New Superiors

Just before Christmas 2014 the monks of Digos Priory in the Philippines elected their new Conventual Prior: Fr Patrick Mariano. He is the first Filipino to lead the community, making his election a historic landmark for the monastery. Fr Patrick (b 1959) succeeds Fr Edgar Friedmann who was prior 2002-2014. Previously, Fr Patrick was subprior, novice master and director of the retreat center.

On December 5th 2014 the community of St Georgenberg-Fiecht in Austria has elected Fr Raphael Gebauer Prior Administrator of the abbey. He succeeds Abbot Anselm Zeller who had been abbot since 1996 and resigned on December 1st. Prior Raphal (b. 1958) served the community as bursar and novice master, and attended to the mountain shrine at St Georgenberg. Fiecht was founded in  1138 and joined the Congregation of Sankt Ottilien in 1967. The abbey maintains a missionary monk in Mbulu archdiocese in Tanzania and supports many other mission activities.

Monasteries Receive Refugees

As countless refugees from the Middle East and other trouble spots knock at the gates of Europe, our monasteries have decided to open their doors. Abbot Michael Reepen of Münsterschwarzach refers to a “a genuine monastery task” as his community prepares to receive 22 refugees in a converted former boarding house of the abbey. St. Ottilien Abbey plans to have space for a similar number ready in February of next year. St. Georgenberg-Fiecht in Austria has been sharing the abbey building for several years with a growing group of “unaccompanied minors” – young people who have reached Europe without their parents and whose care is entrusted to Caritas Austria. In this way the monks also fufill a request of Pope Francis who shortly after taking office had admonished the church to make surplus buildings available for those who have lost their homes.

Pope’s Visit to Korea

The visit of Pope Francis to South Korea 13-18 August 2014 has drawn worldwide attention to the agitated church history of this country. In a radio feature of the Bayerisscher Rundfunk Abbot Primate Notker and Abbot President Jeremias explain the role of the Benedictines in the evangelization of Korea.

Radio Feature

Congregation House renovated

The renovation of the Congregation House, seat of the Congregation offices at St. Ottilien, was finished in September 2014. The old procure building had been put up in 1972 following a decision of the general chapter. It needed re-roofing and new windows, re-wiring, a new entrance and some interior reconfiguration. It now houses the offices for the abbot preisdent, the Congregation procurator and the Congregation secretary, the administration and the logistics office, a small library and conference room. The same building also houses the mission procure of the archabbey of St. Ottilien and its press office.

Old People’s Home in China Inaugurated

On 21 March 2014, the feast of St Benedict, the archbishop of Shenyang inaugurated the new Benedictine old people’s home in Shuanghe, North East China. An earlier very simple buliding had been destroyed by a flood a few years ago. The new old people’s home can host 100 senior citizens and thus is an Catholic contribution to the growing need for care for the elderly who can no longer be looked after by their offspring, a result of the one-child-policy.

The compound also houses a church which will serve the local catholic population, and a building for the monastic community which is responsible for the home.

Photos by G. Birkle