The workers are making lots of progress on the Infirmary addition. The framework for the chapel was built up during this past week. I decided to take some aerial photos of the progress to give an interesting perspective.
We continue to enjoy beautiful and sunny weather with just enough rain to keep everything green.
There are plenty of good things happening around the Abbey during this first week of June. For example, Br. Anselm received three queen bees in the mail for his beehives. I saw him walking back from the post office in front of the monastery, looking rather closely at the box he tore open. I just figured someone had sent him some chocolate and he was really hungry. But, instead, I saw a sight I’ve never seen. Bees shipped in the mail! Have a look yourself.
For several years Br. Anselm has been keeping bees on the Abbey property, but since he lost one of his hives during the winter, he is working to replace it and continue his work.
In other news, a seminarian who is working here this summer was flying a small drone (not the drone I fly) and he got it stuck in the tree outside the westside of the monastery. I called our friendly neighbor and electrician, Darrell Schieber, to see if he would retrieve it for us. Darrell gladly assisted, venturing up to the upper part of the large tree in his bucket lift and plucking it off the branch with his hand. It’s wonderful to know such good people.
Speaking of aerial photography, I took a few more beautiful pictures during sunset the other evening. We are having some gorgeous evenings.
I’ve been working on some videos lately, so be sure to check back to see some of the videos when I publish them.
I flew the drone on Wednesday to capture these beautiful pictures of the monastery.
One evening Fr. Etienne (just one week ordained) and I tested out a new board game the other evening: Forbidden Island. It is a 2-4 player cooperative game. There is one way to win, but four ways to lose! We ended up winning both times and determined that we really enjoy this game.
In the evenings I’m working on finishing up the last two stained glass windows for the monastery. They will be installed in the monastery chapter room. Take a look at the pattern and assembly process below.
Somehow we have found ourselves halfway through February. The past few weekends I have been helping out with retreats for college students, which have proven to be very enjoyable work. This weekend I’ll travel to visit a monastery vocation candidate. There has been strong interest in the monastery lately and I’m always eager to share the joys of monastic life with men who are seeking God’s will in their lives.
Abbot Primate Gregory has been back visiting the monastery since this past Wednesday. He was at the Abbey giving a weekend retreat that focused on the Call Narratives in Scripture. He will attend the Abbot’s Workshop in California before returning to Rome, Italy. It is always good to have him back home and to visit with him.
From Thursday of this week onward, we have projected highs in the 60’s for the temperature. It certainly makes me wonder what March will bring, but for the meantime, we will gladly take this beautiful weather.
The past few weeks have been filled with many activities. Most notably, the monastic community is preparing for the election of a new Abbot on November 22nd. Please pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we preparing for this exciting time in the life of our community.
The reason I have not been blogging as regularly is because we were working to transition our blog to our website, which was recently redone and updated. There will be many articles featured on Conception Abbey’s blog, which can be found here. I will probably contribute content from time to time on our official website’s blog. I appreciate your feedback and support of this blog, Listen, my Son.
On Tuesday, November 8th I was invited to talk about monastic life to the students at Kuemper Catholic High School in Carroll, Iowa. On Wednesday, November 9th, I traveled to Sioux City, Iowa to spend the day talking about monastic life to the students of Heelan Catholic High School in Sioux City, Iowa. Pictured with me is Fr. Shane Deman (Vocation Director of the Diocese of Sioux City) and Sr. Madeleine Miller, O.S.B. (Missionary Benedictines).
There are not many leaves left on the trees these days, but the weather still remains beautiful. We are expecting highs in the 70’s on Thursday before the temperatures start to drop off and it begins feeling more like mid-November.
As we entered into fall just a couple of weeks ago, we are experiencing some of the best days for the weather in Northwest Missouri. Temperatures have been cool in the morning and very pleasant during the day. There are also many activities going on this time of year, many guest groups visiting and enjoying the nice weather as well. This weekend is Family Weekend for Conception Seminary College- a time parents, grandparents, and siblings to visit the seminarians. The forecast is looking promising. Next weekend (October 14-16) is Board of Regents and also our Annual Thunder Cup Tournament (soccer and volleyball). I have been coaching the volleyball team and we are getting excited for the tournament. October 21-23 is our Monastic Experience weekend. We already have several vocation candidates planning to visit in the weeks ahead, both during that weekend and in the days leading up to it.
Abbot Gregory, Abbot Primate, alumni, Alumni Reunion, Benedictine, benedictine monks, catholic, Conception Abbey, Conception Seminary College, distinguished alumnus award, Eucharist, Keith Jiron, mass, Monastery, monastic life, monks, pictures, priesthood, religious life, seminarians, seminary, vocations
Mass for the Alumni Reunion was on Friday late afternoon and the principal celebrant was Abbot Gregory. This would be the last Mass he would celebrate in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception before he departed for Rome.
The prayers and readings focused on the theme of mercy as Abbot Gregory (below) delivers his homily.
Below: Alumnus Keith Jiron, who has served in lay ministry in the Catholic Church since he completed his Pre-Theology degree from Conception Seminary College received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Keith was joined by his wife Kate and their four sons.
Below: After Mass, the alumni gathered for a group photo in the nave of the Basilica.
There was a social in St. Michael’s Plaza following Mass, a time for seminarians, monks, and alumni to visit.
Sunday morning Abbot Gregory departed Conception Abbey. Please keep him in your prayers as he begins his assignment as Abbot Primate.
Abbot Gregory, Abbot Gregory Polan, Abbot Primate, Abbot Primate Gregory Polan, Benedictine, benedictine monks, catholic, church, Conception Abbey, Conception Missouri, home, Monastery, monastic life, monks, pictures, religious life, return, Rome, vocations
After being elected Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation on Saturday, September 10th, Abbot Gregory was set to return home to Conception Abbey last night. However, his flight out of Rome was delayed, so the original plan of welcoming him at 8:30 PM was pushed back to just before 11:00 PM Saturday evening. The Prior, Fr. Daniel, picked Abbot Gregory up from the airport.
Several of the monks and I stayed up well past our bed time because we wanted to greet and welcome the man who had served our community so faithfully for 20 years as abbot. We know that his few returning days among us are limited until he is set to return to Rome by October 1st to begin his 8 year term as Abbot Primate. While there is great joy in receiving the new Abbot Primate, there is also sadness in knowing that he is no longer Abbot of Conception Abbey.
A good and warm welcome calls for signs and decorations…
Above: Br. Luke worked on a nice balloon display, Br. Placid made Abbot Gregory popcorn, and many monks left cards expressing their appreciation and gratitude.
Below: I designed a sign featuring the churches from Conception and San Anselmo in Rome, which was placed on the door to his office.
Below: The parking spot upon their return was clearly marked for the Abbot Primate.
Below: The car pulled in just before 11:00 PM.
Above: Abbot Gregory, still looking sharp after overseas travels, flanked by Br. Anselm (sporting the painter’s pants) and Fr. Albert (going old school with the Companion Camp T-shirt, circa 2003).
Below: Abbot Gregory embraces his classmate, Fr. Albert.
Above and Below: Br. Maximilian greets Abbot Gregory in the monastery hallway.
Below: Abbot Gregory, worn out from traveling and what must have been two long and difficult weeks at the Abbot’s Congress is able to smile for the camera as he begins his transition and starts a new chapter in his life.
Monastic life forms strong bonds of fraternity founded in faith. While it is very joyful to have Abbot Gregory back for these 7-10 days, we realize that he will be departing to serve the Church miles away from Northwest Missouri. Our prayers are with him!
The past few days have been beautiful. Yesterday I flew the drone around to catch some of the sights of campus.
Fortunately I got those two pictures and many more taken before workers started demolition and construction on the front Basilica steps. This morning and afternoon a worker was tearing up the steps that had become damaged over the course of time and weather.