incroyance, Notre-Dame d De La Fin Des Terres Vigilante (In These Times of Vanity and Unbelief, Our Lady of Land's End Keeps Watch), 1948, aquatint, dry point, and etching, 25 3/4" x 19 7/8" with frame
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