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Last year I was assigned to head a team to look at renovating our “Alumni Union.” It is the space in St. Maur Hall where the seminarians congregate regularly when they are looking to relax, interact with one another, and just hang out. Additionally, the Union offers snacks and beverages to purchase. It is one of the more popular places for them to hang out on a Friday evening.
After getting three seminarians on the team to help brainstorm and access the needs of the students and the use of the space, we devised a questionnaire to ask the seminarians why they go to the Union and what they would like to see change.
After gather the information and results from the questionnaire, I called upon my talented sister-in-law to help with the design ideas. My sister-in-law, Paige, is the owner of an excellent Interior Design business in Oklahoma City, called A-Line Designs. I knew she would be very helpful in the planning process and assisting with a new design. She and her team were wonderful and got the project moving in the right direction.
Below you can see pictures of what the Alumni Union looked like before the most recent renovation.
A-Line Designs worked up a few designs and sent them our way.
The renovation began in November 2016 and was complete in early-January 2017. The seminarians now have a new look to their favorite space. Many minds and hands went into making this vision a reality, including A-Line Designs, many of our employees, and Wiederholt Construction. Hopefully this space will serve us well for years to come!
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The new crucifix which was hand carved specifically for the monastery dining room was mounted on Tuesday. The monastic community gathered for the blessing of this crucifix before supper. Abbot Gregory blessed the crucifix which all of the monks will look upon whenever we gather in the dining room. It is situated between a mural of Martha serving Jesus at table and one from of the life of St. Benedict.
The crucifix was hand carved by a man in the Philippines and has beautiful detail and craftsmanship. The monks are grateful to have this important sign of our faith added to the newly renovated monastery.
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On Sunday we invited our donors and benefactors to join us for Mass, a banquet, and an open house and tour of the newly renovated monastery. Many local friends from around the Abbey were also invited to take a look at our new house. The Basilica was completely filled with guests as we extended our hospitality and communicated our gratitude. Thank you!
Above: Guests even fill the north transept for overflow seating.
Below: Abbot Gregory is the principal celebrant and homilist.
Below: Monks were stationed in the various rooms on the first two floors of the monastery to offer information about the rooms.
Above: A tour of the sacristy with all of the accessories out on display.
Below: Br. Maximilian explains what goes on in the sacristy to guests.
Above: A future monk in a few years, perhaps?
Below: Brother Luke welcomes guests in the junior recreation room.
Above: Fr. Norbert walks with a group of guests.
It is been a busy week and I have not been able to get these pictures up sooner. As these warm summer days continue, the work outside the monastery goes on. The sidewalks are looking very nice and will serve the monks and our guests well for many years to come. On the south side of the monastery there is the addition of the patio area for the monastic community which we will be able to use during recreation and at other times.
June 25– We hosted our Benedictine friends from Missouri and Kansas for the blessing of the monastery. Abbot Gregory presided over the brief ceremony which took place in the monastery chapter room. It included a greeting, singing of a Psalm, reading, hymn, and blessing of the newly renovated monastery with holy water. Afterwards the Benedictine brothers and sisters from different communities, were invited to tour the first floors of the monastery and enjoy refreshments and conversation.
Below: Fr. Xavier (right) explains to Prior Jeremy (St. Benedict’s, Atchison) about how monasteries were built in the good ol’ days (or they were talking sports).
Below: Br. Maximilian shows one of the sisters (Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles) a picture of a monk’s room.
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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.
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.
Below: After supper, Br. Jacob, Postulant Luke, and Novice Eric take advantage of the nice and sunny day.
Below: Fr. Macario navigates the rough terrain on the west side of the monastery. Plenty of construction still going on!
Below: 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!
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.
Above: Frs. Victor and Guerric visiting before Compline.
Below: Frs. Xavier and Quentin take a stroll on the east side of the monastery.
Below: Br. Blaise and Archbishop Jerome survey the work on the sidewalks.
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.
Above: Br. Michael works on the stenciling that continues around the entirety of the chapter room above the columns.
Above: Workers brought in a large crane to left some of the heating and cooling equipment (don’t ask me exactly what it is).
Above: West side of the monastery
Above: Monastery entrance, foyer
Above: Monastery courtyard with new sidewalk
Below: Monastery refectory, with murals covered so that they can be preserved.
Below: Glass hallway leading into the Basilica
Below: New stairwell on the northwest corner of the monastery, near the Basilica entrance.
Below: Worker’s room on the monastery 4th floor, what will soon be the Novicemaster’s room.
Above: Monastery front porch.
Above: New garage