June 19, 2013
Feast of St. Romuald
Since the summer months do not give us occasion to meet regularly, it is all the more important to communicate with the oblates on events and news that relate to the Abbey.
Some of you have inquired about the health of a number of our monks, so let me have that subject be the first in order. Abbot David suffered a fall while walking by the abbey on May 14. He suffered no serious injury but a hospitalization and subsequent therapy found serious difficulty in balance and walking. It was also apparent that Abbot David’s dementia had become progressively worse. After a period of time at McAuley Manor in Aurora he was moved to St. Patrick’s Residence in Naperville on June 7. He continues to receive therapy and care there. Brother Dominic has also gone through an extended period of hospitalization and therapy at McAuley Manor. After having returned to the Abbey in April, Br. Dominic contracted pneumonia. In recovering from that, he lost quite a bit of weight. He remains at McAuley Manor for the time being. On June 5 Father Frederick had surgery on his foot. It is part of an ongoing effort to minimize the deterioration of his bone and arch. To complete the medical report, Fr. Kenneth is recovering from a urinary tract infection that he picked up June 11. Your prayers are also asked for Msgr. Joseph Linster, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in St. Charles, and sister of Oblate Marian Moore. Msgr. Linster suffered a heart attack several weeks ago and has had some ongoing medical complications since then.
There is also some upbeat news at the Abbey. On June 7 the Abbey Chapter approved the petitions for profession of Novices Joseph, Patrick and Daniel. They will make their temporary profession at Mass in the Abbey Church on July 11. Authorization has been given for the Abbey Farms to start an expansion of facilities. On June 1, Fr. Abbot blessed the field and broke ground for the area that will become the Ken and Carol Nagel Emporium, a barn-building that will give almost three times the space that our present barn building has. A number of other developments on the farm have been initiated and will be completed by the fall. Thanks too for the oblates who volunteered to assist Adam Voirin in Abbey Farm help.
Thanks are also in order for the oblates who came out to Marmion on Saturday mornings, June 8 and 15, to put a new layer of mulch on the Outdoor Way of the Cross. Pat Williams (with son Nick), Ginger Salis, John Bakken, Dominic Petitti, Michael Mattio and John Heneghan all gave of their labor and time. Bonnie Calhan deserves mention too for her regular care of plantings by individual stations.
A number of the oblates went on their June pilgrimage trip to St. Mary’s Monastery in Rock Island, IL, on Monday, June 17. The Oblate Director of St. Mary’s, Sr. Ruth Ksycki, was a gracious host. We were able to celebrate Eucharist with the community, have lunch with them, get a thorough background on the community history and a tour of the beautiful buildings and grounds. A number of oblates said they would come back.
Monks were also traveling in the month of June. Abbot John and Fr. Marcos left on June 16 for Guatemala, along with a group of students from the Academy. They will spend two weeks at the Priory in Quetzaltenango. Abbot Vincent was at St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA, to speak to the American Cassinese Congregation at their triennial General Chapter. Fr. Thomas will be spending several weeks in St. Petersburg, Russia, continuing his language and cultural studies as he continues work on his doctoral studies in history. And Fr. Paul will be leaving on July 15 for Fort Hood, TX, where he will begin his three-year tour of duty as Army Chaplain.
I should advise you that I will be out of the abbey for a good part of the summer. I will be giving a retreat to a community of Benedictine Sisters and their oblates in the Bahamas from June 23-July 1. I will be in Collegeville, MN, teaching a summer school course at St. John’s University from July 7-27. That does not mean that we cannot be doing planning for the year ahead. I would like to confirm the date of our first Oblate Meeting of the fall for Sept. 15, the third Sunday of the month. If you have ideas or suggestions for the content of upcoming meetings, please pass them on.
I write this from a hermitage at Sacred Heart Monastery in Lisle, an appropriate venue on this Feast of St. Romuald, who nurtured so much the eremitical monastic life as an option. I wish you a pleasant and relaxing summer and assure you that you remain daily in the prayers of the monks as I hope we do in yours.
Fr. Joel, OSB