From February 3rd to 6th, Abbot Christian attended the annual meeting of North American Benedictine abbots, held this year at Saint Bernard Abbey, Cullman, Alabama. There were twenty-five abbots present, coming from the United States, Mexico and Canada.
The topic of the two full days of lectures was “The Care of the Sick,” which is a special concern of Saint Benedict in his Rule for Monasteries, being the subject of chapter 36 of the Holy Rule.
At the same time the abbots met, about forty North American Benedictine Prioresses from the USA, Canada and Mexico gathered at Sacred Heart Monastery, a couple of miles from Saint Bernard Abbey.
The joint lectures, attended by abbots and prioresses on Saturday and Sunday and held at Saint Bernard Abbey, were given on Saturday by Br John Mark Falkenhain, OSB, of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana. He spoke on the topic of understanding mental health concerns and the discernment of candidates.
On Sunday the lectures were given by a panel from Mount Saint Scolastica Monastery, Atchison, Kansas, and consisted of Prioress Esther Fangman, OSB, and two health care providers from Saint Scholastica’s, Renee Porter and Stacey Handke. They spoke on the various needs and challenges of caring for elder members in our monasteries, including dementia, the dying process and the covid crisis.
All the abbots and prioresses attended Mass at Saint Bernard Abbey on Saturday and Sunday, and had some meals in common. On Sunday evening all attended Vespers and supper at Sacred Heart Monastery.
In addition to the valuable lectures given, the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with other leaders of Benedictine monasteries was a positive addition to the meeting in Alabama.
Today’s photo was taken inside the church at Saint Bernard Abbey, Cullman, Alabama.
Be assured of our prayers and please keep us in yours. Thank you.
Abbot Christian and the monks