Director's Letter

February 10, 2015

Feast of St. Scholastica


Dear Oblates,


The spiritual bond of Saints Benedict and Scholastica is one that extends far beyond their ties of blood.  They seem to personify a type in the history of Christian spirituality that honors the complementary qualities of male and female, the animus and anima, that are so crucial for making a contribution to our full humanity.  At a time when gender differentiation is seen as politically incorrect and the valued gifts of men and women need more than ever to work in tandem, the spiritual bond of Benedict and Scholastica deserves to be acknowledged and celebrate.  So much of the success of Benedictines in the United States has been a result of the constant cooperation between houses of Benedictine men and women, often working in close proximity to one another.  On this day I often say a prayer of thanks to God for the parents of Benedict and Scholastica, two people who must have left a striking model of holiness to their children.


In speaking of the value of men and women called by God, I should make mention of how the Abbey community on Feb. 2 hosted a group of men and women religious from the area for Mass and a luncheon in the Abbey refectory.  Abbot John presided and preached and there were about twenty religious present.  Then on Feb. 7 a number of monks travelled to Rockford to the Monastery of the Poor Clares for Mass, presided by Bishop Malloy.  There was a luncheon afterward at St. Peter’s Cathedral. 


Other monks have been traveling as well.  Fr. Charles has been in Florida, Arizona and California in past weeks visiting Marmion alumni and benefactors for Advancement purposes.  Abbot Vincent and Abbot John were in Alabama last week for the annual Abbots’ meeting.  Fr. Marcos and I accompanied Marmion and Rosary students to Washington. D.C. for the annual March for Life last month (where we were joined by Br. Theodore).


The Church takes time on February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, to intercede for all the sick. Please continue to keep in your prayers the infirm of the Abbey: Abbot David in St. Patrick’s Residence in Naperville, Fr. Mario and Brother Jude, both “homebound” with limited mobility, Fr. Basil, recently diagnosed with spinal stenosis, Br. Peter, who had recent surgery for the removal of a gall bladder and hernia, and Fr. Marcos, who suffered a recent fall and injured his shoulder.  Remember too the mothers of Tom Mulligan and Abbot John, both in declining health.


I want to alert and invite our oblates to a number of spiritual opportunities during Lent.  On Feb. 25-26, the Marmion Academy Mothers Prayer Group will have their annual Lenten retreat at Nazareth Retreat Center in Batavia (7:00-9:00 p.m. 2/25 and 9:00-11:00 a.m. on 2/26).  The Marmion Alumni Association is sponsoring a Day of Recollection at the Academy on Saturday, March 21, from 8:30 am-1:00 pm.  The presenter is Fr. Brendan Lupton, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago.  Further information can be found on the Academy website and  In conjunction with the Academy, we are also offering monthly talks on Catholicism in the Koch Theater.  Please see the website of the Academy to find more information on these.


On the subject of Lent, Bona Opera forms will be available to those attending the Oblate meeting on Feb. 15.  Those who cannot make the meeting and would like a form should contact me.  For our meeting on Feb. 15 we will gather in the Day Room for lectio divina at 2:30.  I ask that you bring your Scriptures for this.  We will have a Business Meeting in the Library at 3:30, followed by a presentation on Lenten devotions.


Looking at our meetings for the upcoming months, they will coincide with the third Sunday of the month: March 15, April 19 and May 17.

As we approach Ash Wednesday on Feb. 18 let us heed the teaching of St. Benedict in his Rule and anticipate the gift of the Lenten season with the joy of the Holy Spirit.


Fr. Joel Rippinger, OSB

Oblate Director





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