Benedictine Hospitality in Israel

Entrance to the Abbey of Saint Mary of the Resurrection, Abu Ghosh

Thanks to an oxygen-depriving case of pneumonia that cut the trip short, too many of my memories of Israel reside in a nebulous haze that has prevented me from writing about my experiences there. On this great feastday of Saint Benedict of Nursia, however, my Oblate's heart cannot help but share with you the experiences of Benedictine hospitality with which I was blessed and graced, even during so short a visit.The first occurred in Tabgha, at the Church of the Heptapegon, ("The Church of … [Read more...]

A Freaky Little Coda to the “Black Mass” Story

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You like a little freaky? I got a little freaky for you, right here! This gave me goosebumps when I heard it, this morning, while visiting the gang at the Son Rise Morning show.Recall this earlier post about Joris-Karl Huysmans, the French novelist who described the "Black Mass" meant to be re-enacted at Harvard, on May 12 of this year. Huysmans died in 1907, as a Benedictine Oblate.Do you know the date of his death? You'll never guess, so I'll tell you: he died on May 12. 107 years to … [Read more...]

Describer of Planned “Black Mass”: Guess How He Died?

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The always-interesting and ever-pastoral Bishop Christopher Coyne of Indianapolis drops a particularly juicy and instructive codicil on the whole "Black Mass" Brouhaha of the past week and, as they say in Brooklyn, it's a doozy:. . .here is the "kicker," as a friend of mine shared with me this little historical tidbit. The spokesperson for the Satanic Temple said that the presentation of the Black Mass was to be based upon the description found in the book Lá-bas ("The Damned") published in … [Read more...]

A Free Online Course on Benedictine Spirituality

Benedict-Vision of SB (c_1360) Giovanni del Biondo

It has been my awesome and humbling privilege to live as a professed Benedictine Oblate for over a decade, (here is what that means) but living so far away from my monastery, and having no Oblate friends nearby, I've always felt like my formation was slip-shod -- half-duncecap, half-seat-of-the-pants.Here at Patheos we're growing our own little community of Oblates -- Father Dwight Longenecker is one, and Margaret Rose Realy is an Oblate Novice (and there are Benedictines in the Faith and … [Read more...]

Craving Silence to Hear: Atchison Blue

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If I am late coming to a review of Judith Valente's new book -- which is currently being featured in the Patheos Book Club, it is only because the pope keeps all of us very busy these days, and Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith is too good for a slap-dash mention. After reading, it needed time for absorption, and even some revisits, to do it justice.People are fast to make comparisons between Atchison Blue and Kathleen Norris' beloved modern classic, … [Read more...]

Remarks to Catholic Marketers, Shop Owners

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet and talk with members of the Catholic Marketing Network at their annual conference and trade show. The show is always delightful -- walking amidst a convention hall of Catholic wares, tsotskies and books is my idea of a very good time, indeed, and of course, I also got to photobomb the pope!And of course, there was the wine-and-cheese book-signing sponsored by Ave Maria Press, which was great fun and looked like this:The conference … [Read more...]

Could “Mystery Priest” be a long-dead Benedictine Monk? UPDATE: No Mystery Here!

Rev. Patrick Dowling (Photo Credit: Diocese of Jefferson County)

Joel Schmidt thinks perhaps yes:By now, you’ve most likely heard the story of the “Mystery Priest” from the car accident scene in Eastern Missouri. If not, here’s the original story from USA Today.Phil Lawler of Catholic Culture has suggested how the priest might be identified:1) Start showing the witnesses photos of priests with a reputation for holiness. 2) Include photos of priests who are no longer alive. 3) Prepare for a shock.Interestingly, we were at Conception Abbey in … [Read more...]

Acedia and the Help of Saint Benedict

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So, you may have noticed that for the week, I have written nothing. At all. Anywhere.For whatever reason, I have most uncharacteristically been doing battle, all week, with the devilish little blue megrim that is acedia.Actually, "doing battle" sounds romantic and pro-active. It would be more accurate to say I have been whining and unable to work and whining about being unable to work, and wandering around the house ineffectually, and walking the park feeding ducks, and missing my dog, … [Read more...]

Part II The Chanting Coffin-Maker: Mother Dolores & Agape

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In Part I of my interview with Mother Dolores Hart, she shared an insight that struck me as being profoundly important to our understanding of the vagaries of love: "all love relationships don’t end at the altar".What is love but a means to an end, the end being to become for each other a model of God? Not an idol, nor an icon/image but a model that helps us to know more fully the depths the Creator's love for each of us.Ponder it: here were Dolores Hart, beautiful young actress and Don … [Read more...]

“All love relationships don’t end at the altar!” – Part I

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As a rule, when it comes to interviewing celebrities, Tony Rossi is our go-to guy, around here. Last week, though, he could not work into his schedule an opportunity to talk to Mother Dolores Hart, the actress-turned-Benedictine-nun who was the subject of last year's documentary, "God is the Bigger Elvis", and this year's best-seller, The Ear of the Heart. Mother Dolores is currently missing her cloister while she makes a major promotional tour in support of the book, and I had the opportunity … [Read more...]


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