The Benedictine Monks of San Benedetto Monastery in Norcia, Italy, founded by Father Cassian Folsom, OSB, on the site of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica’s birthplace, are issuing their first international recording—a CD album of Marian chant. Called BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia, the selections focus on the seven mysteries or defining moments of Our Lady’s life.
When you purchase BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia directly from their web site, a significant amount of the proceeds will go directly to them. The funds will assist with the many needs of their growing community.
EWTN will be airing a special called “Behind the Scenes”, a behind the scenes look (as is evident by the title) at the recording process. Those air times are: June 2, 2015, 6:30pm ET & June 4, 2015, at 10:30pm ET. You can also watch the shows streaming live online at EWTN.com.
It is often difficult to find good, non-syrupy books about the lives of the saints. Therefore, it is a real joy to read a new book about the life of Saint Benedict that stays true to the biographical details known to us through the writings of Pope St. Gregory the Great.
Entitled The Life of Saint Benedict, the book was written by a son of Saint Benedict, Br. John McKenzie, O.S.B. Brother John is a monk from the Monastero di San Benedetto in Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of Sts. Benedict and his twin sister, Scholastica. A native of Michigan, Brother John entered the Benedictines in Norcia in 2005 and made his solemn profession in 2009. He is currently studying theology in Rome.
The 48-page, hardcover book is charmingly illustrated by Mark Brown, a lay oblate of the monastery, with pictures that are engaging enough to enthrall a small child yet full of rich details to interest adults. What child doesn’t like a story with a dragon in it? Featured in the book is the close relationship between Benedict and Scholastica, the founding of the Benedictine family, the miracles attributed to Benedict, and his virtuous life, totally dedicated to God.
Brother John explained why he embarked upon this project: “The Life of Saint Benedict is filled with great imagery and authentic monastic wisdom. The Benedictine monastic life expands over 1,500 years of lived tradition and it has a home on all continents of the world! This book was simply put together so that families, most especially kids, can get a chance to understand the greatness and uniqueness of my holy founder, not to mention his twin sister Saint Scholastica, who also plays a central role in this book.”
The Life of St. Benedict can be purchased from Ignatius Press (1-800-651-1531, ignatiuspress.com). In this year dedicated to the Consecrated Life, this book is a great introduction to one of the giants of the Church whose way of life remains as attractive and vital today as it was 1,500 years ago.
These are the words of Peter in the Dialogues as he thirsts for more miracle stories about St. Benedict. They are pertinent today too for the Benedictine Monks of Norcia who inaugurated a brewery this summer to help sustain the monastery, located on at the birthplace of St. Benedict of Nursia. The beer is called appropriately enough Birrra Nursia and has the motto: Ut Laetifect Cor (from Psalm 104 – how wine is a gift from God to gladden men’s hearts).
The Archbishop reminded those in attendance of the miracle of Cana where Christ performed a miracle which brought joy to the hearts of the wedding party.
Fr. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., the founder of the monastery, has been undergoing treatment for cancer which, thanks be to God, is now in remission. He joyfully celebrated with Bro. Evagrius as Brother professed solemn vows on August 11th. In July, four young men participated in a discernment program. May God bless them with holy vocations.
If you are interested in becoming a Benedictine oblate associated with the monastery at Norcia, contact Brother Anthony, the Oblate Director. It is necessary to come to Italy for an initial retreat and then begin the Oblate Novitiate which lasts one year.
Oblates are people who are attracted to Benedictine spirituality but those whose state in life obliges them to live in the world. The monks remember all of the oblates in prayer at the closing of the Divine Office: May the Divine assistance remain always with us, and with our absent brethren.
On Saturday, April 14th, the Very Rev. Cassian Folsom, OSB, received the IRL’s Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award. This video contains his acceptance speech entitled: “The Inseparable Link Between Holiness and Worship”. I encourage everyone to listen to it in its entirety but we include a brief, written sample here. As one who witnessed his reverent celebration of the Holy Eucharist, I can definitely say that it felt like a small glimpse of Heaven on earth!
“The humble priest has a certain ars celebrandi, a certain way of carrying himself, a certain respect for the holy things, a fitting decorum in the presence of God. The arrogant priest has a different ars celebrandi, and the faithful can tell the difference immediately. The humble celebrant is transparent, so that the Lord can shine through. The priest knows that the liturgy is not primarily his work, but the work of the Holy Trinity, and his job is to be a good instrument and to get out of the way as much as possible so that the Lord is free to accomplish his work of grace within the hearts of those present.”
Fr. Cassian started his religious life at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana, but in 1998 founded a new Benedictine community in Rome, moving in 2000 to the Monastery of San Benedetto in Norcia, Italy , the birthplace of Saint Benedict and his twin sister Saint Scholastica. The monastery follows a full observance of the Benedictine Rule and uses both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite.
To support the monastery and become a Friend of Norcia, visit their website. Also, Father’s talks from the conference can be ordered from the IRL by calling (847)573-8975.
This year, the IRL’s Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award will go to the Very. Rev. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., named the 2011 Man of the Year by Inside the Vatican magazine.
In the article, Dr. Robert Moynihan, editor-in-chief of the magazine, wrote: “Sometimes we are able to see a splendid adventure of life and faith just at the moment that it is unfolding. … Such is the case with Father Cassian Folsom and the refounding of the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, Italy—the birthplace of St. Benedict in about A.D. 480—which was closed in 1810, and reopened after 190 years in the year 2000. For what Father Folsom has done for Norcia, for what he has done for monasticism in general and Benedictine monasticism in particular, for what he has done for the Church’s liturgy and for what he has taught all of us about following Christ by his Christian example, we feel privileged to have the opportunity to select Cassian Folsom, who is also an old friend, as our ‘Person of the Year’ for 2011.”
Please join us at the IRL banquet dinner honoring Fr. Cassian which will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2012, at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. The banquet is just one part of our National Meeting (April 13-15, 2012) which this year is focusing on The Sacred Liturgy as a Foretaste of Heaven. All are invited to attend. Please visit our website for more information.