The weather has been beautiful this week and the sun finally broke through the clouds today to unveil some vibrant colors. Just during this week we have seen a remarkable difference with the amount of foliage on the trees. We still have a ways to go, but spring is off to a great start. This week’s forecast calls for highs in the 70’s and 80’s.
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We’re back in the Monastery!
The monastic community made the move on Monday, June 15th. While much of the work occurred on that day, there is still plenty of moving and cleaning going on. Everyone is adjusting well to a familiar environment with a completely new look.
Workers still roam the hallways giving necessary attention to touch-up work here and there, and probably many technical issues that I admit are beyond my competency. The basement and the 4th floor still need a fair amount of work, but the residence floors (2nd and 3rd) and the common rooms (1st floor) are finished. It will take some time to work out a few of the minor issues, but the monastery is comfortable, and most importantly, safe. We are especially grateful to all of our friends and benefactors who have supported us throughout this renovation. We look forward to welcoming you into our home in the months ahead.
Above: Temporary nameplates adore the top of the doors. A more permanent fixture will be in place soon.
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Moving Day, also known as “Monday”, is quickly approaching. The monks are eager to settle into the newly renovated monastery. There are four “moving teams” assigned and each team will have ½ hour to move the effects of each monk from St. Joseph Hall to the monastery. Monks are asked to have their belongings boxed and ready to move at their assigned time.
Here are some of my most recent pictures of the monastery, taken Thursday afternoon. The monks were permitted to move some of their things over already.
Above and Below: Mass chapel with border detail shot.
Above and Below: Monastery dining room.
Below: Monastery coffee and mail room
Above and Below: Center stairwell and landing
Below: Monks’ rooms
Above and Below: First floor common rooms
Above and Below: New entrance/exit from northwest stairwell
Lastly, enjoy this time lapse I shot Wednesday afternoon.
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.
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.
Eric Kral and Joseph Fussner entered the novitiate today in a ceremony this afternoon in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Members of the community gathered for this joyful occasion, chanting verses of Psalm 84 as Br. Bernard, the Novicemaster, led the two novices-to-be to the altar, where they made their petition.
It has been a beautiful week of cooler temperatures in the 70’s. All of the monks have enjoyed it immensely. On this day nine years ago, I was received into the community as a postulant. I remember the feelings of excitement and of simply desiring to do what I thought God was asking me to do. It has been quite the journey.
I’ll recognize this day by adding some color to your screen. Enjoy these flowers taken around campus.
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Conception Seminary College hosts a come and see weekend for young men discerning a vocation to the priesthood. Encounter with God’s Call weekend occurs once in the fall semester and once in the spring. The participants hear a variety of talks about the joys and challenges of discernment and share their experiences in following Christ. They provide insight about seminary life and answer any questions the participants might have. There were close to 80 participants and over 100 total guests.
I was asked to hear confessions from 8:30pm-9:30pm on Saturday evening. Additionally, the young men had the option on Sunday afternoon of hearing my talk on “Monastic Life.” There were about 15 men who attended the talk and there was the opportunity for questions afterwards.
Below: Pictures from the different talks and speakers in a room full of participants, priests, and vocation directors.
Below: Opportunity for small group discussion with the seminarians.
Below: It would not be the complete Conception Seminary experience without athletics. Seminarians and retreat participants play basketball late into Saturday evening.
This posting was submitted by Br. Bernard Montgomery, O.S.B., a monk of Conception Abbey. Br. Bernard has several monastic job assignments, but he contributes this entry in his role as Abbey Archivist.
I became archivist of the Abbey in November of 2009. I am responsible for the day to day oversight and work of collecting and preserving. I also make available to others the materials that illustrate the history, lifestyle and activities of the monastery, its members, and those whom the monastery has served over the years in its schools, parishes and missions.
It is my duty to maintain a file on each professed member of the community which contains information concerning the monk’s background, his job assignments through the years, and records of major milestones in his life.
I respond to inquiries from people who are doing research on individual members of the community or who are, more typically, researching some aspect of the missionary work of the community. It has been a rewarding part of this assignment to assist others in these research efforts.
Happy Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
During these days of Christmas, many of the families of the monks have been visiting the Abbey and staying in our guesthouses.
Do the monks get to visit their families often?
Friends and family members are welcome to visit at almost any time during the year, but the monks themselves have a limited amount of days when they are permitted to take time for vacation. When one first enters the community as a “novice,” he does not have any days of vacation until he professes simple vows. While a monk is in simple vows (a.k.a. “junior monk”), he has one week of vacation for the year to spend with his family. In addition, he has one week of vacation that is spent with the other junior monks, usually referred to as, “juniorate vacation.” When a monk professes final vows, he has two weeks of vacation that can be used in no more than two segments throughout the year.
My parents have really enjoyed visiting the Abbey, getting to see me, join the monks for prayer, and visit with some of the other members of the community that they have come to know over the years. My Dad and Mom, younger brother, sister-in-law, and 2 year old nephew are visiting for the weekend. Here are a couple of pictures after Holy Family Mass. Yes, monks and priests, long before they enter a monastery, are born into families!