Abbot President Jeremias Schröder

On 13th October 2012 the general chapter elected Archabbot Jeremias Schröder (b. 1964) abbot president of the Congregation for an 8 year term. The new abbot president knows the ropes as he has held this office already since 2000 together with that of archabbot of the Sankt Ottilien community.

The abbot president is “supreme moderator” of the Congregation. His duties are described as fostering the unity and the common missionary responsilibity of Congregation. In addition, several communities are directly placed under his authority: the recent foundation in Cuba, the priories in Tororo/Uganda and Kumily/India, and the International Benedictine Study House in Nairobi/Kenia.

Lumen Caecis

The Latin motto of the Missionary Benedictines translates as “light for the blind”. It is taken from the ancient hymn „Ave Maris Stella“ which goes back to the 8th century and is used for feasts of the Virgin Mary. .

The founder of the Missionary Benedictines used this motto in order to allude to the legend of St Ottilia (or Odilia) who had been born blind and received eyesight at her baptism. Lumen Caecis is also an expression of the missionary task of the Congregation. The gospel brings light into the souls and hearts of the people, and early Christians  unerstood their baptism as a photismos – an enlightenment.


Originally the Congregation and Sankt Ottilien Archabbey shared one coat of arms. 2012, after the separation of the offices of abbot president from the archabbey, a new coat of arms for the Congregation was drawn up. It shows the five-branch candlestick, a traditional symbol of the Missionary Benedictines of St. Ottilien. It refers to the legend of St Ottilia and also to the mission directed to the peoples on all five continents. The red background symbolizes the love Christ to which our life and service should be a testimony. It also hints at the reality of martyrdom which sometimes has crowned our work.

The net in the lower part of the shield refers to the Congregation which essentially is a network of monasteries. At the same time it hints our vocation as fishers of men. The staff behind the shield is surmounted by a disk-cross or flabellum. This points to the many dioceses that have been established through our work. It is inscribed as a cross of St. Benedict, thus indicating the Benedictine tradition in which we stand.

This is the blazon or description of the coat of arms in heraldic terms, courtesy of Dom Henry O’ Shea: “Argent fretty sable on a chief gules a five-branched candlestick or, the whole on a flabellum in pale argent staffed of the same, within an orle a greek cross bearing between its arms the letters CSPB, all sable.”

Abbot Primate Notker Wolf

One of the most well known Benedictines is Notker Wolf. From 1977 to 2000 he was archabbot of St. Ottilien and abbot president of the Congregation of the Missionary Benedictines.  In 2000 he was elected abbot primate of the Benedictine Confederation. In this capacity he is the leader ca. 7000 monks and 14.000 Benedictine women. He resides in Sant’Anselmo in Rome, the primatial abbey which houses also a Papal University and an international study house. The abbot primate is the grand chancellor of this university.

He has become well known through a number of books on political, social and spiritual questions and – especially – in German speaking countries – , through interviews and talk shows.

His current period of office will end in 2016. Notker Wolf has made it known repeatedly that in old age he intends to return to St. Ottilien in order to teach Latin or peel potatoes.

A book-length biography was published in 2010. > publisher’s site