Home Pages - May 6, 2018

We are formed by those we love and by those who love us.

St. Benedict’s Abbey, Atchison, Kansas

Volume 45 • Number 1 • May 6, 2019


Fr. Blaine Schultz at Youth Day 2018

In 2017 Fr. Blaine Schultz completed 60 years of leadership of our music, both through organ accompaniment and choir direction. During this time he navigated the growth of English as the common medium of monastic prayer, composing a significant amount of the antiphons for our liturgies, and actively taking part in the Panel of Monastic Musicians. In 2017 Abbot James appointed Fr. Meinrad Miller as the new music director. Fr. Meinrad coordinates organist and choir leadership and produces the Abbey liturgy sheets throughout the week. After 20 years of exploring the new, the Panel of Monastic Musicians became aware of the need to consolidate the best of what had been achieved, and so in the summer of 2018 we adopted two new books of hymns: the Hymns of Prayer and Praise (HPP), and the Book of Sacred Litury (BSL). The latter is an expanded version of Song and Season, and replaces Word and Song.

Today three monks accompany the Opus Dei on organ: Fr. Blaine, Fr. Meinrad, and Br. Karel Soukup. Recently, Br. Florian was appointed as an assistant to the choir master. Our monastic schola prepares music for solemnities and other special occasions, and joins the Benedictine College student choir for Sunday liturgies.

In other musical miscellania, Dr. Edward Mulholland and a company of BC students provided an hour of live Irish music in the Abbey Guest house on St. Patrick’s Day. Several monks enjoyed a striking documentary on the life of the great Bach interpreter, Glenn Gould, Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould.


Fr. Aaron Peters recently framed two archival works of art, now hanging in our Chapter room. A new south entrance would have matched the Gothic architecture and the stone of the new monastery’s south façade. This was drawn up for consideration as a way of completing the exterior of the 1920 construction. This was not chosen. Eventually the construction of the guest house limited the need for a new south entrance. This drawing is 30” x 29”

The second work is an original 30” x 24” model cartoon created by Jean Charlot as he prepared to execute the major fresco in the upper church, which focuses on the Trinity as Participant in the work of the monks in ministry to the dying, to the young, to the settler, to the faithful who gathered at their church. On either side of the resurrected Christ, in front of the cross, stand Saints Benedict and Scholastica. 

Abbot Barnabas, has been organizing his hundreds of photos taken over the years into photo albums for community enjoyment and archival material. These photos were taken while going to and attending abbot meetings in Europe and in the States, on sabbatical and visits with family and monks away from the abbey, and while attending study programs. Few photos are identified as to name, time and place. As people share viewing them in small groups and remember stories about individuals they will build a memory of them among community members.

Marilyn Robertson, a former employee of our Abbey Health Services, now living in Auburn Nebraska, presented our community with two colorful afghans which she had knitted. Each looks like a stained glass, of various vibrant colors and of different shapes - segments of the bed cover. Several months ago, Paula Amrein gave Health Services two personally assembled lap covers for monk use, for keeping older monks warm in cold days. 

Br. Karl’s 24” x 36” painting of the angel Gabriel’s visitation to St. Joseph in a dream, telling him, “Noli Timere”, was featured on our Christmas cards, before being auctioned. This semester Br. Karel has been taking art classes and organ lessons at the college.


Faces of Easter is a recently published book of Father Albert Holtz, a monk of Newark Abbey in New Jersey. Father Albert did his novitiate year with us in Atchison, was ordained in 1969, and has taught in the prep school for many years. A copy of his book was sent to Abbot James by Abbot Melvin Valvano of Newark Abbey, who wrote, ”Once again, his walking on the streets of Newark and other expeiences right here in the city provide him with wonderful material for meditation and prayer.” Abbot Melvin also sent his greetings, writing, “I hope and pray that you and your good community are well in all ways. Please continue to remember our Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School, now K-12. Really it has been a wonderful affiliation for everyone concerned, especially when I can drop in and visit with the kindergarten or first or second graders.“

In addition to his work as vocations director, Br. Leven Harton continues to take graduate courses in Literature at Kansas University in Lawrence. This semester he is enrolled in a course titled “Moby Dick and Race”.  

Recent books read in the monastery for table reading during dinner include Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande, surgeon and writer, and Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rievaulx, the 12th century Cistercian abbot.

News from St. Benedict Catholic School

“The St. Benedict Catholic School 7th -8th grade boys Basketball team was undefeated during league and tournament play this year!  Their perfect season, 15-0, is one for the SBCS record books!  Watch this team as they head to MH-MA!

Two more championship plaques were earned this past Monday when the 7th and 8th grade Scholars Bowl teams both clinched the Championship honors in a field of ten teams in the Northeast Kansas League Tournament!   

Finally, five students from St. Benedict Catholic School will be baptized at the Easter Vigil this year.  We really do foster Christian disciples, as our mission calls us to do!”

(Contributed by Principal Dianne Liebsch)

Death Notices

Anthony Vorwerk died Brother Anthony Vorwerk, 87, a Monk of St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, KS died peacefully on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, fortified by the Sacraments of the Church, having received the Apostolic Pardon. Leo Vorwerk was born on Jan. 25, 1931, the son of Lawrence and Nelli ne Haag in Dodgeville, Iowa. He graduated from Burlington Catholic High School in 1951. Upon entering religious life he requested Anthony as his monastic name. He said he often prayed to St. Anthony of Padua to help him find stuff.

Brother Anthony professed his vows as a Monk of St. Benedict’s Abbey on Dec. 27, 1953. Over the years he worked at the Abbey Student Press from 1951 to 1953; as a groundskeeper for St. Benedicts College from 1953 to 1971; as porter of the Abbey from 1987 to 2010; and as a groundskeeper at the Abbey from 1957 to 2010. Even with his retirement, he continued to have an interest in what was going on around the Abbey and college campus, often spending time in the workshop making various crafts from wood,including boxes and bird houses.. He was one of the monks who drove bulldozers clearing cottonwood trees frm our Missouri River bottom land.

As a young man Brother Anthony was a gifted athlete, playing baseball, basketball and football. He used that energy over his years as a monk to cultivate friendships. It made no difference whether one was rich or poor, man or woman, or how intelligent one was, all found a friend in Brother Anthony. Countless young monks, students, and visitors to the Abbey experienced his warm smile, and often an opportunity to help with work in the gardens. He was not afraid to admit he needed your prayers, and he showed his appreciation for them In a beautiful interview with Br. Anthony in Kansas Monks magazine on the occasion of his 60th anniversary of vows in 2013, he said: “You can see how the Holy Spirit is growing holiness in you over time just as He is growing tree after tree from tiny seeds.”

Father Victor Feser, monk of Assumption Abbey, Richardton ND, died in the Abbey Health Center, February 11, 2019. He graduated from Assumption Abbey High School; he entered the novitiate in 1957. He completed undergraduate studies at Saint John’s University. When it came to priesthood studies, he was a pure product of Assumption Abbey Seminary. Having done all his Theology there while teaching Latin, Theology and Mathematics in the Abbey schools. He was also socius of novices, and attended St. Louis University during summer months working toward an M.A. in Mathematics. 

After being ordained to the priesthood, Father Victor was sent to Minot to teach Philosophy to the Benedictine Sisters at their motherhouse, Sacred Heart Convent May 24, 1961. This assignment lasted only through the summer; In the fall of 1964 he was sent off to Munich to study Dogmatic Theology with Michael Schmaus, Karl Rahner and others in the fall of 1964 to teach the Benedictine Sisters Philosophy.  He was appointed chaplain to the Benedictines at Annuciation monastery that same year and held that position until 1982. He also taught at what would become University of Mary at the motherhouse of the Benedictines, Sacred Heart Convent. He became a fulltime professor of Mathematics in 1982. He earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics from St. Louis University. Becoming a fulltime professor of Mathematics in 1982, Father Victor eventually became a veteran and senior member of the faculty, the first person to carry the university’s ceremonial mace at its 2009 commencement. For over 25 years, he offered Mass at Unified Tribes Technical College throughout the school year. During the summer months, he often helped out in parishes in Wyoming.

Father Victor was known for his passion for recycling. He brought the Earth Day celebration to the Mary College campus. Assembling a, crew they cleaned the ditches along the highway at a time when recycling “had not been “invented.”

Father Victor will be remembered for his abstemiousness. For years, he collected aluminum beer and soda cans, cashing them in for cigarette money. He wasn’t exactly a man of high fashion. He continued to wear old clothes until they were threadbare. He was an avid reader of mystery novels as well as complex Mathematics books.

The Rev. Kieran Neilson, O.S.B. died peacefully at Belmont Abbey, NC, on Wednesday, February 27. Father Kieran was born in Charlotte, NC, on July 2, 1932,. He attended O'Donoghue Catholic School in Charlotte for his elementary and secondary education, and is a graduate of Belmont Abbey College. He entered the novitiate at Belmont Abbey upon college graduation and professed his vows on July 2, 1955. Following studies at the Belmont Abbey Seminary, he was ordained a priest on May 26, 1960. Father Kieran was assigned to St. Benedict's Parish and Benedictine High School in Richmond, VA, from 1960-65, and from 1976-89, and was Chaplain at the McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond from 1982-85. In North Carolina, Father Kieran served at various times as Subprior and Formation Director at Belmont Abbey, Chaplain at Belmont Abbey College, Instructor at Sacred Heart College, and Parochial Vicar at St. Michael's Parish, Gastonia, NC. He was a happy, outgoing priest with a wide range of devoted friends. He was intensely proud of his Irish heritage and was an avid Notre Dame fan.

Lawrence Giller, 85, passed away peacefully February 16th. Larry with his wife Virginia grandchildren came to Manhattan in 1976 following his career as an Air Force pilot. Born March 8, 1933, in St Joseph, MO to Roy and Edith (Harris) Giller. Larry graduated from Maur Hill Prep School and attended Benedictine College before joining the US Air Force. He graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a BS in Business. 

Larry and Ginny married at St Lawrence Catholic Church in Easton, two years later, on December 2. In the Air Force they traveled the country living in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, California, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Then Larry served in Vietnam while the family returned to Kansas, followed by North Dakota, Massachusetts, and back to Kansas. He flew the KC-135 tanker around the world, and the C-130 transport in Vietnam. Larry was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in combat. While Larry loved to talk about the Air Force, he was humble about his service.

In Manhattan, Larry became the Safety Officer for Ft Riley. He gave back to Manhattan, including volunteering for the Knights of Columbus. He was a regular Sunday Mass Lector and Eucharistic minister, and prepared taxes for the less fortunate. He loved to watch his children and grandchildren participate in sports at all levels. 

In addition to Ginny, he. is survived by four children; Mike (Jennifer) Giller of Evergreen CO, Tom (Mary Kevin) Giller of Manhattan, Pat Giller of Overland Park, KS, and Ann (Jeff) Yuska of Berthoud, CO. Larry and Ginny are blessed with ten grandsons, one granddaughter, and one great-grandson. Larry was very proud of them all and they all looked up to him. He showed his respect for Benedictines by presenting to Father Roderic and the monks of Atchison a beautifully carved statue of the St. in Germany, Larry was the second of six children; Paul Giller, of Little Rock, AK, Father Roderic Giller of Atchison, Jim Giller (deceased), Mary Hanny (deceased), kooots of Atchison. He was proceeded in death by Mary Ann Giller the infant daughter of Larry and Ginny, and by his parents.   

Father Terrence Kardong died peacefully in his sleep on March 24, 2019 at the Assumption Abbey in Richardton.

Gerald was born in Minneapolis, MN, on October 22, 1936, to Ralph and Cecilia (Mundt) Kardong. His family belonged to St. Albert the Great Parish, staffed by the Dominicans, where he received his elementary education, but he traveled out to Richardton, ND, for high school and junior college with the Benedictines because he had three uncles who were monks at Assumption Abbey. He entered the novitiate in 1956, receiving the name Terrence, and pronounced vows in 1957.

Terrence attended St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, and after completing seminary studies at Assumption Abbey, he was ordained a priest on May 11, 1963. From 1962 through 1968 he taught in the Abbey prep school and, during the summer months, attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, studying classical languages. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Latin. From 1965 to 1967 he was chaplain to Assumption College in Richardton, and continued to teach Latin and Theology. In 1968 he was appointed Director of Formation at the Abbey. When the junior college closed, Father Terrence taught at Mary College, now the University of Mary in Bismarck, from 1971 to 1975 and again from 1977 to 1982.

Father Terrence went to Rome for monastic studies at the Pontifical University of Sant’Anselmo from 1975 to 1977 and earned a Licentiate in Theology which launched his career in scholarly work on the Rule of St. Benedict and other monastic and patristic texts. He published extensively in periodicals, many of them outside the United States, and travelled near and far giving conferences. His major work was Benedict’s Rule: A Translation and Commentary published in 1996. He also published Commentaries on Benedict’s Rule (1986), Together Unto Life Everlasting (1986), Asking Benedict: A Study Program on the Rule (1992), Benedictines (Religious Order Series 1992), Day By Day with Saint Benedict (2005), The Life of St. Benedict by Gregory the Great: Translation and Commentary (2009), Pillars of Community: Four Rules of Pre-Benedictine Monastic Life (2010), Conversations with Saint Benedict (2012), Saint Columban: His Life, Rule, and Legacy (2017) and Benedict Backwards: Reading the Rule in the Twenty-First Century (2017).

In 1984 he spent eight weeks in Australia giving conferences. He spent two months in the Philippines in 1990, three weeks in England in 1992 and two months in Nigeria in 1997 doing the same. In February of 1981 Terrence became the editor of The American Benedictine Review and held that position until last year. He translated articles for this publication from French, Italian and German.

In addition to his monastic writing, Father Terrence wrote the 75th jubilee history of the Diocese of Bismarck in 1985, the centennial history of the Diocese of Fargo in 1988, and the history of Catholic life at Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in 1989. He was a faculty member of the Great Plains Institute of Theology from 1971 to 1995. He was also an environmental activist through his participation in the Dakota Resource Council since 1978, frequently a member of the board and secretary for the group. But he was a regular monk, too, helping with chores such as washing pots and pans and weeding the garden. He believed that a monk should also work with his hands.

Home Pages is published monthly for the monks and friends of St. Benedict’s Abbey. Abbot Barnabas is the writer.