Three New Postulants

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Happy Feast of St. Benedict!

This wonderful feast day is a particularly joyous occasion today as we receive three new members into the monastery. Cole (from Beloit, KS), Casey (from O’Neill, NE), and Gregory (San Luis Obispo, CA) entered the monastery this morning as postulants. Please keep these men in your prayers as they begin their monastic formation.

Below: Somehow I talked them into a jumping photo before their entrance- that or they were so joyful and excited that they couldn’t contain themselves.

Below: The three men knock on the monastery door to request entrance.

Below: Abbot Benedict welcomes them and instructs them in what they are doing, namely, seeking God.

Below: Novicemaster Fr. Xavier, Br. Luke, and Socius Br. David, along with the other juniors wait patiently in the hallway for their arrival.

Above: Abbot Benedict offers them their final instruction and turns them over to the care of the Novicemaster.
Below: Fr. Xavier and the juniors greet the three new postulants.

Please keep these men in your prayers!

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Summer Program

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The reason I haven’t posted any new blogs for the past few weeks is because I have been away from the monastery. On June 10th I headed to Creighton University in Omaha to begin a 4 week summer program in Spirituality. I am taking six credit hours toward a Master’s in Christian Spirituality. It took a few days to get adjusted to a new environment and intensive graduate class work. I am halfway through the program and I look forward to returning to the monastery in two weeks.

Enjoy these pictures of Creighton’s campus.




I couldn’t be away from the monastery and in a new area without bringing my bike with me to go exploring. There are numerous trails that I can access near the Missouri river, just a couple miles from Creighton’s campus. I have enjoyed seeing some of these capturing these pictures while out on my bike.

The First Days of June

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On Sunday I took Brothers Michael, David, Luke, Matthew, and Novice Walter to Lake Mozingo for the afternoon. Casey, a young man who will enter the monastery in July, also joined us. We spent the time playing volleyball, kickball, and visiting with one another on a beautiful day. Brs. Luke and Matthew went swimming for a while. The outing was primarily for the three junior monks, a little way to celebrate and enjoy one another’s company during the summer.

The highlight of the afternoon was going to Dairy Queen for ice cream on our way back to the Abbey.

Last week there was a rather strong thunderstorm, which took down a large limb from one of the trees in St. Michael’s plaza.

Below: Br. Blaise, Fr. Daniel, and Fr. Victor at recreation.

Below: Fr. Victor, Br. Anselm and I had a board game night and played Mechs vs. Minions, a new game that Br. Anselm received as a gift from his friend. We enjoy playing board games on occasion.

Oklahoma Visit

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I was asked to attend the diaconate ordination of one of our alumni, James Porter III, who is a seminarian for the Diocese of Tulsa, my home diocese. It was going to be a quick trip to Oklahoma, departing last Friday morning and returning Saturday evening, but I was looking forward to seeing my friends in the diocese.

On Friday I made to Stillwater (my hometown) in order to concelebrate Mass at my home parish. A new St. Francis Xavier Church was recently constructed and it was dedicated in March 2018. It is quite an amazing church from an architectural standpoint alone (as you can see below).


I joined our new pastor, Fr. Brian O’Brien for Mass on Friday.

Before the ordination in Tulsa on Saturday morning, I was able to visit with many more priest friends and alumni of Conception Seminary College, including Fr. Gary Kastl. Fr. Gary was a senior at CSC when I first entered seminary as a sophomore. I hadn’t seen Fr. Kastl in several years, so it was nice to catch up.

Notre Dame Trip

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Last Friday I traveled to South Bend, Indiana to the campus of the University of Notre Dame. I spent the weekend attending the graduation festivities of Gregory, one of the three men who is planning on entering this monastery this July. Though the weather was not the greatest (it was overcast and rained part of the time), it was still a wonderful and joyful weekend.

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Commencement was Sunday morning in the Notre Dame football stadium.
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Below: After the celebrations on Sunday I went to our daughterhouse in Benet Lake, Wisconsin to meet with two other vocation candidates. While I was there I flew the drone to capture some aerial photos of the place. Even though it was still overcast, it’s a beautiful place right near the lake.

Bible Study Retreat

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On Sunday afternoon I invited several of the college students from my Wednesday Bible Study to come to the Abbey for a few hours for fellowship and some time to pray at the end of an academic year. The group all graduated from the local high school in Conception Junction within the past 4 years and have known one another for most of their lives. We had Bible Studies every Wednesday evening throughout most of the semester in Maryville, where I help out at the Newman Center at Northwest Missouri State University.

The weather was absolutely beautiful and it was a good time for them to disconnect from their phones and be with one another. After beginning the afternoon with prayer in the Abbey Basilica, we played a few different games.

Below: The opening activity was a few rounds of “Bunco”- a simple dice game that served as an ice breaker.

For a good part of the afternoon, we played volleyball. Fr. Guerric and Fr. Victor joined us for multiple games in St. Michael’s Gymnasium. Before Vespers, they had the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and quiet reflection time to walk campus by themselves before joining the monks for Evening Prayer. Supper and a Bible Study followed. We looked at the first chapter of Acts of the Apostles and talked about Jesus’ Ascension and the promise of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The group joined the monks for Night Prayer and one last game (see below) in the meeting room. Our day together concluded with sharing the challenges and blessing of the past semester and how Jesus is inviting us to be witnesses to the world.

Adventures in Bicycling

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On Saturday, seminarian John Paul Hartnedy (Diocese of Little Rock) and I headed out on a little biking pilgrimage. Our plan was to ride the Wabash Trace Nature trail from Blanchard, Iowa to Imogene, Iowa and visit St. Patrick’s Church in Imogene. The monks have been reading the history of the Diocese of Des Moines in the monastery refectory and we heard about the beauty of the church in Imogene and a bit of its history. Since I knew that Imogene was on the trail, I was just waiting for a nice Saturday to get out for a few hours.

Packed and ready to go in Blanchard at 9:15 AM.

We arrive at St. Patrick’s in Imogene just before noon (about 30 miles into the ride).

See below– the historic church (in a town with a population of 67 people) is absolutely stunning!
Above: Side altar dedicated to St. Joseph.

After taking time to pray at St. Patrick’s church, we headed south back to Shenandoah to find lunch. We were hungry and our legs were tired, which made this pizza the best I’ve tasted in years!

Below: John Paul enjoys his slice of pizza pie.

Below: Just one of the many nice bridges along the way.

We returned to Blanchard around 4:00 in the afternoon after biking 62 miles. It was a good trail ride to open the year.

Blanchard, Iowa is right on the Missouri-Iowa state-line, so we had to make sure we made it a two-state biking trip.

Signs of Spring

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These late days of April are beginning to feel more like spring. The magnolias are beginning to bloom, or what survived of them. The seminarians have only a couple weeks of school left before Graduation weekend, May 12-13.


On Wednesday I visited with a couple of different youth groups. The first included the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade boys and girls from the Catholic school in Creston, Iowa. My classmate, Fr. Ken Halbur, is pastor there and he asked me to welcome the group and take the time to talk to them about monastic life and answer questions before they attended Mass. After lunch we gathered for a group picture in front of the Basilica.

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Later that evening, after I had celebrated Mass at the Newman Center in Maryville, I returned to the Abbey to visit with the high school CCD group from Conception Junction. One of the seminarians invited them for a tour of campus, camp fire (with s’mores), and night prayer.



Below are some other assorted pictures from campus as we finally see signs of spring.


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