New Foundations


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It is community retreat week.  That means that all of the ‘monks on mission’ return and we have two spiritual conferences a day led by the retreat director.  This year’s director has been Abbot Peter Eberle.  Abbot Peter is the retired abbot of Mount Angel in Oregon.  He has been leading the monastic community through a variety of spiritual reflections and conferences on the Book of Sirach and the Rule of St. Benedict.  We have enjoyed his presence among us.

Above:  Abbot Peter gives an afternoon conference.

 After supper, Br. Jacob, Postulant Luke, and Novice Eric take advantage of the nice and sunny day.
 Fr. Macario navigates the rough terrain on the west side of the monastery.  Plenty of construction still going on!IMG_3538
  After supper, the monks take a tour of the monastery to see the progress. In less than one month we will return to our newly renovated home!IMG_3548IMG_3549IMG_3551IMG_3554

Below:  Earlier this week, construction workers started tearing up the sidewalks between St. Joseph and St. Michael’s Hall.  The sidewalks, which were in poor condition in areas, are being replaced.

 Frs. Victor and Guerric visiting before Compline.
Below:  Frs. Xavier and Quentin take a stroll on the east side of the monastery.IMG_3570
 Br. Blaise and Archbishop Jerome survey the work on the sidewalks.IMG_3576

Graduation Weekend


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Conception Seminary College Commencement & Honors Assembly was held Saturday afternoon.  Seminarians, monks, family, friends, and even some recent alumni were on hand for the joyful occasion.  Dr. Bill Brownsberger, Academic Dean, announced the student awards and academic scholarships for each class, including the recipients of the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges award.

Seminarian, Jerome Krug (Archdiocese of Oklahoma City), spoke on behalf of the senior class, sharing his reflection on “gratitude” during the past four years of his studies at Conception Seminary College.  Abbot Gregory and Fr. Samuel conferred the academic degrees.  There were 16 men receiving the Bachelor of Arts and one seminarian receiving the Bachelor of Philosophical & Theological Studies.

CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2015!IMG_3242 IMG_3247 IMG_3258 IMG_3268 IMG_3269 IMG_3350 IMG_3374 IMG_3404 IMG_3409 IMG_3437 IMG_3441

May Day


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It is a long Conception Seminary College tradition to have a day dedicated to athletic activities for the seminarians to compete–the blue team vs. the white team.  Even the oldest alumni have their memories of May Day- the sports, the fun, and the shenanigans the night before.

This year was no different.  While rainy weather was threatening for Thursday, the administration and the overwhelming seminarian majority decided:  Rain or shine, on with May Day.

The morning of May Day, as the sun is rising to bring light to campus, but also to the various pranks that were pulled in the cover of darkness.

Below:  St. Maur Hall received nice new decorations.  The inside of the building, between the two main doors, was completely filled with balloons.  Streamers also hung from the stairway, as well as a tentIMG_2279IMG_2277 IMG_2276

Below:  All were greeted with a look alike of the Director of the Wellness Program, Skip Shear.

Below:  One of the golf carts found its way on top of the dirt mound in on the east side of the monastery.  The mound is extra dirt from the monastery renovation. IMG_2275IMG_2274

Below:  The monks’ picture board gets new portraits of Minions!IMG_2273

Below:  The May Day morning and afternoon events.IMG_3026 IMG_3029 IMG_3030 IMG_3036 IMG_3040 IMG_3041 IMG_3042 IMG_3043 IMG_3049 IMG_3051 IMG_3052 IMG_3062 IMG_3064IMG_3074 IMG_3083 IMG_3088 IMG_3096 IMG_3098IMG_3103 IMG_3110
IMG_3132IMG_3195Above:  The activities concluded with the tug-of-war event.  Moments after the tug-of-war, as the teams are still gathered on their respective sides, a beautiful rainbow appears.


History of the Abbey Basilica


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I put together a video of the history of the Abbey Basilica for the feast of its Dedication.  I uploaded it on our Facebook page yesterday, but put it up on YouTube today.  Br. Cyprian, our Guestmaster, shares the history of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.  Enjoy this brief history of our beautiful church.

Page11Basilica 1946Basilica 1891 Basilica 1881_1
Basilica 1897-1
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Recent Stirrings


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Today we celebrate the anniversary of the Dedication of the Abbey Basilica.  The Basilica is the spiritual center of our campus, because it is where we give praise and worship to God.  All the work we do, in our many apostolates, draw strength from what we do six times a day in church.  To quote the Psalmist:  “If the Lord does build the house, in vain do its builders labor.”  May the Lord continue to bless all our endeavors!

Abbot Gregory presided at today’s Eucharist.  Normally we celebrate this feast day on May 10, but since May 10 was a Sunday of Easter, the feast was transferred to Monday, May 11.
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More big news in the seminary:

Conception Seminary College Appoints New Vice Rector-Dean of Students

Conception Abbey and Conception Seminary College announce the appointment of the Rev. Patrick York, to the position of Vice Rector-Dean of Students of Conception Seminary College. Father Patrick is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita in Kansas. He will take up his new responsibilities at Conception in August, succeeding the Rev. Donald Gibbs, O.S.B., who will be staying on as a spiritual director.

Father Patrick was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. He graduated from Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kansas, in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Minor in Vocal Music, and stayed on to work as the Assistant Director of Development for Benedictine College until July of 1985. From there he continued on to Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, graduating in 1990 with a Masters in Divinity. He has served in numerous parishes and positions throughout the Catholic Diocese of Wichita including: Associate Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi, Associate Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Pittsburg, Chaplain of St. Pius X Newman Center in Pittsburg, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Frontenac, Associate Director of Vocations, Pastor of St. Peter in Schulte, Pastor of the Church of the Magdalene, Chaplain of the Knights of the Holy Queen, Chaplain of the Wichita Fire Department, and Adjunct Professor at Newman University.

Congratulations, Fr. Pat!

Monastery Art: Part III


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The construction on the monastery is coming along rather nicely.  The art in the monastic refectory, chapter room, and hallways is serving to adorn the new space, making it a place which glorifies God through its beauty.

Br. Michael is coordinating the artistic efforts and finishing some of the work begun by the professional artists.

Below:  The refectory murals are restored and the new borders are in place.

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Above and Below:  Latin inscriptions above most of the doorways.  This one is in the monastic refectory.IMG_2821IMG_2485

Above and Below:  Mural of St. Benedict in the chapter room.IMG_2490 IMG_2491

Above and Below:  Mural of C in the chapter room.IMG_2494 IMG_2502

Above:  Br. Michael works on the stenciling that continues around the entirety of the chapter room above the columns.


Above and Below:  Detail shots of the design and the lettering.IMG_2511

Below:  Br. Anselm assists Br. Michael with the inscription above the recreation room doorway by serving as a “supervisor”IMG_2846

Rector’s Reception


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Yesterday afternoon seminarians, monks, and faculty gathered to honor and recognize Fr. Samuel’s many years of service at Conception Seminary College.  At the end of the semester, Fr. Samuel will finish his term as President-Rector, a role he began in 2007.  His years of work in priestly formation, however, began more than 30 years ago as he faithful filled the role of chaplain and Dean of Students.  Faculty and seminarians shared their memories and expressed their appreciation (often with a good bit of humor) as they spoke of Fr. Samuel’s significant influence in the seminary.  His work will change, but certainly not conclude at this point.                           

Abbey Trails


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Saturday morning we had the 20th annual Abbey Trails 5K run/2 mile walk.  This year’s event drew a slightly smaller crowd that previous years, probably mostly due to the weather.  The threat of rain may have discouraged casual participants from attending.  While it rained before and after the event, there was only a light rain during part of the event.

We had 69 runners in the 5K and 96 in the walk.  All the proceeds from the event benefit health and wellness initiatives on campus.

The best thing about our 2 mile walk is that winners are not based on speed, but on how closely they can predict their 2 mile walk time.  Each walker submits how fast he or she think they will walk the distance.  This year, the overall winner of the walkers was only 2 seconds off her prediction.

Click here for a full list of results

All participants were invited to the brunch and health fair after the race in St. Michael’s Gymnasium.  The winners of each age group were awarded their medals.

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Refectory Art: Part II

The monastic refectory has some new art on the east wall, which will be behind the head table.  Two Beuronese-style murals, in color, now complement the monochrome murals that were recently restored.  The refectory is turning out to be very beautiful and an appropriate communal gathering space.IMG_2371
 Restored monochrome murals IMG_2372 IMG_2373
Above and Below:  New murals- The overarching title for both murals is “Service and Contemplation” Martha and Mary with Jesus  (Martha serves bread at table; Mary listens to Jesus’ word) Romanus brings bread to St. Benedict in his cave at Subiaco (who is studying the scriptures)

Above and Below:  Br. Michael visits with one of the artists from Evergreene.IMG_2390 IMG_2417
 Fr. Samuel and Br. Jonathan admire the new art work.


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