Update Feast of St Benedict

My previous post here was principally about St Benedict and my impending visit to Buckfast Abbey in Devon for the Clear Voices Festival.

But St Benedict's day is celebrated globally and my friends at Sacred Space102fm in Limerick, have compiled a great set of links to a diversity of posts on St Benedict which you can access here.

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 Only a few more things for me to add :

St. Benedict is the patron of bee-keepers.

This link takes you to a wonderful reflection by a beekeeper with some delightful photos ( example below), on Benedictines and bees from Wisconsin, Minnesota and St John's Abbey and University Church. Even the windows have a bee theme. Alleluia!


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The author of the post recommends this book, "Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today", by Joan Chittister which is yet another to put on the wish list !

Click here for another fine post from St Benedict's blog in New York with some intriguing reflections to remind us of the many spiritual references to bees including this one below :

"The Exsultet - that amazing, ancient hymn of praise the deacon sings at the Easter Vigil - mentions bees.  

Remember the Exsultet is part of the Celebration of Light focused on the Paschal Candle. That candle is made from beeswax.  Here are the pertinent "bee" words in bold, generally omitted from the English translations:






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Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honour of God.

For it is fed by the melting wax,
which the mother bee brought forth to make this precious candle."



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                                                           Click on source above as it
                                        contains a "hive" of information on St Benedict too.

In some parts of France it was customary for bee-keepers to have a medal of St. Benedict affixed to their hives:

Here's the blessing over the bees. 
O Lord, God almighty, who hast created heaven and earth 
and every animal existing over them and in them for the use of men,
and who hast commanded through the ministers of holy Church
that candles made from the products of bees be lit in church
during the carrying out of the sacred office
in which the most holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ thy Son is made present and is received;
may thy holy blessing descend upon these bees and these hives,
so that they may multiply, be fruitful and be preserved from all ills
and that the fruits coming forth from them may be distributed
for thy praise and that of thy Son and the holy Spirit and of the most blessed Virgin Mary.
Prayer Source: Candle is Lighted, A by P. Stewart Craig, The Grail, Field End House, Eastcote, Middlesex, 1945

 Meanwhile click here to read how Ampleforth Benedictine monks mix history, religion and malts in unique new beer (guardian.co.uk)

Benedictine spirituality is so rich and immense and I cannot do it justice in a single post but here are a few interesting sites for you to explore at your leisure:


 I don't know many Benedictines but there are three I hold in high esteem.

Dame Catherine Wybourne, a Benedictine nun aka The Digital Nun whose blog i-Benedictines here, explores and gives fresh insight into what Benedictine spirituality means for the 21st century.
I had the pleasure of meeting her last May at The Vatican Bloggers Bloggers Conference in Rome. She's witty and learned !








From l to r: Dame Catherine, Elizabeth Scalia,
Rocco Palmo and yours truly on far right .

Extract below from an American Benedictine nun's site here:


"One of the hallmark’s of Benedictine monasticism is discernment – the process of knowing what is deeply important and measuring choices of action against those deepest values.  The ancient Desert Fathers chose to flee society to live in remote cells, with only the company of a spiritual father or other hermits.  

 Others like St Basil, Augustine and Benedict, found a middle way of coenobium, of community living that helped them to maintain their focus and set aside some distractions.  

Practices that include times and places of silence and solitude alternate with active work settings – and mindfulness and discernment are important to avoid losing what is most important for lesser things that jostle to attract one’s attention."


Dom Mark Patrick Hederman,  Abbot of Glenstal Abbey in County Limerick, Ireland, who has featured many times on this blog and whose books contain some exciting,original and challenging thoughts on faith, spirituality and the future of the church.
I wish he did a blog  and I would love to visit there some day and meet him or maybe he can come to Cornwall.
Some of the courses at Glenstal have been wonderful and I would love to be able to have some transcripts of them made available e.g this series of talks on Women of Spirit and Faith.






While I visit the Benedictine Buckfast Abbey in the UK this weekend, Glenstal Abbey are preparing to host  the 2012 FOCUS International Conference from July 30th – August 7th .

Their website has this to say about it.
"Answering the Church’s call for a new evangelization, FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, is a national outreach that meets college students where they are and invites them into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith.
The conference will include dynamic speakers, time for prayer and Mass, time for small groups and plenty of free time to soak in the glory of Glenstal Abbey. Of course no International Conference would be complete without international sports tournaments so be sure to bring your game and plan on having a blast with multitudes of new friends from around the world."
To find out more visit www.focusmissions.org

and another short promotional one below complete with Irish limericks.
Oh, to be young again !!



Glenstal Abbey website here also has courses and events throughout the year. Their Summer School for 2012 focuses on Celtic Monasticism: the Irish Tradition A.D. 400-1200. Further details here.




Finally, but not least is the third Benedictine I have learnt a lot from: Fr. Laurence Freeman, who again has featured many times on my blog. 

Click here for my previous post in May this year which contains  his strong words of support  for the American Sisters of the LWCR and also trenchant criticisms of an increasing clericalism within the church and calls for the reform of Vatican authoritarianism.


He is Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation, which has recently opened a new outreach program – “Meditatio” (www.wccmmeditatio.org)






His complete talks during a retreat at the idyllic Bere Island off the West Coast of Ireland in Holy Week this year were generously made freely available on video. 

 Click here for my post and the 2011 videos

and the complete and free set of 2012 videos from his retreat can be viewed here.

and this particular one from Fr.Laurence is a great 14 minute video : a reminder of how God wants us to live in the New Creation and what the Eucharist could and should be in our lives.



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