In an article in Religious Life magazine, Very Rev. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B. was asked about the resurgence of men entering contemplative Benedictine life. What is drawing them, specifically, to his monastery San Benedetto? It is, he said, the experience of a radical faith in God lived out among like-minded brothers.
Father Cassian views monastic life as the perfect instrument for the New Evangelization. It is the best medicine for the God-lessness that pervades society for it is a life imbued with God at every turn, a life filled with His presence and beauty.
Over and over again, people have come into San Benedetto “by chance” and have emerged changed by their experience of the liturgy, reverently celebrated. The Benedictine’s witness of prayer and awe-inspiring liturgy is the contribution the monks can make to the New Evangelization.
Father also mentions the eight vices that are part of the pre-Benedictine tradition: gluttony, lust, avarice, acedia, vainglory, anger, pride and sadness. It is interesting that sadness is mentioned because there is a lot of sadness and aimlessness in the world today. It seems to me that this is the age-old sadness with the age-old answer: Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.
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.
The Institute on Religious Life will hold its 2012 National Meeting on April 13-15, 2012, at The University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. The theme of the meeting is: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of Hosts: The Sacred Liturgy as a Foretaste of Heaven.
The banquet honoree is Very Rev. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B. who established a new Benedictine Community (founded in 1998) at the birthplace of St. Benedict and his twin sister, Saint Scholastica. As of the Autumn of 2011, the community had eight monks in Solemn Vows, four in Simple Vows, four novices, one postulant and one observer.
Other speakers are: Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Dr. Scott Hahn, Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., Msgr. R. Michael Schmitz, Rt. Rev. Marcel Rooney, O.S.B., Rev. Douglas Martis, Dr. Denis McNamara, and Sr. Maria Stella Whittier, C.J.D.
Details on registration can be found at our website or call 847-573-8975. The IRL 2012 National Meeting is open to all clergy, religious and laity! Check out the free Saturday program for young people ages 13-25. Advance registration required. Hope to meet you there!
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.