Director's Letter

April 12, 2015

Divine Mercy Sunday


Dear Oblates,


As we make our way through the Easter season, I want to pass on my sincere wishes for a joyful Easter to all of you.  May you have the gift of being able to use these days as a time of deepening your faith in the resurrection.  For those who have gone through the RCIA process, you know that this is a period of mystagogia, the time when we are “led through the mysteries.” St. Benedict would have been pleased to learn of this, for in a real sense the central formation undergone by all who live by his Rule is to enter the paschal mystery of Christ and probe more deeply into it each year through the liturgy and our community life.  One of the ways in which we do that is by engaging ourselves with texts that have been passed on to us by our tradition.  On this Divine Mercy Sunday, many people continue to profit from going over the Diary of St. Faustina.   I have always been impressed by how many individuals associated with the oblates have benefited from reading widely in the area of the Church Fathers.  The way in which the writings of these eminent theologians and holy men have been rendered to us today in good English translations constitutes one of the real gifts of the post-Vatican II Church.  TED talks they are not. But I urge you during this mystagogical period up to Pentecost to seek out and savor the wisdom and holiness of the Church Fathers in their writings as they lead us through the mysteries of the faith.   Also, on this Divine Mercy Sunday when Pope Francis formally declares a forthcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy, may you come to be true instruments of Christ’s mercy in all you do.


Our next Oblate Meeting will be on Sunday, April 19.  At Vespers on that day we will have our annual renewal of oblation and we are blessed to have six of our oblates making final oblation.  We are grateful to Sharon Fernandez, Deborah Hutchinson, Sophie Petrone,  Richard Phelan, Linn Pileggi and Jeanine Williams for their fidelity and commitment.  Congratulations are in order too for my mother and Abbey Oblate Helen Rippnger, who will be honored along with two other women, Vera Feltes and Patricia Garrity, at Marmion Academy’s annual Salute to Youth Benefit Dinner on April 25.  Appropriately enough, the award given to these three women is named the St. Scholastica Award.  May they be the first of many more deserving women of faith to receive this award.


You are asked to remember in your prayer Deacon John Kulpin, an oblate of Marmion and member of St. Patrick’s Church in St. Charles.  He died on March 17.  Please keep in your prayer Br. Jude, who was admitted to Rush-Copley Hospital on April 9, with complications from his congestive heart failure. Prayers are requested for the abbey sick, including Abbot David at St. Patrick’s Residence in Naperville, and Fr. Mario, residing at the abbey.  I am pleased to report that Fr. Basil is making steady progress in rehabilitation after his surgery for a new hip on March 25.


For the meeting on April 19, we will have our first hour in the Abbey Day Room, devoted to looking at Book II of the Dialogues of Gregory the Great and the way in which this work offer insights into the life and teaching of St. Benedict.  We will then meet for a short business meeting at 3:30.  We will then go on to talk about the monastic entity to which Marmion belongs, the Swiss-American Congregation.


Looking ahead, we will have our last Oblate meeting of the spring on Sunday, May 17.  We have also scheduled our June “pilgrimage.”  It is tentatively programmed for Tuesday, June 16, and will incorporate a local tour of Annunciation Church and grounds, Marmion’s first and ongoing parish commitment.  We will then go to St. George’s Parish, one of two Eastern Rite Churches in Aurora, whose pastor is Father Frederick.  A look at the interior of the church will be the highlight.  We will conclude the day by visiting the site of Marmion’s original monastic community and school on Lake Street.


A last word of thanks goes to those oblates who have volunteered their time and talent to help the community.  These include our lectors at Mass, those who have worked on the outdoor Way of the Cross and assisted at the Abbey Farms, the group pledging their help with the outdoor Christmas Nativity Scene, and those who have aided in publishing our new brochure.  May the Lord bless and reward you for your efforts.


Fr. Joel Rippinger, OSB

Oblate Director






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