Aspirant A publication of The Laboure Society VOLUME 4, ISSUE 1, FEBRUARY 2009 T Conception Abbey Is Benedictine Witness The Rule of St. Benedict isn’t always an easy thing to Conception Abbey also runs the Printery House, which follow. In fact, some early monks who entreated St. Benedict to spreads the Gospel through the production of Christian art and become their abbot eventually tried to poison him. Nevertheless, greeting cards. Proceeds from the Printery House help support there has been a great need for monasticism in our world and St. Conception Seminary College. Benedict’s words have served The monks are historians, as a guide for this vocation writers, scholars, teach- for 1500 years. Today, with 9 ers, musicians and artisans. young monks in formation and Through their various aposto- continued contributions to the lates, they have made substan- liturgical life of the Church, tial contributions throughout Conception Abbey is proof that the Midwest and beyond. the witness of Benedictine mo- nasticism is very much alive in Revised Grail Psalter the world. One of the most recent, major contributions monks About Conception of Conception Abbey have Conception Abbey was made to the wider Church established in 1873 when Ab- has been the Revised Grail bot Frowin Conrad and seven Psalter. novices journeyed from Engel- The life of a Benedic- berg Abbey in Switzerland to Novice Isaac Dale becomes Br. Placid in August 2008. tine monk hinges upon the northwest Missouri in order to motto ora et labora, which is establish a foundation to minister to Irish and German Catholic Latin for “pray and work.” Speciﬁcally, St. Benedict intended settlers. Today, the spiritual descendents of Abbot Frowin provide his followers to be deeply rooted in the psalms, drawing upon pastoral care to 15 parishes—as well as hospitals, religious houses their richness in writing his holy Rule and expounding at length and schools—throughout Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and upon how they should be prayed. For nearly 1,500 years now, Wyoming. Benedictines have carried on the tradition of their founder, and As administrators and members of the faculty of Concep- the Order is well known for its dedication to the liturgy. It should tion Seminary College (one of the largest college seminaries in come as no surprise, then, that when the U.S. Bishop’s Commit- North America), the monks provide spiritual guidance, academic tee on the Liturgy wanted a new translation of the psalms for use training and character formation to young men considering a in the liturgy, they approached Conception Abbey’s own Abbot priestly vocation. Currently, there are 108 young men studying Gregory Polan to undertake a revision of the 1963 Grail Psalter. toward the priesthood at Conception Seminary College. Most of these are diocesan priesthood candidates but there are also a few What are the Grail Psalms? students from religious communities (including Conception Abbey In the years leading up to Vatican II, when the liturgy was itself) that study at the seminary. still in Latin but moving toward greater lay participation, the psalm Through the Abbey Guest Center, the monks welcome responses of the Mass were permitted to be sung in the vernacular. nearly 10,000 pilgrims per year to the abbey and offer a wide ar- A French Jesuit by the name of Joseph Gelineau prepared a French ray of retreats, tours and youth programs. One particular highlight translation of the psalms which was very rhythmic and worked of the monastery is the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, well with a particular set of psalm tones. In response to his work, where the monks gather six times a day for the Divine Ofﬁce and a community of laywomen formed a secular institute called The Mass. Elevated to the status of major basilica in 1941 by Pope Grail (of England) and undertook an English translation of Fr. Pius XII, its rare collection of Beuronese murals are truly worth Gelineau’s work. They employed scholars and musicians to work seeing. Continued on page 3 2 ~ Aspirant ~ Laboure Society President’s Column Strategic Planning Retreat Maps Future Goals for Society This past November the Laboure • Need for stronger general fund balance sion of the organization. The facilitator for Society held its ﬁrst strategic planning and working capital. the retreat, Gary Martini, encouraged all of retreat. The Board of Directors, Ofﬁcers, the participants to stay involved and Gary • Building a stronger infrastructure. staff members and twelve leaders in the himself set a great example by volunteering community spent a full Saturday reviewing • Find funding for a paid staff person to to join the Board of Directors. the mission, status, strengths, needs and handle administrative work. With a downturn in the economy, priorities for the organization. • Better use of existing technology to fundraising for the Laboure Society has Abbot Marcel Rooney, our spiritual facilitate communication. become even more challenging during advisor, ﬂew in from Texas where he had • Better deﬁning organizational/business the past few months. I do ask that you directed two weeks of retreats for priests to model for future growth. prayerfully consider making a donation to participate in our strategic planning retreat the general operating fund of the Laboure (yes, he is amazing). The Abbot celebrated • Greater public awareness of the organi- Society so that we can continue with our zation and its programs. a beautiful liturgy for all of the participants important mission of helping aspirants and truly inspired those present to continue • Succession planning. answer God’s call. with the important mission of the Laboure Society knowing that God’s holy will is The participants then identiﬁed the God bless you for your generosity. being fulﬁlled. following three priority areas: During the retreat the following • General funding. strengths of the Society were identiﬁed: • Communications. • Strong mission statement. • Man power. Joseph F. Kueppers • Good data base management practices • Good working model: a credible system After identifying the three prior- President, The Laboure Society for addressing needs of aspirants. ity areas, the participants developed ideas to assist the Society in these three areas. • Personal involvement of each aspirant The program concluded with a review and in the program. analysis of the ideas for the three priority The Laboure Society, Inc. • Energy, commitment and dedication of areas. All participants were then asked BOARD OF DIRECTORS the leadership. to volunteer to take the ideas and further develop them so that they could be imple- Kevin Kalal The following needs of the orga- mented by the Society. Joseph Kueppers nization were identiﬁed: Guy Martini The strategic planning retreat was Michael Smeby • Creating an organized system for pay- a great success and the ideas generated will ment of overhead expenses. be used by the Society to further the mis- Spiritual Director Abbot Marcel Rooney, OSB Executive Director Cy Laurent Please use the Eagan, MN • 651-340-7060 email@example.com enclosed envelope to help. The Laboure Society exists to provide Every gift of $100 or more ﬁnancial assistance to individuals who receives the Lenten Liturgical must eliminate debt in order to pursue their vocation to priesthood or religious Music CD:"Lenten Reﬂections" life in the Catholic Church. as our gift to you! Mail donations to 1620 Johnny Cake Ridge Lane, Eagan, MN 55122. www.labouresociety.org Aspirant ~ Laboure Society ~ 3 Conception Abbey Continued from page 1 on the project and they began to release the fruits of their work in a series of books, each containing a few psalms, throughout the 1950s. The full version with all 150 psalms was released in 1963. Just like the French Gelineau psalm tones, the 1963 Grail Psalter proved to be very well-suited for choral recitation, singing and chanting. It was soon incorpo- rated into the Liturgy of the Hours. While the lectionary in the United States used the psalms of the New American Bible and the Revised Standard Version, the 1963 Grail Psalms were also permitted for use as the Responsorial Psalm at Mass. GIA Publica- tions of Chicago featured these Responso- rial Psalms in their Worship III Hymnal. Grail Psalter monks (from left to right) Fr. Timothy Schoen, Abbot Gregory Polan, Br. Why was a new translation David Wilding, Br. Michael Marcotte, and Br. Jude Person. needed? which is currently not the case as far as the needed to be suitable for choral recitation, The 1963 Grail Psalms made psalms are concerned. The Revised Grail singing and chanting. When Abbot Gregory a wonderful transition from Latin into Psalter will be the ofﬁcial translation used agreed then, mentioning that he was ﬁrst English because they were so easily un- in the Lectionary, the Liturgy of the Hours, an abbot though, the bishops were happy derstood, they had a clear poetic rhythm the texts for all books of the Sacraments, to communicate that they just wanted the and they could be recited and sung with etc. job done right. ease. All of these things were important So, Abbot Gregory began the proj- objectives when the Ladies of the Grail set ect, enlisting the help of other monks of about their work. And while the 1963 Grail Why Conception? Conception Abbey, and after four years an Psalter was very successful in this regard, Obviously, a project of this scope initial draft was completed. This draft was there are places where the adherence to a is quite the undertaking. But why were then brought before a November meeting set rhythm necessitated a paraphrase of monks of Conception chosen to bring this of the Bishop’s Committee on Divine Wor- the original Hebrew as opposed to a more work to fruition? As mentioned above, the ship where it was approved to undergo the authentic translation, taking into consider- mere fact that Conception Abbey is a Bene- rigorous process to deem it an acceptable ation the sometimes irregular rhythm of the dictine monastery is already a tally mark translation. And acceptable it was as the Hebrew Psalms. Since Vatican II, however, under the “pros” column. However, it is the USCCB approved its widespread use in a we have seen a move to preserve sacred combination of the scholarly pursuits of 203-5 vote at their meeting of November texts’ ﬁdelity to their original sources. Abbot Gregory Polan that made the initial 11, 2008. It is now awaiting approval from Secondly, since the 1950s when most of request from the U.S. Bishop’s Committee the Vatican. these psalms were composed, “Much has on the Liturgy in June of 1998 the ﬁrst and happened in the area of biblical scholar- obvious choice. Abbot Gregory would tell anyone What does this mean for the ship to enable us to understand better both the structure of Hebrew poetry and some (and he told the Bishop’s Committee) that Church? of the more problematic texts,” Abbot he is ﬁrst and foremost an abbot. Next on the For the Faithful who attend any Gregory said. He continued, “This scholar- list, though, you’ll ﬁnd “Scripture Scholar” liturgy in English, the Revised Grail Psal- ship will make a more accurate translation and “Musician.” After working on a trans- ter means consistency in what they’ll hear possible.” lation of a section of the book of Isaiah in across the board. For musicians and those Additionally, the Congregation the Revised New American Bible, the staff who use the psalms for choral recitation or for Divine Worship and the Discipline of at the Bishops’ Conference—knowing also chanting, it means a translation which is the Sacraments’ 2001 document Liturgiam his musical background—rightly assessed well suited to these uses without sacriﬁcing Authenticam insists that a consistent trans- that his combination of abilities especially the integrity of the translation. lation be used in all the texts of the liturgy, suited him to the task of revising the Grail Psalter which, like the 1963 Grail Psalter, Continued on page 4 4 ~ Aspirant ~ Laboure Society Conception Abbey Continued from page 3 All in all, the consistency and ﬁdelity to the ancient texts of the psalms means that the Revised Grail Psalter will help promote a more effective, uniﬁed catechesis. For Conception Abbey, the Revised Grail Psalter is an- other way that they, in their 135 years since their founding, have been able to respond to the needs of the Church, resonating in a very direct way with St. Benedict’s words, “Ut in omnibus glori- ﬁcetur Deus”–“That in everything, God may be gloriﬁed.” New Vocations St. Benedict begins his Rule with the words, “Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them Nine young monks in formation with Abbot Gregory and Nov- with the ear of your heart.” Last fall at Conception, four young ice Master Br. Bernard: from left to right are (top row) Br. David men expressed their desire to heed the master’s instructions: two Wilding, Abbot Gregory Polan, Br. Bernard Montgomery, Br. Placid through the profession of solemn, perpetual vows, one by begin- Dale, Br. Anselm Broom, Br. Pachomius Meade, (middle row) Br. ning a novitiate year and one—Br. Placid Dale—through the Victor Schinstock, Br. Guerric Letter, Br. Macario Martinez, (bottom row) Br. Paul Sheller and Novice Adam Burkhart. profession of simple vows. Born Isaac Dale, the middle of three sons born to Paul and Deaonna Dale, Br. Placid, 25, grew up in Salem, MO. His family Miraculous Medal was always very active in their parish and, as Br. Placid got older, Graces Given, Blessings Bestowed he became involved with several different youth conferences. This involvement gave him opportunities to grow deeper in his The medal of the Immaculate Conception, commonly called faith, which other- the Miraculous Medal, was manifested to a spiritual daughter The life of a Benedictine monk hinges wise might have been of Saint Vincent de Paul, Saint Catherine upon the motto ora et labora, which difﬁcult in the pre- Labouré. This took place in the chapel of the is Latin for “pray and work.” dominantly Southern Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity, 140 Baptist community. rue du Bac, Paris, France. Br. Placid’s father is an alumnus of Conception Seminary College Saint Catherine describes the appari- and after the tragic shootings of 2002, the family made a visit to tion of our Lady on November 27, 1830, in the Abbey. Impressed by the prayer and peace of the place, the these words: experience of this visit would stay with Br. Placid through his time “Her feet rested on a white globe. I saw at Missouri State University in Springﬁeld where he majored in rings on her ﬁngers, and each ring was set vocal music education. After a friend gave him a copy of the Rule with gems. The larger gems emitted greater of St. Benedict, Br. Placid’s inclination toward a monastic vocation rays and the smaller gems, smaller rays. I grew and he returned to Conception four different times, each time could not express what I saw, the beauty and the brilliance of the expressing more interest in the community. Finally he began to dazzling rays. A voice said, ‘They are the symbols of the graces work at Conception as a volunteer which lasted 7 months before I shed upon those who ask for them.’ entering the postulancy in April of 2007. Novice Isaac became A frame formed round the Blessed Virgin. Within it was writ- Br. Placid on the feast of the Assumption, August 15, 2008. ten in letters of gold: ‘O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us Br. Placid and the three other monks who advanced to who have recourse to you.’ Then the voice said, ‘Have a Medal different stages of vows this fall are among nine total monks struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; at different stages of formation here at Conception. Some are they should wear it around the neck.’ At this instant the tableau pursuing ordination, others graduate studies in philosophy or seemed to turn, and I beheld the reverse of the Medal: a large theology, and some are already contributing to the daily life and ‘M’ surmounted by a bar and a cross; beneath the ‘M’ were the normal operations of the community. The number and quality of Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the one crowned with thorns, the other these young men is truly a blessing for the monastery and surely pierced with a sword.” an indication that the Holy Spirit is hard at work. The Medal was made according to our Lady’s design. It was May God continue to call young people to their vocations freely circulated and in a short time was worn by millions. Many and bestow upon them the courage to answer that call. graces were given and blessings bestowed until the little Medal of If you would like more information on Conception Abbey, the Immaculate Conception became known by the name it bears please visit: www.conceptionabbey.org or call 660-944-2823. today, the Miraculous Medal.
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