Thursday, 17 April 2014 11:54

He Stretched Out His Arms

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Every Mass, immediately following consecration, the priest cries out “The mystery of faith.” We respond with one of three acclamations: “We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again”; “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again”; “Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.” In these three phrases we proclaim the core of the mystery of our faith which we celebrate at each Mass. We also proclaim the core of what we celebrate this week in the Easter Triduum.

Father Reginald “Reggie” Foster, OCD, who served as Latinist for four Popes (Paul VI, John Paul I and II, Benedict XVI) is collaborating with Father Daniel McCarthy, OSB, of the Abbey to prepare a book for publication that presents Father Reginald’s method of teaching the Latin language developed over 40 years teaching in Rome while serving at the Vatican Secretariat of State.

Tuesday, 01 April 2014 12:19

The $100,000 Challenge

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Preparing for the Future

The Abbey is experiencing a renaissance with an infusion of new membership. We currently have 46 monks in our community and though our contingent of young monks is growing, many of them are in formation programs; furthering their education in preparation for their future work in our many apostolates; or taking on leadership roles within the community. Their future work will make a substantial impact upon those they serve for the glory of God.  Will you help the monks during this period of rejuvenation?

How you can help

The St. Joseph the Worker Fund will provide for the future of the Abbey and the work that the monks are doing.  We have been blessed with an all-or-nothing $100,000 challenge gift that we must raise by April 12, 2014. If secured, these funds will:

  • Allow the monks to continue to work in their many apostolates, especially educating & forming students
  • Provide for the care of monks who have devoted their lives to God by working as teachers, serving as pastors, and laboring within the monastery
  • Provide for the formation of the new, younger members of the Abbey in preparation for their future ora et labora
Fill out my online form.


Tuesday, 01 April 2014 08:59

Novena to St. Joseph

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The 2014 Abbot's Table is fast approaching and we're hoping for another successful event.  Please join us in praying the St. Joseph the Worker Novena, in preparation for the banquet.  It is our hope that St. Joseph will intercede on our behalf.  The novena will begin this Wednesday, April 3 and end on Saturday, April 12If you would like more information on the banquet click here. (Purchase tickets, event schedule, etc.)

Tuesday, 01 April 2014 08:55

Banquet Schedule

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We hope you can join us for the 2014 Abbot's Table.  Get tickets here

4:30 • Mass of Palm Sunday

6:00 • Cocktail Hour

7:00 • Dinner & Program

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 17:37

Why We Need to Ask

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Everyone has needs.  We all carry burdens.  We can’t travel the journey of life unassisted, relying only upon ourselves.

Jesus tells us not to be afraid to ask for help, to seek encouragement, to knock on closed doors.

I think that the main reason why God allows us to always be vulnerable, is that He wants us to depend upon him.  He wants us to know our true condition as human beings, as dependent creatures.  If we were totally self-sufficient, then we would never have to look beyond our horizons.  We would stay in our little, isolated, and out-of-touch bubbles.

Friday, 21 March 2014 10:36

Frater Jerome Faller (1871-1895)

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Frater Jerome Aloysius Faller was a cleric who died shortly after entering the community.  In The Abbey News (Vol 3, #6) there is an article on Father Lawrence Theis with the following statement, “One of the young monks of St. Benedict’s, Frater Aloysius (sic) Faller, a native of Chicago, died while Frater Lawrence was in Chicago.  He had become ill in Atchison and had gone home to die.  Frater Aloysius’ grave is in the community cemetery.” 


Friday, 21 March 2014 10:29

Father Winfred Schmidt (1851-1911)

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Father Winfrid, sometimes spelled Winfried, was born in Germany in 1851.  He came to the United States and to St. Vincent College, Westmoreland, Penn., where “he took a professorship for six years.”  Upon his resignation he came to St. Benedict’s.  Father Winfrid was a teacher at the College in philosophy and theology.  In addition he was an avid and expert collector of  botanical and etymological specimens.  He became pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Des Moines, Iowa, and after 28 years of service died there of a heart ailment aggravated by the “intense heat,” as his obituary puts it. 

At his funeral in Des Moines was a large crowd, which was treated to two Funeral homilies, one in English and the other in German delivered by Father Burk of Burlington, Iowa.  No doubt Father Thomas Burk, O.S.B., of the Abbey.  There was an equally large gathering for his burial in Atchison. 


Brother Barnabas was born in Ireland and entered St. Benedict’s Abbey in 1894.  On his death he was the oldest brother in the community.  When St. Benedict’s had its own water system Brother Barnabas was the chief engineer. He was sacristan and was caretaker of the gymnasium, which upon completion, was one of the finest facilities west of the Mississippi River. 


Friday, 21 March 2014 10:22

Father Bernard Gervais (1918-2007)

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Father Bernard was a transfer to St. Benedict’s Abbey at the time when the president of the American-Cassinese Congregation of Benedictines closed Holy Cross Abbey, Cañon City, Colo., on the advice of congregational visitators.  Four of the Holy Cross monks transferred stability to St. Benedict’s Abbey: Bernard Gervais, Ignatius Smith, William Thompson, and Louis Kirby.  Peter Karasz followed later and entered our community as in internal oblate. 

Father Bernard was born in Compton, Calif., attended Catholic schools there and later attended St. John’s Prep in Collegeville, Minn.  He later, as a monk of Holy Cross Abbey, continued his education at St. John’s University, Collegeville and at St. Benedict’s College.  He professed vows as a member of Holy Cross Aug. 31, 1939, did his theology there, and was ordained to the priesthood May 17, 1944.  He transferred his vow of stability to St. Benedict’s Abbey March 21, 2006.

For 16 years Father Bernard was a teacher and coach at Holy Cross.  He was procurator of the abbey there for 10 years.  He served parishes in Boulder and Pueblo, Colo., and later was a hospital chaplain at St. Joseph’s, Denver, and Fitzsimmons Army Hospital there.  St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, and Florence Hospital, Florence, Colo. 

Father Bernard was an interesting addition to our community with his frequent comments about many things.  He usually walked twice a day and gathered a variety of objects many of which landed in the mailbox of Brother Joseph Ryan.  Some of his former football players traveled to Atchison to attend the funeral.


Friday, 21 March 2014 10:19

Father Florian Demmer (1897-1980)

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“Tally Ho!”   “I don’t know?”  “Captus est!”  These expressions often escaped the lips of Father Florian.  The latter saying he used when he had the good fortune to trump a bridge opponent’s attempt to finesse.  Bridge was on the menu twice daily for his novices.  Yet there were other words and largely deeds that formed novices of our community and many other communities in the American-Cassinese Congregation for some 23 years.  His humor was sly, his approach indirect.  When a novice came to him for an interview he might ask if said novice wanted the key to “the Iron Curtain.”  That being the place in the attic where the luggage brought to the novitiate was kept if the novice decided to depart!

Father Florian had endless projects for his novices like memorizing the prologue to the Rule of St. Benedict in Latin!  Picking buck brush and Boston Ivy seed from the vines growing along the abbey walls for sale to seed dealers in New York to gain some little money for the construction of the yet to be built Abbey Church.  There were stones left over from the construction of the abbey in 1929, which novices moved to the north parts of the abbey property.  Rattlesnakes and copperheads were a part of that operation.  Father Florian was the first in the Choir Chapel each morning thereby setting an example for the novices.  Some followed it. 

Father Florian generously helped his friend, Monsignor Joseph Selting, in Leavenworth, and served at St. John’s Burlington, Iowa, for seven years and with the Benedictine Sisters in Madison, Wisc., for four years.  While he served at Burlington Father Florian, true to his green thumb, had a garden near or on the property of the Catholic Cemetery.  He liked not only the onions but also the location.  He often said that no one there voiced any objection to his having a garden.

The Twelfth Step of Humility in the Rule of St. Benedict states that a monk ought to be on the inside what he appears to be on the outside.  It seems that Father Florian was just that:  real, genuine and authentic.


Friday, 21 March 2014 10:13

Father Ambrose Keating (1908-1990)

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After serving as teacher and librarian for three years at Maur Hill High School after ordination, Father Ambrose began many years as a parish priest.  He was very generous in this service and while at the former St. Benedict’s Parish, in Kansas City, Kan., served 29 years as Catholic Chaplain at the former Bethany Hospital nearby.

Father Ambrose was known for his phenomenal memory and was often tested by various confreres to validate its authenticity.  It was authentic.  When he was stationed at St. Benedict’s parish in Kansas City, he would sometimes, armed with a shopping bag containing a change of clothes and a gift for the Maur Hill Monks, he would take the train to Atchison, visit friends in Atchison, sleep at Maur Hill and return by rail the next day.  In his last years, his sight was failing and yet he bore that inconvenience admirably. 


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St. Benedict's Abbey

St. Benedict's Abbey
(913) 367-7853
1020 N. Second St.
Atchison, Kansas 66002


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