Tag Archives: Petersham

The Faith of Peter is Our Faith!

A priest and friend of the IRL from the Maronite Monastery in Petersham, Massachusetts, recently sent us a picture of a beloved confrere who died (or as the ancient monastic saying has it was “perfected”) on June 3, 2013. He was by all accounts everyone’s favorite, a lovely and holy priest. The picture says it all. May he rest in peace.

As an Eastern Rite Church, the Maronites are a beautiful example for the Church to take inspiration from today. They are and always have been in full communion with the Catholic Church. Despite persecution, their belief in the teachings of the Church and in the authority of the Chair of St. Peter have never wavered. Over 350 Maronite monks were martyred in 517 A.D. for their defense of the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon (451) which defined Jesus as “true God and true Man.”

The ancient roots of the Maronite Church are quite amazing. The early Maronites were descendents of the people who received the gift of Faith from Saint Peter himself. The Maronite Patriarch resides in Antioch which is where the early followers of Jesus were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). According to Eusebius, St. Peter founded the Church at Antioch and became its first bishop. Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, is still the liturgical language of the Maronite Church.

The cloistered, contemplative Maronite Monks of the Most Holy Trinity in Petersham were founded in 1978 and are dedicated to a life of prayer and Eucharistic Adoration. “The particular goal of the Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity is to participate in the hidden and suffering life of Jesus Christ. The spirit of the community is especially to consist in this: that it is joined to Christ as a body appropriated by Him in His love and adoration of the Father and pouring out of Himself in love for His brothers.”

On the Feast of  St. Peter and St. Paul, the Maronites pray in the Divine Liturgy: “O Lord, preserve your children from all error or deviation, grant us to live and die proclaiming: ‘Our faith is the faith of Peter, the faith of Peter is our faith!’” May we today have the faith and courage of the early Maronites!



Two Communities, One Act of Praise

Something you don’t find everyday in the modern world, much less in the U.S., is a twin community of nuns and monks. Such a community of Benedictines exists in Petersham, MA. The St. Scholastica Priory houses a group of nine nuns and the Monastery of St. Mary, a group of seven monks.  Both live a contemplative life of prayer in service to God, the Church and world.

St. Scholastica Priory is an independent priory of Pontifical Right. St. Mary’s is a dependent house of the Abbey of Pluscarden in Scotland. When there are enough members in the men’s community, they will become an autonomous community as is typical for Benedictines.

The nuns and monks live a monastic life according to the Rule of Saint Benedict and pray the office in Latin using Gregorian Chant , except for Matins and Vespers. Monks from St Mary’s serve as the sisters’ chaplains. The monks’ Novus Ordo Mass is in English with sung parts in Latin and Greek.

As it says on the St. Scholastica website: The Benedictine life is both ordinary and human, extraordinary and divine. It is ordinary and human because St. Benedict in his Rule encourages us to get on with the business of monastic life; it is extraordinary and divine because it is a response to a call from God and it is a life lived for others.

The sisters will hold a Monastic Experience weekend for young women who may be called to this life from February 15-17, 2013.  Please email smangkloss333@aol.com or call 978-724-3213 for more information.

To thee, therefore, my speech is now directed, who, giving up thine own will, takest up the strong and most excellent arms of obedience, to do battle for Christ the Lord, the true King. Rule of St. Benedict