Sunday, November 29, 2009

Exhibition of Art Works of the Monks

From November 15- December 12, 2009, art works by the monks of the abbey are on display at the Miriam Hall Art Gallery at Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA. The gallery is open at the following times:

Miriam Hall Art Gallery Hours: November 15-December 12, 2009
Monday-Friday: 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. -4:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 2:00 p.m. -4:00 p.m.
(Gallery will be closed Wednesday, November 25 through Sunday, November 29)
Saturday, December 11: 10:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 12: 2:00 p.m. -6:00 p.m. (final day)

Items on display include watercolor, tempera, gouache, collage, pottery, photography, and hand-painted icons. A catalog of the works can be found here. Thumbnails of the works begin on p. 6 of the catalog. The gallery is located at 50 Sunset Lane, Paxton, MA. For directions click here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Concert with the Bel Canto Choir of Anna Maria College

On Sunday afternoon, members of the Abbey Schola performed a concert of Medieval and Renaissance choral music with the Bel Canto Choir of Anna Maria College at the Worcester Art Museum in the beautiful Renaissance Court, which houses several splendid mosaics of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, most notably the Hunt mosaic, which covers about 500 square feet of floor space.

Throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance composers used the chant of the Church's liturgy as a foundation for their compositions. The pieces of the program were chosen to illustrate the influence of chant on liturgical music from some of the earliest Christian monophonic chants, the Ambrosian chant of Milan, to late Renaissance five-voice polyphony based on Gregorian chant.

Opera singer and friend of the abbey, Peter Campbell, also sang with the choir and performed a solo rendition of A madre do que Livrou, from the Cantigas de Santa Maria compiled by the Spanish king Alphonso X. He was accompanied by Jamie Thiesing on violoncello.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Snow comes early to the Abbey

Community members were surprised to find gentle snow flurries falling when they emerged from the church after Vigils this morning. By the time Mass was over about 7 AM, the grass, trees and buildings were covered with a thin layer of snow. By late morning the sun had melted it away. Nevertheless, we've had our first taste of winter already in mid-October!

The shot above is of the verbinum outside the "cottage", which is the former farmhouse now used as a place to stay for our candidates.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Canonization of Br. Rafael Arnaiz Baron

Today is a special day for our community and Order because this morning in Rome the Church celebrated the canonization of our fellow Trappist Br. Rafael Arnaiz Baron. Br. Rafael was born April 9, 1911, in Burgos, Spain and died at the Cistercian monastery of San Isidoro de Duenas on April 26, 1938. A brief biography can be found at our Order's website, or watch a video on YouTube. For more information on Br. Rafael  there is the book God Alone: A Spiritual Biography of Blessed Rafael Arnaiz Baron (Monastic Wisdom Series).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Br. Robert takes care to keep kindled his fire of incense as the lazy smoke beatifies sunlight streaming through stained glass windows.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The world is the gift of God. We must know how to perceive the giver through the gift. More precisely, since the time of the incarnation, the Passion and Easter, we can see the earth as an immense memorial, the tomb/womb in which Christ was buried and to which he gave resurrected power through the power of his own resurrection ... The Word both hides and reveals himself in visible forms as much as in the words of Scripture.

- Olivier Clement

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Brother Vincent Rogers ... The community's newly ordained deacon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Eucharistic Adoration on the Feast of Corpus Christi

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Our two juniors, Brothers Simeon and Jonah returned home last week from the annual Junior Seminar for the Order's simply professed monks and nuns of the North American region. This year's Seminar was held at St. Benedict's monastery in breathtaking Snowmass, Colorado. The community of Snowmass welcomed the twenty-five juniors wholeheartedly, giving generous witness to monastic hospitality at it's best. The themes of the presentations were: 1) The relationship between Lectio Divina and the Liturgy 2) The monk as "disciple", and 3) The Science of Love. Precious opportunities abounded for bonds to be made and friendships to be established between the juniors. A full schedule of classes, a wide range of extra-curricular activities (hiking, volleyball, mountain biking) and fabulous meals enjoyed together along with rich conversation, provided ample occasions for getting to know one another. The sharing of each person's unique vocational story, formation experiences, insights and struggles, were, for many, the heart and soul of the 2009 Seminar.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Solemn Profession of Sr. Maria Kim ocso - April 15, 2009

You have seduced me, O Lord, and I let myself be seduced.

Jer. 20:7

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Light's glittering morn bedecks the sky,
Heaven thunders forth its victor cry:
The glad earth shouts its triumph high,
And groaning hell makes wild reply.

While he the King of glorious might
Treads down death's strength in death's despite,
And trampling hell by victor's right,
Brings forth his sleeping saints to light.

Hell's pains are loosed, and tears are fled;
Captivity is captive led;
The angel crowned with light, has said,
'The Lord is risen from the dead.' "
-Latin hymn
Fifth century

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"In the crucified Christ forgiveness is offered and life is given. For humanity it is no longer a matter of fearing judgement or of meriting salvation, but of welcoming love in trust and humility."
-Olivier Clement

"It was necessary for us that God should take flesh and die so that we might have new life ... Nothing can equal the miracle of my salvation; a few drops of blood redeem the whole universe."
-Gregory Nazianzen

Monday, April 6, 2009

"One who has surrendered to it knows that the way ends on the Cross -- even when it is leading through the jubilation of Gennesaret or the triumphal entry into Jerusalem."
-Dag Hammarskjold

Monday, March 30, 2009

She did not cry, 'I cannot, I am not worthy,'
nor, 'I have not the strength.'
She did not submit with gritted teeth,
raging, coerced.
Bravest of all humans,
consent illumined her.
The room filled with its light,
the lily glowed in it,
and the iridescent wings.
courage unparalleled,
opened her utterly.
From the poem "Annunciation" by Denise Levertov

Monday, March 23, 2009

"If there are artisans in the monastery, they are to practice their craft with all humility, but only with the abbot's permission." -from the Rule of St. Benedict

"Only if the brothers prefer nothing whatever to Christ will the brothers be happy to persevere in a life that is ordinary, obscure, and laborious." -from the Constitutions of the Monks

Brother Gabriel (2nd from top) and Father Isaac's (top) dedicated passion to creating fine works of pottery has been a labour of love now for over twenty years. The wood-fired downdraft kiln (bottom) they designed and built a few years ago yields on average, two to three hundred pieces per firing. The photograph taken of the "Klimtarion" 19" vase* has become a popular image these days down at the Abbey Gift Shop where it graces our potters' new business cards. The Abbey Gift Shop, situated to the right of the main entrance road to the monastery, displays and sells a wide variety of Gabriel and Isaac's pottery - powerful testaments to the beauty that is born from lives lived in simple fidelity to work and prayer.

*Photo credit Br. Emmanuel ocso, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

As the snow continues to fall upon winter-frozen land, signs of new life no longer remain buried beneath the ground. Springs early aspirations break the earth's restraints, refusing to be held back from the growing light that draws it. As we move more deeply into the heart of the Lenten season, the early emergence of such flowers is a fitting reminder for our hearts to strain and stretch; to reach ahead with ever greater faith and hope. For they point to and proclaim the promised Easter Bloom and beg us not to doubt God's utter faithfulness steadfastly building to burst forth and embrace us in the triumphant joy of our Lord's Resurrection.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

As the 40-day Lenten journey to Easter commences with the recieving of ashes on Ash Wednesday, we are reminded that no authentic return to God begins with us. For it is God who first comes to us through His Son, and it is God who's loving mercy forgives us our sin and opens the door to the freedom of new life in Him - to a deeply fulfilling and intimate relationship with Him. It is God who desires and initiates this and it is God who invites us to respond. What we are primarily called to do then is to get out of our own way, so-to-speak, and allow God to retake the lead in our lives once again; to recieve Him as our True Vine and reaccept ourselves as His cherished branches ... no matter how far or how often we have gone astray.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

For over fifteen centuries now, the Rule of St. Benedict has provided to countless monks a powerful time-tested guide to living the apostolic life in Christ in a profoundly unique and intimate way. The opening words of its Prologue attest to the loving intention and sincere concern of its author: "Listen carefully, my son, to the master's instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice." With the Rule and an abbot to govern them, the monasteries endeavor to become "schools of the Lord's service" ... communities where, by God's grace, charity is grown and cultivated. St. Benedict's gaze stretches forth like a watchman from the stained glass window which overlooks the Abbey's barn chapel.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nestled in the heart of the enclosure, our candidate's cottage offers to men who might be considering a vocation to the monastic life, a precious place of solitude for prayer and discernment with ample opportunities to experience the life and meet some of the monks. Our vocations director is always nearby and readily available to meet with and listen to those who find themselves feeling an attraction to this way of life. For those who might be interested in arranging to make a visit, our Abbey website (accessed by the link to the right) provides contact information. Current dates and information about our next "monastic experience weekend" can also be found there.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How many monks does it take to remove the abbey's Advent wreath? On this occasion the answer was: Close to a dozen. Weighing well over a hundred pounds, the wrought-iron candle holder, garnered with pines and ribbons during the Advent and Christmas season, remains a fixture in the abbey church until just after the Feast of the Presentation (February 2nd) - the last time it sees its candles lit. Usually a day or two later, after the brothers finish praying the Office of None, many stay close by and lend a helping hand before heading off to their daily afternoon work.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When the winter storms just keep on coming, and the landscapes continue to be blanketed by snow, the monks daily rhythm is often slightly altered. Nature beckons crews of monks to assemble and begin the large task of snow removal oftentimes well before dawn. After the early morning Office of Vigils comes to a close, shovels, snow blowers and plows commence to move into action. It's a team effort to get the roads, walking paths, and doorways cleared, but the monks pitch in with great fervor to offer this form of hospitality to one another, and to their retreatants, pilgrims, and faithful guests who make the drive up to attend the Offices or Mass in the visitors side chapels.

Friday, January 23, 2009

In addition to participating in the regular daily Mass, the monks gather seven times each day to chant the sacred liturgical Offices - offering praise and thanksgiving on behalf of the entire Church.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The first Sunday of every month, referred to as "Retreat Sunday", is a day when the monks participate in and appreciate a heightened climate of silence and prayer. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed upon the altar from the office of None until the Benediction service at the end of Vespers. On these days monks kneel in pairs before the sacramental presence of the Lord and the whole community is called to pray in a special way for vocations to the monastic life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Christmas season wouldn't have been complete without the monks annual visit to their Trappistine sisters at Wrentham. After beginning their day by joining together for the celebration of Mass, the communities sat down to enjoy an atmosphere of fine food and conversation. Later on came the warm and always fun-filled exchanging of gifts between the Abbot and Abbess, afternoon prayer, and a chance to taste samples of Wrentham's own best-selling chocolate. Perhaps the gift that was most enjoyed this year came when a small group of talented nuns put on an original theatrical show for all to watch. Presented in four parts, the performance portrayed the life, death, and resurrection of the Apostle Paul through dance in a most creative way.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Their Christmas joy was still in abundance when the monks came together for their annual New Years celebration to give thanks for 2008 and to welcome in 2009. The brothers capped off the night's festive meal by sharing with one another their many diverse musical talents. Highlighted by a very special perfomance from their Vietnamese brothers - the harmonious singing of three lovely Vietnamese Christmas songs - the evening was one the monks will remember for a long time to come.