In Flight

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A few evenings ago, I took to the skies with the aerial drone to capture some beautiful pictures of campus. The generous rains have kept everything nice and green. Br. Etienne used the camera to take pictures of the drone in the air. It’s a pretty awesome invention.

Enjoy the pictures!IMG_5753IMG_5752

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Monastic Recreation

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During these beautiful summer months the monks go outside after supper as a community. Many times we simply sit outside or walk around the sidewalk and enjoy one another’s company. It is a time to relax, let the food digest, before we return to the Basilica for Compline, our final prayer of the evening.

Here are a few pictures of the monks during the recreation period.

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Picturesque II

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The past few weeks have been very busy. I helped out with the Companion Camp Reunion, then departed for Wichita and Oklahoma City to visit a monastic vocation guest and attend the priesthood ordination as the seminary representative for alumnus John Paul Lewis. The monks have 14 days of vacation each year, so I spent a week with my parents and had an enjoyable and relaxing time. Today I will head to Pennsylvania to attend the wedding of a friend. I did my theology studies in Latrobe, PA and was assigned to Sts. John and Paul parish in Wexford, PA. I made many friends during my year as a deacon as I was formed in such a positive way by that parish. It is always a great experience to go back and visit them. I will celebrate two or three Masses there this weekend.

Here are some of the photos from the past week or so. Br. Etienne has been helping share the photo taking while I have been away. Some of the photos below are mine and some are his. The weather has been warm, but we have received some generous rain lately to keep everything green. Peace and blessings!

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Glass Work

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I was back in the stained glass shop last week working on a couple of projects. I paused from the windows that I am working on in the monastery in order to work on a personal project. I made a design for the half circle window opening in my monastery room. The top of most windows in the renovated monastery has a 26.5″ wide and 12.5″ tall semi circle. I recently acquired glass from a shop in St. Joseph, Missouri, so that I could work on this project.

Take a look at the progress. Above: The design worked up in Adobe InDesign.
Below: Beginning the assembly (the “rays” are a clear, frost-like glass pattern).
    Below: My project for the monastery chapter room is in progress.

Companion Camp Reunion

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A Benedictine monastery and a seminary college is an important place for high school boys to visit. A positive experience at such an impressionable age, even if only for the weekend, lends the opportunity to strengthen a young person’s faith and help cultivate and sustain their relationship with God. I know this because I have seen it happen year after year. That is the reason I have willingly subjected myself to weeks of planning and a tiring weekend of energetic campers and activities.

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This past weekend was the 19th year for Conception Seminary’s Companion Camp. But, this year was a bit different. For years we have welcomed 6th, 7th, and 8th grade boys for a weekend camp focused on faith, fun, and fellowship. We have also invited high school boys to come and help out as part of the camp staff and serve as role models for the campers. Throughout the years, the attendance varied between 30 to 80 campers. In recent years, however, many dioceses have begun their own summer camps, which often conflicted with the scheduled dates for Companion Camp. Seminarians who were normally free to come and assist with our weekend camp were sometimes not available because of camp duties in their home diocese.

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The Director of Admissions for Conception Seminary College typically assumes the responsibility for Companion Camp. Brother Luke, having professed monastic vows on August 15, 2015, was assigned to this role as his first year in the Admission’s Office. When the future of Companion Camp came into question, Brother Luke did not want to see the event simply disappear. For the past two years, he, too, witnessed the excitement of our high school staff for whom camp had become their annual summer tradition. Brother Luke’s idea was to have this year’s camp specifically for the high school staff who have been so dedicated to attending camp and helping out—some participating for as many as 6 or 7 years.

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The high school boys arrived Friday afternoon and stayed through Sunday lunch. The weekend was filled with many of the familiar activities of previous camps— individual and group challenges, board games, ice breakers, and their favorites: dodgeball and an epic water balloon battle.

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The smaller group of eleven high schoolers and a few monks, allowed for more flexibility with the schedule and the activities. Father Brendan, the President-Rector of Conception Seminary College, met a couple times with the group to teach them lectio divina. They joined the monks for prayer regularly and, on Saturday evening, there was a Holy Hour and the Sacrament of Reconciliation was available. We wanted them to deepen their relationship with Christ. That would be the best gift we could possibly give them for the weekend.

 

Two seminarians who are working on campus this summer were able to share their vocation stories and answer the questions that the high schoolers had about seminary life. Some of the young men said they have considered the priesthood and they are trying to discover God’s will in their lives. It was especially important for them to interact with the seminarians and monks, meeting and hearing the stories of men who are striving to respond to God’s call daily.

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We hope to welcome more young people to campus to experience the peaceful environment, prayer with the monastic community, and fellowship with one another. Next summer, Father Brendan intends to host a weeklong conference, One Bread, One Cup, at Conception Abbey and Seminary College. High school students and college age men and women will be welcomed to enter into the rich tradition of Benedictine prayer and spirituality. We are very excited about extending such an invitation to our former-campers.
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Continuing Education 

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Br. Jonathan, R.N., Br. Maximilian, C.N.A. and staff members from our Infirmary & Our Lady Rickenbach (Benedictine Sisters of Clyde) took part in a workshop on “Dealing With Difficult Personalities in the Health Care Setting.”  The session took place in the conference room of St. Gabriel Guest House on the north campus this afternoon.  The presenter was Michele Hinds Ph.D., R.N., C.N.E., the Associate Professor of Nursing, Benedictine College.

Br. Jonathan and Br. Maximilian are work and care for our elderly and infirmed monks in St. Stephen’s Infirmary. Our oldest monk, Fr. Anthony, will be 95 years old in August and professed monastic vows in 1940!

  
  

Picturesque

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These past 10 days or so have been absolutely beautiful. It has been sunny and in the 70’s and 80’s. It is certainly a good start for the summer. By the end of the week, it will be into the 90’s.

The seminarians have been away for a few weeks. Three of them returned this week to do some work around campus for the next month. The shift to the summer schedule has been pleasant. The monks have had enjoyable and relaxing time in community. Br. Etienne (pictured below) and I have been spending most evenings biking, going for quick 15 mile rides. Yesterday evening, despite the strong south wind, we set our fastest time so far.

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Below are a few of the scenery pictures feature on Conception Abbey’s Facebook page as the “Photo of the Day.” These pictures show how beautiful and green things are this time of year.

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Stained Glass Window Installed

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I learned how to make stained glass windows while I was studying theology in preparation for the priesthood in St. Vincent’s in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. It was an interest and a hobby that I did on the side between studying for classes. I made a few windows, but nothing spectacular, mainly gifts for family and friends.

The renovation of the monastery, offered the opportunity to add some new artwork in the monastery, especially work done by the monks themselves. I expressed interest in making a series of windows for the monastery Mass chapel and the chapter room. We acquired the necessary supplies and Br. Michael and I worked on the design and colors to use.

I have spent the last several months assembling the window, little by little. It involves several processes, but it is enjoyable and relaxing work. I finished my first window in April and took it to Olathe, Kansas for a company to encapsulate it in glass in the window. A couple of weeks ago, the first window was installed into the monastery Mass chapel. The window is compromised of two panels that measure approximately 20 inches wide and 22 inches tall. I will complete four more panels and two more windows in the near future.

Below: Last week it was a great privilege to have Br. Mark Florenini, my stained glass teacher and monk of St. Vincent Archabbey, visiting for a few days. We spent one afternoon starting and working together on another window.

Below: The final and installed product.

Clyde by Air

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The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri (just two miles down the road) asked me to do some aerial photography and videography with the aerial drone. I had been wanting to take pictures of their beautiful grounds. They have a nice community and many extraordinary buildings. Enjoy these pictures from the air.DCIM100MEDIADJI_0122.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0147.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0144.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0139.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0126.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0152.JPG

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