I was once challenged with the question, “Why do we need monks?”
Throughout the ages this question has had a multitude of answers. For St. Benedict, it meant living out the Christian call in a radical way – praying and working, preserving the Christian call by leaving the Roman culture behind and establishing monasteries. A few hundred years later, St. Boniface, the great Apostle of Germany, brought Christ and the Gospel to the Germanic people. And just a few years later, in Metten in the heart of Bavaria, the monks were called upon to serve as educators, passing the faith from generation to generation. 1,000 years later, in Pennsylvania, the monks were needed to provide the sacraments and Catholic education to the immigrants in the infant United States. This is our legacy – for 161 years we have sought to persevere in the mission of our forebears here in Kansas – seeking Christ as St. Benedict taught us; evangelizing as St. Boniface did; serving as educators, providing the sacraments, and spreading the love of Christ to all those we encounter – and this mission is made possible by you.
Years ago I wasn’t sure whether monastic life was for me. My parents, to their credit, had always encouraged me to consider a religious or priestly vocation; but one afternoon when my father asked about my vocation, I responded, “dad, I’m not sure it’s for me.” He didn’t act disappointed or disgruntled; he simply looked back and asked, “can I still pray for it?”
I graduated from Benedictine College and found myself a job; I bought a truck and was settling into life quite nicely, or so I thought. Fr. Meinrad encouraged me to visit the monastery again and I thought, “I’ll go, if it will mean getting this guy off my back!” But, after a weekend in prayer, it was clear to me: this is where I was meant to be. I sat in the cab of my truck holding my application – it was there I knew: Christ had called, I needed to be a monk.
It is our mission of prayer that is central to our monastic life; five times a day we seek to lift the world to God. We beg his intercession for all those in need, we give him thanks and praise for our lives, we seek to sanctify the world by carrying out the 5,000-year-old tradition of praying the Psalms in our 1,500-year-old Benedictine charism – and you make all of this possible.
Throughout the whole of my life, I was blessed to have monks to look to for guidance: Fr. Augustine, my parish priest; Fr. Matthew, my college professor; Fr. Denis, my college chaplain; Fr. Meinrad, the Abbey Vocations director; Fr. Michael, my Novice Master; Abbot Barnabas, my Abbot and mentor – throughout my life, I have needed monks. It is because of your support that I received their great leadership. It is because of your support that my confreres can continue to serve as educators, chaplains, spiritual directors, and so much more. Each and every gift is like a stone on a pond, it continues to ripple out, enabling us to spread the love and peace of Christ to all we encounter. I ask that you consider supporting our prayer and work with a financial contribution. Click here to donate online
Please know you are in our prayers; thank you for your consideration.
Abbot James R. Albers, OSB